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Source of Hire and the Role of Touchpoints in Recruitment Marketing

There are a number of metrics we should track in our recruiting efforts, as mentioned broadly in Must-Have Recruiting Metrics to Show Off to Your Boss. When it comes to recruitment marketing, it’s important to understand what applicant sources are performing the best across the board, by channel, by campaign and by position. This puts source of hire (SoH) at the top of your reporting, and it’s imperative to have reliable data to track this metric.

The Role of Source of Hire in Recruitment Marketing

At the fundamental level, tracking source of hire helps you distribute your hiring resources to the most effective recruiting channels. Calculate this metric by dividing your recruiting source yield by number of applicants from the recruiting source. Use this metric to determine which sources, job boards or websites are most effective for hiring for your business.

Depending on the ATS or CRM technology you’re currently using, it should record the application source a candidate entered your pipeline from through automated tracking, or cookies generated from email or site activity. Source of hire shows what percentage of your overall hires entered your pipeline from each recruiting channel or source (e.g. job boards, referrals, direct sourcing).

The standard of the past has been collecting source of hire data via candidate surveys or using a drop down self-selection menu as part of your application process. Neither of these are as reliable as click tracking (cookies) because the candidate is providing the information.

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 recruitment technology like ATSs only point to the most recent engagement, how do we evaluate and understand the full candidate journey?

Where Recruitment Marketing Touchpoints Come In

If recruitment marketing follows traditional marketing, we must follow the source of hire to evaluate the number of engagements to conversions. This means we have to understand touchpoints along the candidate journey. Each touchpoint is a message that literally “touches” a candidate, and collectively they create the candidate experience. Touchpoint marketing analyzes the assets and processes that make up the touchpoints and maps them according to where they lie in the candidate journey. Digital touchpoints refer to engagements with your brand online, which include your career site, job ads, search engine results, and social media.

Touchpoint marketing means that we track the touchpoints that lead to a candidate showing interest and applying for a job. This is how we drill down into our source of hire metrics and uncover the touchpoints along the candidate journey that lead a candidate into your hiring funnel, from awareness to consideration to application, as well as exactly how many “touches” are necessary to create a successful candidate marketing campaign.

Types of Digital Candidate Engagement and Recruiting Touchpoints

The first step is to identify the touchpoints along your candidate journey. They can range from direct person-to-person interactions like emails and interviews to indirect interactions such as visiting a company website or filling out an application online. Touchpoints also include interactions intermediated by third parties, such as reviews on Glassdoor, personal-but-public social media posts shared by employees, or customer interaction with your employer brand. Every interaction, big or small, direct or indirect, is a touchpoint.

This typically occurs after you’ve developed candidate personas, the candidate journey map, and your recruitment marketing goals for a specific candidate journey. Once you have your journey map, you can identify each moment or interaction during which you connect and engage with a candidate. Consider touchpoints you have already – such as career site job posting – and what you can add to the journey, like personalized email response, text messaging for candidate updates, content marketing via newsletter or social media, and targeted advertising.

Note that some touchpoints can be negative, for example: a potential candidate response to a Glassdoor review, but these should not be overlooked. This is an opportunity to take a look at your employer brand strategy and consider the value of a candidate reading a negative review about your company and then reading a helpful response from your company to that review. These are moments of truth along the candidate journey and should be included in your touchpoint marketing.

Finally, recording touchpoints in the candidate journey is how you take your source of hire from “meh” to METRIC. Rather than identifying the final step that brought the candidate into your talent funnel or application process, it allows you to identify all steps, the number of steps, and the kind of steps that led a candidate to apply.