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The Recruiter's Digest
 Recruiting News, Training & Commentary by Bill Radin

January, 2005

Hitting the Magic Numbers

Metrics are used by top-flight recruiting firms to measure performance, make projections, identify and correct mistakes, and help achieve production goals. Raw numbers such as daily phone calls, weekly sendouts and job orders can paint a fairly accurate snapshot of effort and activity.

But to drill deeper into the qualitative nature of recruiting, I've found ratios to be the most valuable tool. Here are some of the ratios I use to help identify the efficiencies, strengths and weaknesses in my game:

1. Sendout-to-placement. On average, how many interviews do you need to arrange before a placement is made? The industry average is somewhere between five and ten. My personal average is three. If it takes you only one or two interviews to make a placement, you've got psychic powers, and should move to Las Vegas immediately.

2. Pitch-to-sendout. On average, how many times do you need to pitch a job to your candidates before a person agrees to go on an interview? Very few recruiters keep tabs on this ratio, so I have no idea what the industry standard is. I know that in my case, it takes an average of seven or eight recruiting calls (direct and indirect) to arrange a sendout.

If your pitch-to-sendout ratio is weak, it means one of three things is happening. Either your presentation script is dull or poorly constructed; the job you're pitching is unappealing to your target market; or the requirements of the job are so tightly woven that they unreasonably limit the universe of qualified candidates.

3. Presentation-to-sendout. On average, how many candidates do you need to present to the employer before the company agrees to an interview? Ideally, the ratio should be one-to-one. If you submit resumes for approval, the ratio might jump to 2-to-1 or 3-to-1. If it's much higher than that, you risk being perceived as the type of recruiter who throws resumes at the employer until something sticks.

4. "Hot sheet" closure. This ratio describes the number of deals you close after the candidate has gone to a second-level interview. If your placement ratio is strong (say, 50 to 100 percent), it shows you have good qualifying and closing skills. On the other hand, if your ratio is weak, it means you're either failing to qualify your candidates and employers up front, or you're making a habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

5. Misery index. This is the percentage of deals that result in falloffs, turndowns or accepted counteroffers. Many recruiters can live with a 10 or 15 percent misery index; for me, a 10 percent misery index is way too high.

Bear in mind that all things are relative; in the end, the only thing that matters is whether you're getting good results. For example, if you need to submit 100 resumes in order to arrange an interview, that's not necessarily a bad thing -- if you can submit 1,000 resumes a day. What's important is that you track your ratios, listen to what they're telling you, and use them as a benchmark for making improvements.



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