Talent Metrics: Are You Looking At The Right Bullet Holes?

Harsh reality - most recruiting organizations are using metrics that lack the ability to predict success effectively.

Trent Cotton, VP of Talent & Culture at HatchWorks, strongly believes that many organizations track the wrong talent data. As a loud and proud nerd (he said it, not us), we had a candid conversation with Trent during our June webinar to dig into all things HR analytics.

Check out the full 1-hour webinar below or read on for a brief synopsis of the key topic areas Trent discussed.

Before Trent kicked things off, we polled the audience on what talent metric is most important to their organization. 44% of the audience responded with “retention rate”. “Cost per hire” came in second place with 19%. Trent was actually very encouraged by these results as a lot of time organizations focus on “time to fill”, which is a metric most hiring teams get wrong.

1.) What’s Wrong?

As we mentioned earlier, Trent believes many organizations track the wrong talent data. The goal of any metric should be to allow iteration on the team, and to truly understand how to measure what counts, you need to understand the difference between leading and lagging metrics. 

  • Lagging - these are metrics that reflect on results after an action has been completed (i.e. - time to fill, # of hires, etc). 
  • Leading - measuring the activities that you think will help you reach your goal, allowing for adjustments before outcomes are finalized (i.e. - average days open, positions by stage, etc.). 

You still need to analyze both, but lagging metrics should not be your primary metrics…while leading metrics are the activities that give recruiting more control! 

2.) The Difference - Sprint Recruiting

Trent walked through the different metrics tied to his philosophy of sprint recruiting. When you look at a job board, it’s chaotic and most times, recruiters don’t know where to start. Do you start with the role that’s been open for the longest? Or maybe you start with a specific Hiring Manager’s role because they’re pressuring you to fill the role quickly?

In short form, sprint recruiting breaks down recruitment into focused sprints and looks at which roles are most impactful to the business to fill over the next 2 weeks. With this points-driven approach, the recruiter can now start their day reviewing what needs to be done and helps focus on what truly matters.

3.) The Solution

Trent recommends measuring the following as part of sprint recruiting:

  •  A 360 funnel - funnel stats by percentage (number of candidates that go through each stage from screening to final interview) and candidate experience scores (signals potential reasons why candidates leave the funnel) 
  • Performance snapshot - looks at the organizational and job level view of progress being made on roles 
  • Quick quits (new hires that leave in the first six months) 

For examples on the above, here’s a link to Trent’s demo dashboard that you can play around with. 


To conclude, Trent touched on a few key points regarding his recommended approach to talent metrics: 

  • Don’t use only the metrics to support your argument or hypothesis. 
  • Don’t be afraid to explore different metrics in the talent vertical.
  • Don’t get hung up on lagging metrics. 
  • Do focus on what you can control - leading metrics. 

And with that, we wrapped things up!

Huge thanks to Trent for joining us! Don't forget to check out the entire webinar linked above (& for a ton of audience questions that were answered throughout). For more on Trent and sprint recruiting, visit trentcotton.com.

And see you on July 24th for our next webinar! We’ll be joined by Kat Kibben, CEO & Founder of Three Ears Media and will be digging into all things TA & hiring manager alignment. You can register for this live conversation here

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