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How to Measure Talent Engagement: the Complete Metrics List

measure talent engagement

If it’s not being measured, it’s not being managed.

That’s one piece of business advice that’s been helping many managers be successful at their job over a couple of generations already, including recruiters. However, while we measure plenty of things in recruiting, we don’t always measure the right things.

Talent engagement is an acknowledged priority for most talent acquisition teams, especially at the start of this new year. You’d think most teams would approach measurement and success with a mindset that is aligned with those priorities, but that’s not really the case. No yet, at any rate.

What companies measure today

Respectively 60% and 40% of companies track time to hire and source of hire, while only 20% track their employer brand awareness, and only 13% track their pipeline growth, for example.

Most of the reporting and analytics in recruiting focuses on what happens around the application moment, and the journey of the applicant until they are either hired or rejected.

In other words, companies focus on the “Application” stage of the funnel, but don’t put enough effort in understanding all the research that candidates do, their relationship with the employer brand, or their interactions with the recruiting team whether or not they decide to apply. They don’t measure what happens in the discovery and interaction stages, or the promotion stage after the application process is over.

measure talent engagement funnel

The problem is, when candidates come to the application point, they have already heard about the company on the news or saw its products in the supermarket. They’ve heard their school friends talk about it during job fairs or visited its social media pages.

By the time they come to apply, they’ve already formed an opinion about you as a potential employer. If you want a chance at influencing that opinion, you need to understand what happens in the earlier pieces of the process.

What they should be measuring instead

The answer to that question is on two levels. Yes, teams need to measure more than just the old metrics, but they also need to prioritize recruiting activities differently, which, as a consequence, means measuring recruiting activities differently.

If we look at recruiting activities as a funnel, then traditional metrics are all centered somewhat around the application stage, while recruitment marketing metrics encompass the whole funnel.

Questions like “what image does the company have among designers?” or “are our events driving young graduates to apply?”, or even “do applicants talk positively about us after the application process is over?” must be answered and tracked to make sure the team will end up with enough applicants and hires in the long term- and that’s what recruitment marketing-specific metrics help with.

measure talent engagement

On a more conceptual level, the answer to “what should we measure” starts with “what matters most to us”. And what matters most to recruiting teams is to hire quality candidates now and in the future. The strategic, long-term dimension is becoming more and more central to the recruiting function, which is why metrics need to be much more about talent engagement.

Marketing as a discipline focuses a lot on the intentions and emotions of customers, and applying a recruitment marketing lens to talent acquisition ensures that, as a team, you’re measuring what happens in candidates’ minds, how they feel about you as a company, how they like to interact with you. That’s a great predictor of whether or not they’ll come to work for you.

Candidates are willing to share more of their data now, and expect companies to use it, and only solicit their attention with things that are relevant to them.

Where technology can help

Recruitment marketing software can now report on every step of the candidate journey: who clicked on what link, how much time did they spend on a page before closing it, what other touchpoint they were exposed to before applying… We can optimize resources to the last penny, and create extremely efficient, continuously improving campaigns.

The difficulty is in cutting down on the noise and deciding what you will focus on as a team. On top of your traditional performance metrics, such as time to hire or cost of hire, we recommend having at least the following metrics on your dashboard, or some variation on them:

  • Last time messaged/ number of messages: How many 1 to 1 interactions have we had with the candidate, and how recent are they?
  • Brand awareness: how well-known is the employer brand?
  • Recruitment Marketing ROI: which campaigns are the most efficient? How efficient are your recruitment marketing dollars?
  • Pipeline coverage: Are your efforts helping you move candidates throughout the funnel? Are you growing your pipeline?
  • Candidate experience and Talent Promoter Score: how likely is the candidate to promote the employer brand to others?

These metrics are more forward-facing than other traditional metrics, and can help you diminish risks to the business and inform strategic decisions that the rest of the business is making.

State of Talent Engagement 2019 report

The results of the State of Talent Engagement 2019 survey are in! You can download the full report here for statistics and data on how companies plan to engage with talent in 2019.

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