The staple recruitment marketing measure for many years was cost per hire, and more specifically media cost per hire. This derived from the time when your return on investment for recruitment advertising was the applications it generated, or further up the quality assessment curve, the number of hires derived from each media source. This still remains an important consideration, particularly given the wide number of choices available, and the typically limited budgets that need to be divided between them. How much should you be investing in Search Agencies vs. LinkedIn vs. SEM vs. Job Boards vs. Facebook and other social channels? In getting to the right answers to these questions, cost is clearly not the only consideration. There is now a growing focus among many leading companies on the relative quality of hire derived from each source, and the longer term contribution each channel makes to building the Company’s employer brand reputation. In short, there is a shift from measuring the immediate cost efficiency of channels in delivering candidates to the effectiveness of different channel/content combinations in delivering long-term value.
Channel or media ‘reach’ defines the total number of people exposed at least once to a medium during a given period. This is a good starting point for your media decisions as it gives you some indication of the potential audience your communication content has the opportunity to influence. This figure is combined with ‘frequency’ if you are purchasing advertising (vs. social posts) to calculate the total number of ‘Impressions’ or ‘Opportunities to See’ your communication content.
While increasing your target audience’s opportunities to see your content will help increase the potential impact of your marketing, the quality and relevance of your communication also plays a major role in capturing people’s attention and interest. For recruitment advertising content the metrics for this are relatively simple. For digital advertising (which now accounts for the vast majority) the key measure is the ‘click-through rate’ (CTR). This measures the proportion of people viewing the page carrying your advertisement who click though to your career site and landing pages. When it comes to social media content the metrics are a little less black and white since they include more levels of potential engagement (likes, shares, comments etc.) in addition to any ‘click-through’ calls to action you may have incorporated.
In the more immediate term the key measures of marketing media success are the degree to which engagement translates into applications, whether directly via CTRs or indirectly via shares (earned reach vs. paid reach), and the relative cost and quality of these applications (what proportion are sufficiently qualified for interview and for hire?). It’s also important at this point to factor in the relative cost-efficiency and effectiveness of different assessment processes. In terms of efficiency how much can you potentially save by deploying remote assessment tools (on-line tests, telephone and video interviews etc.)? Likewise, how many face to face interviews do you need to ensure a quality hire? From an effectiveness perspective you should also try to measure candidate satisfaction to calculate how much these processes are helping to enhance perceptions of your employer brand and secure quality hire conversion (or damaging brand perceptions and potentially undermining quality hire conversion). This potential trade-off between cost efficiency and ultimate effectiveness is also highly important in relation the the vast majority of candidates that employers ultimately reject.
It’s vital to divide the impact of your recruitment marketing into short term and long term effects, as it is possible to drive short-term engagement and applications, without necessarily driving significant long-term improvements in your employer brand awareness and reputation. It’s also important to take the longer-term view when it comes to quality hires, as the true tests of quality are retention and performance, which can be notoriously difficult to predict in the short term. Over the next two posts I will dive deeper into these more complex measures of employer brand equity, employee engagement and performance.
If you’d like to deepen your knowledge of employer brand management take a look at the up and coming ‘World Class Employer Branding’ course brought to you by employerbrandingacademy.com. You can also check out my latest book – ‘Employer Brand Management – Practical Lessons from the World’s Leading Employers’.