I am a big fan of following your heart, but an even bigger fan of following your heart with data influencing your path.

Six months ago, we set out to build Centric’s very first Talent Acquisition metrics dashboard. Up until that point, we made recruiting strategy decisions based on hunches and gut feel too often.

Our vision was simple – we needed:

  1. Something easy to produce
  2. Something easy to read
  3. Something that will make us smarter about talent acquisition

In retrospect, not so simple. It took us some time, and a whole lot of discussion, but I think we have landed on a TA Dashboard that meets our initial objectives.

And, by the way, we did it by breaking all the rules…

Ignore the Internet

I’m an engineer by education. So I always approach problems like any good engineer does – I consult Google. However, when I typed “recruiting metrics” into the little search box I was bombarded with more than 16 million different results.

And each and every one of them suggested completely different “must have” metrics. Cost Per Hire, Time To Fill, Vacancy Rate, etc., etc. The list was overwhelming, and oftentimes, contradictory.

So I did what every good engineer does – I threw away conventional thinking and decided to start with a blank state. We were going to build a dashboard that was unique to our organization.

Forget Reporting: Tell a Story

I get greedy with data. The more I have, the more I want. Nothing gives me more joy than a good Excel spreadsheet jam-packed with pivot tables, graphs and whatnot. But building a talent acquisition dashboard is not about me. It is about giving the business actionable insight into its talent acquisition function.

So forget the graph gluttony. Instead consider, “What is the story you are trying to tell?” For Centric, this was, “How well are we sharing our culture and is it allowing us to hire the right people to grow our business?”

Write your Ending First

A good story has a beginning, middle and end. Simple enough.

But write your ending first. Not so simple, but very important.

What business goal will you achieve by having an optimized talent acquisition organization? For us, a consulting company, our TA business goal is to minimize the projects we lose because of inadequate staffing. That’s our end goal, the end to our story.

Once your ending is established, go back to the beginning. How will you story start? Our story starts with communicating our unique culture to potential candidates.

And what happens between the beginning and the end? For us, and likely most organizations, it is the interview process. Are we being efficient and effective? Are we providing an outstanding candidate experience?

For each section of your story, choose 1-3 metrics that illustrate that concept.

Here is how we told our story:

  • Beginning – Branding and Funnel Strength
    • Careers Website Pageviews
    • Hires by Source
  • Middle – Recruiting Process Quality
    • % of Offers Accepted
    • Quality of Hires (we used employee tenure to determine this)
    • Candidate Feedback
  • End – Loss Opportunity Minimization
    • % of all Sales Losses that are attributed to “Resources Unavailable”

Spam Everyone

A good story is meant to be shared. If you wrote your story well, it will have universal appeal. Don’t keep the dashboard limited to the walls of your talent acquisition team. Share, share, share. Make sure a copy of your dashboard is in the hands of everyone – talent acquisition, leadership, business strategy, marketing, finance, human resources – I mean everyone.

As we broadened the distribution of our dashboard internally, so did the level of organizational understanding of talent acquisition. And thus, we have been able to make real connections between our work recruiting candidates and other business objectives.

Purge Mercilessly

My children will attest that I am relentless purger. If they have not played with a toy in 3 months, it’s gone. Most of the time they do not even notice that it has “mysteriously disappeared,” indicating to me that it was of little value to them. And with less junk in our basement, my boys have more space and energy to concentrate on those toys that bring them the most joy.

Same concept goes for your dashboard. Every 3 months, review the metrics on your dashboard. Are they providing real business value? Or are they just clutter distracting you from the good stuff?

We have had a metric called “Candidates in Taleo” on our dashboard for several months. (For my non-recruiting readers, Taleo is our Applicant Tracking System.) Next month, this metric will hit the chopping block.

Its initial intent was good – are we adding to our candidate pool? But in reality, it was, at best, redundant and, at worst, useless. We are already tracking careers website pageviews, and know that they are increasing, so we already have plenty of information about candidate reach. And the number of candidates in the database means nothing if they are not the kind of people we need to hire. My ending metric (“Loss opportunities due to staffing”) already tells me if my candidate pool is of the right quality.

So in the end, “Candidates in Taleo” is going to “mysteriously disappear.” I wonder if anyone will even notice…

Being a rule breaker is not always easy, but it sure is fun. When you have a Talent Acquisition Dashboard that works and provides real business value throughout your organization, the effort is justified and the results thrilling.