Measuring Recruitment Marketing Success.

By Paul Quinn, © 2003.


One of the biggest failings in the marketing efforts of recruitment agencies is that most neglect to accurately measure the results of their marketing activities. The reason for this failure varies. Some agencies aren't sure how or what to measure, some believe they don't have the resources or know-how to measure, and others appear to believe that recruitment marketing activities can't be measured.

In this two part series about measuring recruitment marketing success, we will discuss three critical issues - (i) why you should measure the results of your marketing efforts, (ii) what information you should be measuring, and finally, (iii) how you should go about implementing an effective measurement system.

Why Measure?

In the present economic environment where a cautious approach to marketing expenditure is the norm, it is imperative that recruitment agencies operate an effective marketing measurement system. An effective marketing measurement system provides agencies with vital decision making information which can be used to streamline operations and positively impact the bottom line.

The fact remains that marketing is seen by many as an expensive overhead. In measuring the results of your recruitment marketing efforts the whole dynamic changes. You can clearly show how your marketing expense has impacted the organisation using 'hard' data.

The benefits of establishing a marketing measurement program include:

Understand what works and maximise ROI. Develop a clear picture of what mediums provide you with the highest number of quality candidates or the greatest number of new client leads.

Assess marketing experiments. Use hard data to determine the impact of running an advert weekly instead of fortnightly, or to help assess a trial period of advertising in a new publication or Internet job board.

Assist in media buying negotiations. Arm yourself with information on the exact quantity and quality of candidates sourced from a particular media source to ensure you understand the true value of your media spend.

Help set marketing budgets. Take a more strategic approach to budget setting by apportioning your limited marketing dollars to the marketing programs which deliver the best results.

Assess training effectiveness. Understand what impact initiatives such as consultant copywriting training can have on candidate response rates.

Set and measure marketing KPIs. Use hard data to set and measure performance targets. Eg. Increase placements that result directly from your corporate website by 25% within a six month period.

Justify your spend. Use factual information to document your argument to Directors or to other departments within your company that your spending plan is sound.

In short, a well designed marketing measurement program will help ensure that you are spending your marketing budget wisely and will also help you identify the most efficient and effective ways to attract quality candidates and clients.

What to measure?

Once you have decided to implement a marketing measurement system, the next step lies in deciding which variables to measure.

Which variables you measure is normally dictated by the specific goals you have set in your marketing strategy. For example, your marketing strategy may specify that, in order to achieve financial targets, your agency needs to attract 800 new candidate applications each month and place at least 1 in 40 of these applicants. In this example you would need to ensure that your marketing measurement system tracks both the number and quality of candidate applications received from each media source.

At a minimum, recruitment agencies should be performing 'media source' tracking - a measure of the effectiveness of their candidate and client attraction techniques. Media source tracking is explained in more detail below:

Typical Criteria:

Media source effectiveness

Candidate Marketing:

Total media costs divided by the results per media source.

Results can be broken down into:
  • The number of job applications received per source,
  • The number of interviews conducted per source,
  • The number of placements made per source.

  • What media source yields the best quality candidates? 2,000 applications per month from an Internet job board may sound impressive, but how many of these candidates were interviewed and converted into placements?

  • How does the effectiveness of each media source differ depending on the:
    • Skill level sought?
    • Location of role?
    • Seniority of role?

Client Marketing:

Number of new client requisitions received per media source.

Measure, for example, whether a client-targeted advert in the Financial Review yields more new requisitions than an investment in e-mailing a client newsletter to your current client base.


In addition to measuring media source effectiveness, there are other areas of marketing performance that can and should be measured. For example, brand-building activities such as sponsorships or print ad campaigns are often high spend areas that should be tracked. Measurement of these activities is typically achieved by engaging a market research firm to measure brand recall and awareness. Such research will usually measure the level of prompted and unprompted recall and awareness of your brand name and logo amongst your target market before and after each branding campaign is performed. In doing this you will build a clear picture of what impact specific marketing campaigns have had on raising your profile amongst your target audience.

Now that we have established the reasons why you should measure the results of your marketing efforts, and discussed some of the key metrics to track in your measurement program, in the next issue of Boost we will continue our discussion and examine the steps you can take to set up an effective marketing measurement system in your agency.


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