Cost Centre or Difference Maker – What does your C-Suite think you?

What recruitment metrics should we be using?

Written by Jeremy Russon

Family and football are Jeremy's two passions - but in his spare time, making a difference, the Udder way, to the world of TA/HR tech is his thing.

Are in house recruitment metrics like “Time to Hire” and “Cost per Hire” still relevant?

This is the main question we set out to answer in this 1-hour webinar discussion where I was lucky enough to be joined by a Michel Visser Global Director People Operations at Unit4, Tony De Graaf EMEA Director at SmartRecruiters and Tracy Harvey Director of Global Talent Acquisition at Aptean.

And who could have guessed we would end up comparing Talent Acquisition metrics with the dashboard of a car.

I wanted to start the webinar by actually looking at Talent Acquisition as a whole. Or more specifically at how it’s changed over the years. As these changes are possibly the reason as to why we need to look at the metrics and the measurements on how we report and talk to the C-Suite.

To which Michel commented:

“A massive change that I’ve seen is that we are now competing within a market place that is global. And Talent Acquisition is trying to catch up and get ahead of the game.”

Moving a bit more into the specifics, I was curious to hear what should we actually be measuring. Within our team and within our processes.

“For me, the biggest thing we need to learn, as recruiters and TA people, is not just how to be more strategic, but how to grow. So looking at elements that help us understand how we measure success and how do we improve”. – Tony De Graaf

Should TA look to change their metrics all together? And perhaps look to use other metrics from different functions? Like those from sales and marketing?

“Talent Acquisition should be about search optimisation, building a brand. Holding recruiters or TA specialists accountable for their conversation rate and how effective is their pipeline. Just as we hold our sales & marketing people accountable” – Michel Visser

Another opportunity, Tracy mentioned, was to look at the team and processes used. Asking yourself what is needed? What are the quality touchpoints? And to look at the data. Allowing that to steer your attraction & engagement strategy.

A question from the audience – why isn’t TA driven by demand? – steered us to discuss how TA, although ‘drivers of the business’, as Tracy mentioned, we only look at what jobs are live ‘now’.

“Our current demand is based on which jobs are live today. But that shouldn’t be the case. We need to be looking in the future. Helping the organisation to achieve its business goals.
What are we doing today to fix the problem of tomorrow?” – Tony De Graaf

In order to plan a TA teams growth and finances we often turn to pipelines but does the CSuite actually care about it?

Tony believed they should. However, most likely what they are more concerned about is how you are going to address the talent gaps. While Michel mentioned:

“Nobody cares about pipelines. But everyone cares about the quality of people.”

But how can we actually measure quality? If not with cost-per-hire and time-to-hire? What commercial metrics should we be using to help demonstrate our ROI? To help the business better understand what it is we do.

“From our perspective, the problem with time-to-hire and cost-per-hire is that they don’t give you details on who you hire.” – Tony De Graaf

So what is worth measuring is whether we are hiring the right quality of talent. But how do you measure the quality of hire?

In addition to the financial components, we also have internal metrics that allow us to judge the performance of our team. But with some many metrics, are we potentially overwhelmed with what we need to be looking at?

I think Tony summed this up perfectly:

“There is a comparison that I always give. When you look at your car dashboard you will see your speed, maybe your RPM… and that’s it. But if you look at a TA dashboard, there are a gazillion metrics.
You don’t know where to look. It’s more like the metrics of a racing car. Do you need to know how many litres of oil is in your car? Do you need to know the temperature of your cooling fluid? Probably not” – Tony De Graaf

When using metrics it is really all about context. The only metrics you need are the ones that tell you if you are doing a good job. Are you delivering on time? Spending money in the right places?

However, let’s not forget that each business is different and it’s all about working with your C-suite and finding the best way for you to measure success.

Shifting back to pipelines and talent pools, we discussed diversity. What is our input as TA?

“Its a huge opportunity. There is nobody else within the business who can impact on this than TA & recruitment. It allows you to be way more strategic and participate in bigger conversations. I would also use this as a case study to become a more strategic operating function.” Michel Visser

Is there also an opportunity for you to involve the right stakeholders? and bring the topic of removing bias to the table?

“We do a retrospective review of our hiring campaigns. We look at where the talent pipeline came in from and where they fell out. To see if we are reaching out to the most diverse audience that we can. Are we looking in the right places? Reaching out to critical locations?” – Tracy Harvey

Finally, I asked everyone for one piece of advice on how to make CSuite think differently about TA.

“Getting talent that’s driving the business. Showcasing that ROI and that the process is smooth.” – Tracy Harvey


“Don’t be afraid of where you are today. Just reach out to your CEO, have a conversation, and discuss with them how you can help deliver and solve your organisations’ challenges” – Tony De Graaf


“Be brave. Take on initiatives that people wouldn’t expect you as TA or recruitment to take on.” – Michel Visser

This really was an amazing discussion, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. As always we would love to hear your feedback! Let us know what worked, what didn’t…

You can do this via our email or reach out to us on any of our socials.

See you at the next one!

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