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  • Writer's pictureMaryna Khomich

Mastering Recruitment: A Comprehensive Guide to Sourcing Metrics

Two weeks ago, we published an article on the topic of recruiting metrics. Despite the abundance of material on this subject, it remains widespread, much like recruiting itself. However, sourcing as a theme is quite new, especially in certain regions. There's significantly more debate, doubt, and a shortage of valuable material on this issue. As a result, people and professionals in the recruiting field often get confused with the concepts, not fully understanding what sourcing is and what constitutes effective sourcing. How do we determine when a project requires a sourcer, or when a company needs one? Most importantly, how do we measure a sourcer's effectiveness if they are already part of your team? We will explore what sourcing in recruitment entails, the importance of different sourcing metrics, and how these strategies contribute to the overall growth and effectiveness of a company's recruitment process.

Guide to Sourcing Metrics
Retro Sourcer

Understanding Sourcing in Recruitment

Let's start by trying to understand what sourcing is and what falls under a sourcer's responsibilities. Most people associate sourcing with searching, i.e., finding suitable profiles of passive candidates. The task of a sourcer is to identify candidates who are suitable for a vacancy and not actively looking but might consider a job offer. There's a lot of debate around the functions of a sourcer, especially whether they should directly communicate with candidates or if that's the recruiter's role. Often, sourcing is linked exclusively to searching, particularly for high-volume or unique vacancies.

Another definition of sourcing is direct sourcing. It implies that a sourcer's role goes beyond just finding the right profile but also includes direct contact with the candidate and "selling" them the vacancy. The goal is to attract candidates ready to start the hiring process and then hand them over to the recruiter.

There's also a holistic sourcing approach, which encompasses all ways of drawing candidates to a company. This includes direct search, employee referrals, considering former employees for current vacancies, internal hiring, and job fairs. In short, any channel that brings candidates into the company is considered part of holistic sourcing.

Critical Sourcing Metrics for Effective Recruitment

Now let's discuss the metrics that can be used in a sourcer's work and our expectations from their performance. Sourcer metrics can be divided into quantitative, qualitative, and Customer Satisfaction, with the "customer" being the company, specifically recruiters and hiring managers.

Quantitative metrics

What metrics measure sourcing productivity? Quantitatively, it's important to measure the number of active vacancies a sourcer is working on over a certain period to track their workload. It's also crucial to measure the number of qualified resumes sourced weekly. Qualified resumes are those that meet the job position requirements. Important indicators include the number of qualified resumes per vacancy and the time taken for the first submission, i.e., how long it takes a sourcer to compile an initial list of three qualified resumes for a position and the time to replenish this list after the recruiter processes the first submitted candidates.

Other quantitative metrics include the number of emails sent, total candidates in the pipeline, talent pool size, and number of calls made. However, these figures alone don't fully reflect a sourcer's contribution to the company.

Qualitative metrics

For qualitative metrics, it doesn't matter if the initial candidate pool has 100 or 10 candidates. What matters is how many show interest by responding to the initial message.

Previously, I often came across efficiency metrics like open rate (percentage of candidates opening the email) and response rate (percentage responding to the email). While important, these aren't the only metrics.

Key metrics include the recruiter acceptance rate, i.e., the percentage of resumes progressing to the interview stage, usually not less than 90%. If a sourcer isn't reducing the vacancy closure time, impacting the time-to-fill metric, their work loses meaning. Also, the sourcing candidate funnel conversion is crucial – the ratio of all identified candidates to the number of submitted qualified CVs.

Then, there's the contacted via identified rate, or the percentage of candidates we've sent a job offer to from the total identified. For quality sourcing, this also should not be below 90%.

Measuring the engaged via contacted rate is vital, indicating how many contacted candidates we've engaged in conversation. This benchmark depends on market conditions and the specific vacancy, ideally not less than 55%.

Finally, the submitted VC engaged rate – the ratio of candidates we've engaged in dialogue to those presented as qualified profiles to recruiters. This should not be less than 15%.

Operational Metrics for Strategic Decision-Making

Attention should also be paid to the operational metrics for sourcing. One of them is the Fulfillment Rate – the minimum percentage of total open vacancies closed by a sourcer. And the Number of Hires – the minimum number of candidates expected to be hired by a sourcer over a certain period.

These metrics might seem tricky since the goal of sourcing is not hiring per se. This appears counterintuitive, as the main goal of a recruitment department is company growth and hiring. However, overall hiring depends more on the hiring process, which involves the recruiter and hiring managers. A sourcer contributes most significantly to candidate search and engagement. We expect them to provide an adequate number of qualified candidates and resumes for the recruiter.

The Integral Role of Sourcing in Modern Recruiting Strategy

In conclusion, it's worth considering the additional value a sourcer brings to a company. Sourcing is valuable not only for its ability to attract candidates but also for its contribution to the overall hiring process. It's important to realize that the value of searching lies in creating the candidate list, not just in the final hiring.

A proactive search for top candidates is where many companies see the value in sourcing. Access to rare talents that might not be found through other means, or who wouldn't engage under different circumstances, is key. An experienced sourcer finds ways to reach and engage these rare talents, unattainable by other means. If a sourcer can't find such candidates, it is likely, they don't exist.

Promoting the employer brand among passive candidates. Since a sourcer typically works with passive candidates, they also concurrently promote the brand and significantly influence brand perception. This can be quite beneficial, as the search reaches candidates who wouldn't necessarily consider the company as an employer. This is especially important, for instance, when sourcing candidates for product companies whose main product isn't software. Most developers want to work in top software development companies and pay less attention to vacancies from other types of companies. Here's where sourcing can help.

Gathering valuable information through the search process. In our agency, we use the sourcing function as a channel for collecting market and competitive intelligence and data for our market reviews. The search methods used by sourcers can easily be applied to gather information about competitors and other relevant issues: which companies are downsizing, resuming hiring, will be the main donors for specific vacancies or directions, when they plan to launch a new product or service, how they hire their employees, and from where. Data collection on salaries and benefits is also important to understand how competitive our offer is.

Closing Thoughts

In summary, sourcing plays a key role in modern recruiting strategy. It not only broadens the candidate search horizon, providing access to a wide range of talents, but also significantly enhances the quality and efficiency of the hiring process.

Understanding and properly using sourcing metrics allows HR professionals to more accurately evaluate their work, identify areas for improvement, and strategically develop recruitment approaches. Thus, successful sourcing not only aids in hiring the most suitable candidates but also significantly contributes to the company's growth and development, strengthening its market position in the long run.

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