4 Ways to Measure ROI + Metrics of Social Media Recruiting…

Jessica Lee HR Technology, Jessica Lee, Recruiting, Social Media

We’re all trying to step up our game with social media, whether it’s recruiting, knowledge transfer/management or otherwise. Here’s my struggle though: to get buy in for social recruiting, some of you probably need some metrics to build a business case and show the ROI, right? Because maybe some of your old-school recruiting or HR cohorts see you on Facebook and Twitter during work hours and can’t help but to think you’re just having fun (or wasting time?), yes? Understandable. So, how do we measure social recruiting to make the case for it?

Why Social Media to Recruit?


First, let’s simplify things and get on the same page with 3 reasons to use social media for recruiting:Social media 5

  1. Find and source candidates
  2. Gather intelligence and build relationships with potential/actual candidates or communities
  3. Build/support your employment brand

There are lots of resources out there to get you started on the “how” and “what.” I liked the two lists of five social media tools for recruiting and HR pros to use in 2009 (giving you ten!) by Jennifer McClure as a starting point if you’re new to this realm. Our friend, the Social Media Headhunter, Jim Durbin, also has a good case study on how to use social media in recruiting over on ERE.net.

Measurements + Metrics.

Next, let’s think about possible metrics and measurement tools. Across different industries, methods to measure social media are growing with some interactive marketing agencies even filing patents for methods they’ve developed… and that’s promising with some parallels to social recruiting. But even now, I think that there are some basic measurements we can use:

  1. Influence. Well hot damn! You have 800 friends on Twitter. So what? Your influence, and not popularity, is what’s important and should be captured. The greater your influence in social media as a recruiter, the bigger your reach and audience and the better your company’s employment brand – but you have to be able to explain why influence is important to your chain – and once you’ve done that… Twitter influence is starting to be measured using tools like this one or Twinfluence or Twitter Grader. Facebook business pages can also be measured with some beta tools like Facebook Grader.
  2. Traffic. Influence will impact traffic, no doubt. But the goal with traffic is to specifically get eyeballs to your careers website and possibly, specific job postings (which translates into them applying for jobs, hopefully). Measure both and consider tools to track referrals in the sense of website referrals… If sharing links to job postings, a blog or your careers portal via Twitter, you may be using a URL shortener. Measure click-through stats via BudURL and Traceurl. If you have a blog separate from your corporate website, use any variety of tools from SiteMeter (basic) to Google Analytics (moderate) comScore (steroids) to track where the traffic is going after your blog. (Hat tip and thanks to Ben Gotkin of RSM McGladrey for sharing some ideas with me on his metrics for their careers blog…)
  3. Chatter. Related to both influence and traffic, you may want to measure the chatter taking place about your organization but specifically about your career opportunities, the interview/selection process and what it’s like to work there. What are people saying about you? How often are you getting link love, re-tweeted? To measure and assess the chatter, you’ll use some of the influence tools above, but you’ll also need to monitor social media and periodically audit the chatter. Monitor sites like Vault and Glassdoor. And try setting up Google Alerts or use other search tools using those boolean search strings you’re so good at putting together!
  4. Intelligence + candidate experience. This is maybe the toughest one and will be a qualitative measurement for the most part – because level of intelligence gained/quality of a candidate’s experience has much to do with intangibles and relationships – hard to measure. Whether it’s with candidates generally, candidates who become employees, or hiring managers, use focus groups or online surveys and consider asking questions related to/in support of measuring these areas (and then track it over time):
  • Recruiters – has their level of knowledge about a candidate community or industry deepened? Is being part of social media improving their ability to source/find/make good matches (because they “get” the community better)?
  • Company’s presence in social media – is it trusted? Are you part of the conversation and community or is what you do in social media just transactional? How “personal” and engaging are you online?

Of course, all these measurements aside, the proof will be in the pudding with percentage of hires you make using social media which will have to go up over time if you’re to continue social recruiting. And, when the numbers don’t support the latest and greatest network or site, then change your technique or move on… but don’t be hasty and keep in mind that when you source using social networks, you have the bonus of also establishing a presence/enhancing your employment brand and the fruits of deepening or establishing relationships through conversations.

This isn’t the social recruiting metrics bible; it’s just the starting point. A lot of the thoughts behind these measurements are courtesy of some of my in-house social media gurus who use social media for communications/public relations campaigns. Check out a social media measurement pro my gurus referred me to – Katie Paine – who has great ideas on measuring social media including this top 10 must-do items for your social media measurement to-do list.

And yes, there’s still the issue of social media’s perceived time-suck. Try using a tool like Wakoopa to initially measure the actual time/usage of Facebook, Twitter and other tools/programs. You may be able to figure out social recruiting costs based on hours spent using social media…although I’d caution about getting hung up in the hours and minutes because recall the reasons we’re using social media to recruit: to build relationships, to impact your employment brand – and the time you put into those? Priceless, wouldn’t you say?

Jump in the conversation though – how else are you measuring social media for recruiting? What have we missed?