I was reminded last month that it has been nearly four years since Chris and I wrote the last CareerXroads’ (CXR) Source of Hire Report. It has me wondering: are we really ready to measure the influences that trigger candidate decisions on their long and winding journey to your [incredible] opportunity?
Source of Hire data as inspiration for improvement
The CXR Source of Hire (SOH) survey was an annual project that started in 2001 when a friend of mine at Mitre Corp., Gary Cluff, stopped doing it for the Employment Management Association (EMA). The CXR effort was not big data but, not that small either. More than ¼ million jobs were crunched each year from 2001 to 2015. The data source, fully disclosed, was a biased sample of 30-50 employers who were very large, very well-branded, and broadly representative of 4 or 5 major industries. The thing is, it was never about the specifics i.e. whether Referrals were better than Job Boards. Instead our Source of Hire research was always intended to raise questions and discussions around the data collected.
“Why was one of the largest Source’s ‘Other’?” (Many Source fields were left blank.)
“Why were we satisfied that each hire was influenced by only one source?” (Surveys demonstrated as many as six different touchpoints were needed to drive an application.)
“How could the Company Career Site consistently be 1st or 2nd SoH?” (Magic – they suddenly appeared out of nowhere.)
“How important is it that CareerBuilder beats out Monster in the Job Board category?” (Who cares today? Maybe if we changed it to Indeed versus Google?)
“Shouldn’t decisions on yield and investment analyze source by location, type of job, number of similar openings, level and more?” (Duh. The death of average.)
“Is self-report really that bad an indicator?” (It is when you can’t design a question simple enough to answer.)
“Is the first place a candidate checked as important as the last place they stopped on the way to applying?”
“Can we really map back ‘awareness’, ‘engaged’, ‘interested’ and ‘applied’ let alone ‘qualified’, ‘competitive’, ‘selected’ and ‘hired’ to specific triggers we can measure?
“Is the operational definition of a ‘referral’ too narrow to reflect the impact social media is having on peer influence?”
Where has all the substance gone?
Oh, I suppose I could go on, but the tenor of the conversation changed around 2012. Source of Hire turned away from how we improve the data (or the insights we can still derive from bad data) to how vendors best defend their limited technology with bad science and poor assumptions about sources. By 2015 the SOH discussion was considerably more about the noise than the substance. A lot has happened however in these last four years. While the hype remains, more and more companies are employing analysts in TA who are fully capable of calling BS…and they are. Companies are beginning to clean up their SOH data and, ask better questions, including questions their tech partners have avoided answering for years.
I was reminded about this by Grace Hennessey in her post this spring: If a Recruiting Ad is Clicked, but Not Tracked, Did it Really Happen? We talked and then leveraged that conversation into a panel discussion for this spring’s UNLEASH Conference. Along the way, we added another character we enjoy, Martin Burns from HireClix. Our Source of Hire panel in Las Vegas on May 14 & 15 (there is still time to get a ticket – finish the survey and you’ll get a discount link) will include the results of our new SOH survey.
Knowing that many who complete the survey may not make it to the conference, we have scheduled a webinar on May 23 and invited several companies whose TA Leaders are intent on elevating a better approach to decisions about their sources.
Your help in completing this Survey about Source of Hire will help position our conversation for both the conference and the webinar. We look forward to hearing your point of view. Thanks in advance.