March 21, 2017

5 Key Metrics to Track for Social Recruiting Success

If you’re recruiting in 2017, there’s no doubt that social media is part of your plan. There’s really no way around it, whether you are actively sourcing and recruiting through unique social networks, or simply using an auto-share option to post job openings to more common social sites. Either way, nearly every company is using social recruiting in one way or another, and it’s going to become an even bigger focus with each passing year.  

Because social recruiting has become such a significant investment, it’s vital to understand how your time and money are performing. This is especially true since social recruiting can be a long-tail activity that may not immediately yield results but instead allows you to build a candidate pipeline over time. It may also involve short-term campaigns that fit into a larger strategy, or a focus on individual postings. The unpredictable and ever-changing ways we use social, and the ways in which it evolves, means we need consistent metrics to track success and understand why efforts are or aren’t working.  

To get a robust picture of your social recruiting and ensure success, use these five diverse social recruiting metrics.  

Source of hire 

The most basic fact you need to know is which social sites are performing for you and which aren’t. Social recruiting can be time consuming and even costly, so it’s vital to know that your resources are going to what works. Measuring source of hire requires tracking applications with that criteria noted, but it’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to shape your social recruiting strategy. Keep in mind though that an under-performing source could mean a lot of things, so it’s also important to dig deeper and understand why. For instance, you may find that it’s just not an ideal source of candidates for your industry, but it may also be that your tone and tactics on that site need to be adjusted. However, once you’ve established that a site is or isn’t the right avenue, you can easily adjust your time or spend to reflect that. Social can be a bit of a guessing game at first, but your strategy should shape up along the way to yield the best results. Source of hire is the first step to doing just that.  

Return on time  

Depending on your level of involvement in social sourcing and recruiting, you could easily spend hours a day on a single social network. Of course, that may not be the best use of your time, so it’s helpful to quantify whether or not the hours are productive. One way to do that is by looking at the return on time, or how many hours of work it takes to get an application submission. Since you may not be able to track each job opening’s hours individually, averages are a good way to evaluate. You can evaluate time by social network, or as a whole to get a more general picture of your social recruiting time investment and performance. How does that number stack up against other recruiting methods? How does that time vary from network to network? These questions help you take advantage of your most valuable commodity: your time.  

Reach and referrals 

Getting a grasp of your social reach can help clarify a number of things, such as whether or not your posts are engaging, how active your employees and colleagues are on social, and how effectively you’re spending your social recruiting budget. Reach refers to the amount of people who see your post, whether shared by you in their personal feed, shared by a connection, or as a sponsored post or ad. It can tell you if people are responding to what they see or read, and gives you a good idea of the general effectiveness of your efforts. And one of the most useful ways to analyze it is to see how your own employees are interacting with you on social, which can help in measuring employee engagement and informal referrals. Average reach varies greatly depending on a number of factors, so it may be helpful to do a starting benchmark and then evaluate at regular intervals, and for individual campaigns and postings to measure performance.  

Cost per hire  

For companies that choose to dedicate a portion of their budget to social recruiting, knowing your cost per hire is essential. In the same way that one could easily spend hours in the rabbit hole that is social media, it would also be easy to spend hundreds of dollars and not know how it performed. Measuring cost per hire specifically for social media allows you compare with other channels, and compare the networks against one another. For instance, you’ll probably spend significantly more for LinkedIn advertising that Facebook advertising, but you may see a better return on the investment with the more expensive channel. Every company is different, so use your own cost per hire as your benchmark and look beyond the simple analytics that social networks provide.  


All four of the metrics above are important to social recruiting success, but if any of them show disappointing results, you can probably trace it back to this one simple metric. Engagement, or the number of times and ways in which people interact with you on social, does more than just create a buzz about your employer brand. It provides insight into what tone resonates with candidates, the types of content they’re interested in, which job descriptions were well written, which positions are appealing, and so much more. From liking a post to clicking on a link to sharing a job, all these interactions eventually make up how much time and money it costs to recruit a candidate on social. In general, the more engagement you have, the better results you’ll see across all metrics. Measuring engagement also helps you understand what’s working, what’s not, and how to adjust. It’s both the starting point and the place you’ll keep coming back to in your search for social recruiting success.  

Social recruiting is not a one-size-fits-all plan, and success may not happen overnight. However, by tracking these five metrics and making adjustments along the way, you’ll gain a better understanding of what it takes to attract candidates both on social and elsewhere, and you’ll hone your craft in the process. 

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