5 Key Sourcing Metrics You Should Be Tracking

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5 Key Sourcing Metrics You Should Be Tracking

Sourcing, on the surface level, seems like a pretty straightforward process. However, if you’re really looking to stand out and perform like your competitors, there are a few sourcing metrics you need to measure and optimize. Not only is it important to remain abreast of what is happening, but it also mitigates any risks for your organization long term. 

In the current job market, complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, recruiters and sourcers face the challenge of finding qualified candidates for many unfilled roles. What are the best sourcing metrics that help you make your sourcing process as effective and efficient as possible?

What are sourcing metrics?
Most important sourcing metrics to track
– Sourcing channel effectiveness
– Candidate pipeline speed
– Sourcing productivity
– Candidate conversion rate
– Response rate

What are sourcing metrics?

Sourcing is the active search for qualified candidates for a current or planned vacancy. It forms part of the recruitment process and includes activities such as collecting data of candidates, titles, previous job experience, education. It also involves engaging these qualified candidates, some of whom are actively looking for jobs and others are passive job seekers. Depending on the size of the organization, there might be dedicated recruiters (in a large organization), or recruiters might do the sourcing themselves (in a smaller company).

Sourcing metrics thus help you understand the effectiveness of your candidate sourcing efforts. You can imagine why this might be important – for example, if you’re in a large organization, and you have a crucial role that becomes vacant. It won’t be a scramble to fill this vacant role, but rather, you would just look into your sourcing pipelines and prior research done to fill the vacancy as fast as possible. This is increasing in importance in the face of the Great Resignation.

While recruiting metrics help track the recruitment and hiring process as a whole, sourcing metrics focus on the effectiveness of the initial sourcing activities.

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Most important sourcing metrics to track

Sourcing channel effectiveness

What does it measure?

It measures the effectiveness of each of the sourcing channels (example: job boards, social media, sourcing tools, internal email, etc.) and their contribution to the pool of candidates. 

How is it measured?

To calculate sourcing channel effectiveness, you divide the total number of applications via channel by the total number of hires via the channel. So, for example, if you have 200 applications via LinkedIn and three hires, your sourcing channel effectiveness would be 1.5%.

Why does it matter?

Measuring your sourcing effectiveness can result in significant savings. It allows you to optimize your sourcing process, understand where your best candidates are coming from at the lowest cost. For example, you may find that you have a massive quantity of applications via job boards, but with a low percentage of hires. On the other hand, you may have a low quantity of applications coming through referrals but with a higher percentage of hires. This makes sense because the referrer has already vetted referrals.

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As a result, an organization might want to implement an incentive scheme for employees to refer candidates in their circle for a job opening. Sourcing channel effectiveness should answer questions about your main and best sourcing channels, where most applicants and hires come from, as well as the cost per channel.

Key Sourcing Metrics

Candidate pipeline speed

What does it measure?

This measures the time a candidate is first contacted until offer acceptance.

How is it measured?

Calculate the number of days between the date of first contact until offer acceptance. For example, if you first contacted a candidate on the 1st of May 2021 and they accepted the offer on the 1st of October 2021, your pipeline speed would be 153 days. 

Why does it matter?

Candidate pipeline speed measures two things: efficiency and consistency across the entire recruiting process–from outreach, nurture, and qualification to hiring.

Firstly, it measures how fast or slow your internal processes are in hiring someone (although it depends on candidate behavior as well). If the pipeline is slow, then this might mean that there are too many interviews, or the scheduling of interviews is not efficient. By gaining these insights, you’re able to remove the bottlenecks slowing down your recruitment funnel.

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It also measures consistency – reasonably, it should take the same time to fill a vacancy as it has before. For example, if it takes 100 days to fill a marketing manager position, then it should take the same time the next time the role is being sourced for. This helps you manage hiring managers’ expectations about when they could have a new hire on board. Furthermore, you’re also able to link this back to your sourcing effectiveness. You may find that candidates that apply via job boards have a much slower turnaround time in accepting an offer. Or perhaps, for example, candidates in the finance industry have a faster turnaround time.

Sourcing productivity

What does it measure?

It’s a measure of the efforts of a sourcing team and the outcomes thereof. For example, it could track the number of:

  • emails sent,
  • calls made,
  • pre-screenings completed,
  • LinkedIn messages sent,
  • and the outcomes thereof. 

How is it measured?

You can track the activities your team or individual team members are carrying out on a weekly or monthly basis. Then you can compare to your targets and see where you stand after the determined time period. However, it’s important to realize that the number of emails or Linkedin messages doesn’t automatically indicate quality. That’s why you want to combine this metric the candidate conversion rate and response rate metrics we discuss below.

For example, if a sourcer sends an email to 50 potential candidates, 10 of them reply, that would be 20%. Now, if you were to improve that email with personalization, and it yields a 35% response, that is an improvement of 15% in your sourcing productivity. You can use this same calculation and measurement across various productivity sourcing metrics (cold-calling, InMails on Linkedin, etc.)

Why does it matter?

Quite simply, it helps you improve your internal processes and makes them more effective, saving time and money. Furthermore, you’re able to forecast how many emails, messages, etc., it would take to find a qualified candidate. It makes sourcing more manageable, and also, it’s possible to equally spread the workload among colleagues. This would also act as an indicator for workforce management of the sourcing and recruiting team. In recruitment, time is money, and a way to save money is to be productive in the least amount of time.

Candidate conversion rate

What does it measure?

This measures the return you are getting for the time and money invested in the day-to-day work of sourcing. 

How is it measured?

Because candidates can be at various stages of the sourcing or recruitment process, it is imperative to measure this metric at various stages as well. The first way to measure is to calculate your candidate pipeline conversion rate: 

Candidate pipeline conversion rate = number of candidates from the pipeline that were interviewed / number of candidates that you recommend to recruiters/managers. 

For example, during the sourcing process, you find 40 candidates who you recommend to a recruiter. They move 10 of them to the interview stage. That would be a 25% conversion rate. The higher the conversion rate, the more effective your sourcing efforts have been.

Secondly, you also need to calculate the offer acceptance rate. 

Candidate offer acceptance rate = number of offers accepted / number of offers

This important metric helps you determine which sources are more likely to accept a job offer than those who would not. For example, you might find that candidates from competitors are more likely to accept a job offer than those in other industries. This would, in turn, inform your strategy of where to source candidates from and where to invest your resources.

Why does it matter?

In a talent-short and highly competitive market, your sourcing process needs to be optimized, and so too your conversion rate. There is nothing more frustrating than going through the entire sourcing process to recruiting and final offer, and the candidate rejects the offer. That not only resets the entire recruitment process but also delays critical business operations.

If you notice an unusually poor conversion rate, this would be an opportunity to get feedback from candidates and ask the specific reasons why they rejected an offer. If the number of candidates recommended to recruiters from the sourcing efforts does not result in good interviews and ultimately in quality hires, it is an indicator that the pipeline needs improvement.

Response rate

What does it measure?

This simply measures the effectiveness of your outreach to prospects.

How is it measured?

You would calculate the number of outreach efforts divided by the number of responses. For example, if you sent 100 emails to potential candidates and 12 responses, that’s a response rate of 12%. You can compare your response rate to the previous performance but also to benchmarks. The average response rate for an initial sourcing email should be between 30-50%.

Before sending out any messages to potential candidates, it is a good idea to do A/B testing internally. Ask your colleagues to respond to sourcing messages, and get them to choose which one is best. In this way, before you reach out to candidates, you have a sample group that can positively influence the messaging. You might also want to look at the various outreach tools and the average response rate per tool (e.g., email, LinkedIn, Job boards, social media, etc.).

Why does it matter?

It’s an excellent way to measure the effectiveness of your messaging, and in some ways, the attractiveness of your brand. Furthermore, it also speaks to the quality of your messaging. If you notice a low response rate, perhaps you need to tweak the header of the email or the subject line of a LinkedIn InMail. Or possibly use more personalization, or maybe send the message at a different time.

Over to you

Candidate sourcing metrics help you understand how successful your sourcing efforts are and where the shortcomings are. Be proactive in collecting the data and regularly analyze the data. That will help you gain actionable insights and come up with initiatives on how to improve your candidate sourcing process.

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