Friday, July 12, 2019

Metrics That Matter

Pull up a chair and grab a beverage kids, we're diving in to METRICS!! Everyone's FAVE subject especially if you suck at Excel and data makes your eyes glaze over (just me? oh, carry on then).

Waaaaay back in my agency days I was taught to dial the phone 100 times a day. That's right. Pick up the handset, dial 100 different phone numbers in an effort to connect with at least 10 people. Out of those 10, you could hopefully find one qualified, interested candidate for your open role(s). Good times.

Fast forward to the internet where everyone's a marketer. Lord save me from girls I went to high school with trying to sell me pink drinks and essential oils. Now it's all about connects, retweets, and page likes. We still somehow / some way have to get CANDIDATES connected to HIRING MANAGERS, but there are still some die hard phone enthusiasts out there, God love them.

People are easier than ever to find, yet harder to engage. We have to rise above the noise and whatnot. This post though, isn't about THAT. If you want more about how connect with prospects (or at least not send shitty inmails) check out this post. If you don't believe me, hear straight from the source on this post. But come back because this is important, y'all.

Ok so METRICS! YAY! What should I REALLY be thinking about and measuring? How do I know I'm doing a good job? What the hell is a funnel anyway?

Here are the key measures of talent acquisition success, plus a true story to back it up - I'll lay out definitions and rough process based on my completely biased yet accurate experience at multiple tech companies.

Pass Through Rates (PTRs) That Matter -

  • Submittals : Tech Screens
  • Tech Screens : Onsite Interview
  • Onsite Interview : Offer Extended
  • Offer Extend : Offer Accept

For our purposes, the candidate process looks like this -

  • Submittals - prospect has been fully vetted for interest / fit by a sourcer or recruiter
  • Tech screen - conversation between hiring manager or other qualified person and candidate
  • Onsite interview - you should know this one
  • Offer extend - I am giving you a letter with numbers on it
  • Offer accept - you like my letter and numbers
Here's an example of what that might look like. For my visual people - 

I know what you're thinking...  AMY! That's a 50% DECLINE RATE! What the WHAT?

Yep. I thought so too. 

Once upon a time a young tech recruiter worked for a really cool team doing big important things at a giant company. Let's call her Amy. She was invited to a VP level meeting where she was told the team needed to see MORE RESUMES. Amy panicked, thinking "but I'm so BUSY... I'm sending TONS of resumes... what the hell are they talking about?" 

Luckily Amy was SMART and Amy had DATA. Amy was able to prove that over the last 3 months resume submittals had actually INCREASED. 
(some data slightly changed to protect the innocent, but the percentages are ACCURATE)

Tech Screens34506615088.24%
2nd Tech Screens2730369362.00%
Offer Extend3581633.33%
Offer Accept134850.00%

Now Amy had a story to tell. 

Here's what we learned - 
  • We were seeing lots AND LOTS of resumes. In fact, the pipeline is increasing month over month. We liked most of them enough to talk to them.
  • Our ratios were relatively strong, considering the expectations of the roles (variety of engineering/PM/data science roles across levels)
  • We actually had an extra step in the form of a 2nd tech screen - potentially a factor in timing, interview fatigue, or part of why we were trending above OS:OE PTRs
  • We were extending a decent # of offers and trending above company norms of 20-25%
  • CLOSING was our pain point
***Bonus Point - people were leaving US at various steps as well! That was explored further in later reporting***

Armed with this kind of information, you get to drive the narrative. In this case, we had a lengthy discussion around our accept rate, and decided we could live with it based on a number of factors. More on that in a future post. 

Bottom line is this - I went into a meeting where the expectation was I was going to rain more resumes into a leaky funnel without any real understanding of the metrics. I LEFT the meeting a strategic advisor who was able to create a clear, actionable plan based on market realities. I had a GREAT story.

What's YOUR story?

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Actually, You DON'T Want To Hire "The Best"

Of all the lies recruiters tell themselves this might be one of my faves. We only hire "the best". We only engage with "the best" talent on behalf of our clients. We won't consider less than "the best" for our open roles. In fact, someone looking to hire a recruiter recently told me "decent is a bad word to me", as he only hires "the best".

As I'm thinking about this post, I'm wracking my brain trying to remember a time a hiring manager said those words to me. "ONLY BRING ME THE BEST! NOTHING ELSE WILL DO!" I gotta tell you guys, I'm drawing a blank here. This is not to say leaders get it right all the time - but generally they know to caveat their requests with some specifics. In all my years of tech recruiting, we are usually looking for someone who -

  • writes clean code
  • has been part of or possibly led a team
  • solved large scale problems
  • has a relatively provable track record of success

Can I with any confidence say I'm going to find "the best" developer and convince them to take this role? Or "the best" manager to lead that team? What the hell does it even mean? Is it all just meaningless buzzwords we use to feel superior? If I let myself fall too far down the rabbit hole I have to wonder just who is holding the measuring stick for all this best-i-ness!! HOW CAN I KNOW???

Fun Fact - I can't. And neither can you. There are certain things we can and should vet as part of the recruiting process. Can the person accomplish this thing? Check. Are they interested in doing said thing for my client? Check. Will they actually leave the current place they're doing the thing and come do the thing here for the amount of money I can pay them? CHECK CHECK CHECK.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you might have yourself a hire! Now congratulate yourself on being a master of the recruiting universe and stop wondering if someone "better" is out there. Because they are. You will drive yourself absolutely bat shit crazy if you focus on only "the best" however you choose to define it.  I guarantee someone else involved in the process will have a whole 'nother way to measure "best".

How about we look at this a little differently, hmm? Start asking yourselves these questions -

  • is my prospect QUALIFIED (they can do the thing)
  • are they INTERESTED (willing to talk about doing the thing here)
  • can I AFFORD them (I can pay what it will cost for them to do the thing)
This is obviously the BARE MINIMUM of what we should be thinking about / discussing - but how differently does our recruiting approach look when we stop caring about subjective, silly qualifiers like "best" and focus on things we can actually measure? A simple change in mindset is so freeing. All of a sudden I can start focusing on what MATTERS and forget about pipeline that won't fit my criteria, no matter how great. This is often a discussion when it comes to remote work - you can't really say you want "the best" when you're not willing to let people work from home. Or bring their cats to work. Or wear yoga pants. Someone, somewhere, is doing an AMAZING job at the thing, and you won't hire them because you have this or that rule. You can have those rules. Within reason and the law, you can have just about any old rule you want. So throw out "the best" and focus on what works for the team AND the candidate. In other words, "the best for this specific role, at this specific time, under these specific circumstances".

You can have a high bar. You can expect BIG THINGS from people (even more so if you give them something juicy in return - be it money, culture, growth, whatever). Just keep it real. Your clients and candidates will love you for it.


Not the best - but definitely sometimes really great :)

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