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How to Measure Source of Hire in Recruitment Marketing

A recent PwC report, “Workforce of the Future,” indicates that candidates are the most responsive to a potential employer’s outreach efforts at a sweet spot between seven and 11 engagements or interactions. Because most self selection is not reliable and not all recruitment technology like ATSs allow for tracking multiple touchpoints in the hiring process (most only track the most recent engagement), being able evaluate and understand the full candidate journey means that we may not be getting the most accurate source of hire data.

Measure, Monitor & Understanding Source of Hire Data

So how do we identify the best way to measure, monitor and understand source of hire data? If your recruiting technology is only part of the story and supports the end of the candidate journey data with cookie tracking for source, it could be helpful to create additional reporting elements to support your source of hire data.

In some ATSs, you can get around the single (most recent) source tracking issue by enabling additional source codes – if your ATS supports this and with the understanding that you’re going to have to make some modifications to your fields and data extensions that might require support from your ATS provider. Otherwise, you only have last touch attribution data. With this single source, a candidate would have to apply for a job on your career site directly from a job posting or job ad. Plus, if a candidate visits another site and returns to your career site to apply for a job, the source attribution could be lost entirely.

Understanding Your Candidate’s Apply Journey

This is why, as we mentioned in our recent post on Source of Hire and the Role of Touchpoints in Recruitment Marketing, it’s important to be able to drill down into source of hire metrics and uncover the touchpoints along the candidate journey that lead a candidate into the hiring funnel, from awareness to consideration to application, as well as exactly how many “touches” are necessary to create a successful candidate marketing campaign.

If you’re in the market for new recruiting technology, this is a great “must-have” to add to your vendor checklist. If, like most of us, you’re on a contract with a vendor and have to use what’s available, there are some workarounds that won’t kill your technology budget.

Modify your ATS

If you’re comfortable with following tutorials, many ATS community forums have them for tracking multiple sources, as this is has been a hot topic in recruiting technology for some time. Your ATS records the source a candidate entered your pipeline from through automated tracking. With data extensions and some modifications to how your ATS tracks source, you can extract a report to view the distribution of candidates and hires among different sources. It might not be as clean as the standard reports, but it should give you a better idea of multiple sources broken down by candidate.

Implement “tracking tags”

These are tags appended to the end of a URL so that the referring site can tell the ATS that “this candidate came from our site.” The ATSs would then save this tag as the source, which would then report a single source. What you really need in order to track multiple sources is the ability to track candidates after they leave your site and when they return to your site, which means setting up tracking on every single source and using cookies to track candidate habits via IP address. This means you can use Google tag manager for tagging and Google Analytics for reporting – but this all takes place outside of your ATS and creates another report you have to integrate with your ATS data.

Use Google Analytics for traffic sources

One primary function of web analytics is to tell you where your site traffic comes from. You likely already use Google Analytics for reporting on organic and paid traffic to your career site, but you can also use UTM codes. This is a simple code you can attach to a custom URL in order to track a source, medium, and campaign name. This enables Google Analytics to tell you where users came from as well as what campaign directed them to you. You can use UTM codes for traffic sources like:

  • Organic traffic (from search engines like Google and Bing)
  • Paid advertising
  • Social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
  • Job boards
  • Direct traffic (visitors going right to your website)
  • Email

Again, this creates another channel for reporting that doesn’t live in your ATS, but it will give you the most accurate data for each touchpoint and source through your candidate journey.

Provide Feedback & Ask Questions to Your HR Tech

I’ve mentioned that tracking multiple sources of hire has been a hot topic in recruiting technology. Your ATS vendor is aware of this and many vendors have created add-on or stopgap solutions, so before you jump into customization and manual tracking, talk to your recruiting technology vendor about what they can do for you.