Measuring Recruitment Marketing Success.

By Paul Quinn, © 2003


In the first article of this series, we discussed why you should measure the results of your marketing efforts and what information you should be looking to measure. In the second and final article in this series, we discuss how you should go about implementing an effective marketing measurement system.

How to measure marketing success

Without doubt, the easiest way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing activities is to capture information about how your clients and candidates came into contact with your agency at the point of initial contact. For example, when candidates apply for a role with your agency, it should be mandatory for them to answer a question such as "Where did you first see this job being advertised?" In phrasing the question in this way you correctly record applicants that, for instance, may have seen your advert in the newspaper but decided to apply via your website or via e-mail. In doing this the credit for attracting the candidate goes to the medium that initially enticed each candidate to the role. Ideally, this information should be recorded directly into your candidate database when the candidate contacts your agency for the first time.

Below is a report (using fictitious data) that illustrates the type of information that can be produced as a result of capturing 'media source' information:

Sample report:

Media Source Effectiveness - Candidates
In answer to: "Where did you first see this job being advertised?"

Period: 1st to 28th February 2003

Media Source
Candidate Applications
Candidate Interviews
Candidate Placements
Media Cost Per Placement
Daily Telegraph:
Our website:
$104 **
Word of mouth:
Banner ads (on Yahoo!):

Please note that the data used in this table is purely fictitious and is displayed for sample purposes only. ** "Our Website" costs should include site building, hosting, maintenance and promotion costs.

Measuring ROI for Candidate Marketing Activities

It's one thing to know what media source attracts the majority of your placements, but this information is even more useful when analysed in conjunction with the cost of advertising in a particular medium.

In the fictitious table above you can see that although the Daily Telegraph attracts the second most number of placements, the Telegraph's 'cost per placement' is $1,500 as opposed to $104 per placement for the agency's corporate website. In this case, Management might decide to reduce their Telegraph spend in favour of driving more traffic to their own website (although consideration should also be given to the additional benefits newspaper advertising may provide such as access to passive job seekers or raising the brand awareness of your agency). By measuring 'cost per placement' data, you can begin to make more informed decisions in situations where you need to either cut back or invest more in your current candidate attraction strategies.

Once your measurement system is established, you may also wish to consider developing reports that show you which media source delivers the highest number of 'quality' candidates for various role types or locations. For example, you may find that the Internet is more effective for filling customer service roles and that the Sydney Morning Herald provides better quality candidates for sales roles.

Measuring ROI for Client Marketing Activities

Think about this - does your currently agency measure which marketing activities are the most effective in attracting new clients? A simple question, but unfortunately most recruitment managers don't measure this would probably have to rely on 'gut feel' to answer.

To capture this information, a client's answer to the question "How did you hear about us?" should always be recorded in your client database. By understanding whether word of mouth, cold calling, print advertising, public relations activities, your website, or some other marketing activity is most effective in attracting new clients, you are armed with vital information to help plan your next new business development campaign.

The next step is to analyse the value of each new client by reviewing their impact on current and potential sales, and identifying any correlations between the media source that attracted them. For example, are clients who are referred to you by their colleagues of higher value to you than clients who respond to a direct mail piece? Such information, when collected accurately and consistently over a long period, becomes a goldmine of marketing information that can be used to help your organisation both reduce costs and increase efficiencies.

Tips and Traps

In establishing your marketing measurement system there a number of actions that you can take to increase the accuracy and reliability of your data. Below are some tips to help you along the way:

Include all options. It is important to remember that marketing measurement should be applied to all aspects of the marketing mix - not just advertising. That means that candidates and clients should be asked to specify the way they heard about your agency from a list of all conceivable options. You may also like to include an "Other" field so clients and candidates can type in an option that you may not have already thought of.

Be specific. Vague multiple-choice answers like "Internet" can skew your results. For example, does "Internet" mean a job board, a corporate website, or a lead from a search engine such as Google? Ensure you offer candidates and clients clear and specific options.

Media-specific e-mail addresses or reference numbers. Use media-specific e-mail addresses in job adverts to help the tracking process. For example: or Another variation on this is to use media-specific job reference numbers (eg. add the letters "TA" to the front of your job reference number for all advertised jobs in the The Australian newspaper).

Make it mandatory in all web-based application forms for clients and candidates to tell you how they heard about your agency. Some systems will even automate the process of entering information from web-based forms directly (and correctly) into your database. If you don't have an automated data entry process, ensure that it is mandatory for your staff to enter this information into your database.

Share results. It is important to distribute a high level overview of the results of your measurement system to your front line staff. In doing so you help them become more effective recruiters by aiding their understanding of what media sources work best for certain types of roles. You also help avoid potential disappointment or resentment when an under performing media channel gets cut from the advertising mix. And finally, in sharing results you reinforce a management ethos to staff members that is focused on maximising operational efficiencies.

Develop, review, refine

Whilst it is true that the impact of some marketing activities are more difficult to measure and define than others, there is still an element of science that can be applied to measuring the results of any marketing initiative. The first step is to develop a measurement system that works for you and is simple to maintain. The next step is to ensure that you review the data on a periodic basis and refine your marketing efforts accordingly. In short, it pays to remember the old adage, "You can't manage what you don't measure."

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