Hiring Best Practices: Intelligent Sourcing


Does success in hiring seem random to you? Does it ever feel like the process that you’re using to source and hire candidates delivers great results in one round of hiring and terrible results in another, seemingly with no rhyme or reason? If you’re on the verge of a lucky horse shoe shopping spree on eBay to help with your next hire, the most useful thing that you can do is re-examine your hiring process with a few of Accolo’s hiring best practices in mind.

Over years of making hires, it’s pretty common to develop some bad habits, or at least a few blind spots. By making an effort to get back to basics, hiring a great candidate becomes the end result of a measurable, ordered process instead of just a matter of blind luck.

The first step to getting some more control over the quality of the candidates that you’re pulling in is to track the effectiveness of the candidate sources that you’re using. It could very well be that you’re at your wit’s end simply because you’ve been focusing all of your time and mental energies on sources that aren’t working well for you.

By practicing intelligent sourcing, you can determine exactly which job boards, referrals and softwares are giving you the most bang for your buck.

Sourcing Intelligence

Depending on your company, there might already be a heavy emphasis on metrics in your working life. While they can certainly be a pain, recording the stats on the effectiveness of the job boards that you’re subscribing to, along with your employee referral program and any recruiters that you might be using is crucial.

For your next round of hiring you should be recording:

  • The total number of applicants from each source. (Monster, CareerBuilder, Employee Referral Program, etc.)
  • The total number of applicants that were qualified for the job from each source.
  • The number of applicants that made it to an interview from each source.
  • The number of applicants that were ultimately hired from each source.
  • The top handful of candidates that you found to be the most qualified (this is good for sourcing, as well as your next round of hiring.

Now, the way that you record these stats doesn’t really matter, as long it’s done in a neat, orderly way. You don’t need anything more advanced than a spreadsheet in Excel to make a lasting improvement to your company’s hiring.

Once you’ve compiled this set of data for a few positions, it’s time to evaluate which sources are benefiting you and which are just dead weight. You can do this by measuring the “Signal to Noise” of each source. This metric basically shows you which sources are the most efficient at delivering qualified candidates. You can determine the Signal to Noise of any source by applying this simple equation:

(%Hired Source A) – (%Applied Source A)

Your most efficient sources will be positive values and your most inefficient sources will be negative. Now, just because a source has a high signal to noise doesn’t mean it should be abandoned. This is why you’re recording metrics about the quality of the hires that you make from each source as well. It could be that the source through which you’ve made some of your best hires is also taking up most of your time. Here’s an example of some Signal to Noise data from one of our clients:

Source Applicants Qualified Interviewed Hired Signal to Noise
Direct Sourcing 24,675 (14.1%) 10,167 1828 292 (15%) 1.0%
E-Marketing Campaigns 105,058 (75%) 48,726 5693 861 (44%) -30.65%
Referrals 7,156 (5.1%) 6764 2054 542 (28%) 22.87%
Internal Transfers 628 (.4%) 583 160 150 (7.74%) 7.34%
Social Networks 6,806 (4.9%) 3258 413 58 (2.9%) -2.0%

By tracking these hiring metrics, you can do away with guess work once and for all when it comes to using sources that work best for your company’s hiring.


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