It’s no secret that talent acquisition is directly correlated with the effectiveness of your business.
Practice effective talent acquisition, and do so consistently and efficiently, and your business will perform better. You’ll have better people in better positions, so you can operate more productively.
There are plenty of metrics that can help you track your talent acquisition effectiveness, but how can we quantify this relationship?
How can we track our talent acquisition effectiveness in a way that helps us contextualize our momentum and motivate better decision making?
The answer is with hiring velocity.
But what exactly is it and how do we measure it?
What Is Hiring Velocity?
Hiring velocity attempts to measure how fast and consistently you’re hiring new people in a given framework of time. We measure this by comparing the number of positions we’ve filled to the number of positions we’ve opened over a given time; as a result, we’ll typically have a positive or negative number that tells us the direction of our momentum and how significant that momentum is.
As an example, let’s say your business has opened 50 new positions this month. You’ve also filled 60 positions this month. We subtract 50 from 60, giving us a hiring velocity of +10. Because this number is positive, it indicates forward momentum; we’re ultimately filling more positions than we’re opening, which is great for the business. A hiring velocity of +10 is better than +1, but not as good as, say, +20 or +30.
Now pretend we’ve opened 50 new positions this month, but we’ve only filled 40. We subtract 50 from 40 to get a hiring velocity of -10. This indicates that our momentum is negative, as we’re opening more positions than we’re filling. This is not sustainable, since if we continue this momentum, it’s only a matter of time before we have so many open positions that the company can’t operate effectively.
Hiring Velocity vs. Time to Hire
Hiring velocity is often confused with time to hire, but these are two different metrics.
Both hiring velocity and time to hire attempt to measure how fast you’re hiring new people, but you’re measuring different things in different contexts.
Time to hire effectively allows you to track how much time it takes you to fill a single position. On an individual level, this can help you determine how effective you’re recruiting and hiring strategies were. On a broad level, your average time to hire can help you identify potential issues with your recruiting and hiring strategies.
But hiring velocity is more interested in broad trends and the overall direction of your company. It’s much more important for making high-level decisions and determining where your business is headed in the future.
Why Hiring Velocity Matters
Why is hiring velocity so important?
- High-level momentum analysis. For starters, this single metric can give you a snapshot of the momentum of hiring in your business. Instead of being forced to take a granular look at individual hiring events, you can step back and determine whether your business is on track for improvement or whether it’s suffering from hiring sluggishness.
- Coordination of placement and demand. Few hiring metrics can help you coordinate placement and demand so successfully. With one number, you can understand the relationship between your hiring processes and your new job openings. Are you sufficiently fulfilling demand or are you lagging behind?
- Accurate projecting and predicting. Though you’ll probably want to look at other metrics as well, hiring velocity can assist you with accurate projecting and predicting. Is your company on track to fill all your new open positions in a reasonable amount of time? Or are inefficient hiring and recruiting processes putting your company into a death spiral?
- Evaluation of strategic strengths. You’ll likely implement new hiring and recruiting strategies regularly, so studying changes in your hiring velocity can help you understand how those new strategies are performing. If you’re hiring velocity increases after launching a new strategy or incorporating a new tool or process, you can rest assured it’s working. If it remains the same or goes down, you should take a critical look at the recent changes you’ve made and potentially reverse them.
How to Measure Hiring Velocity
Calculating hiring velocity manually isn’t especially difficult, as long as you’re working with easily accessible and small numbers. All you have to do is subtract the number of open positions in a given period of time from the number of filled positions, as we did in our earlier example. This is typically measured weekly or monthly, but you can measure it for any interval of time.
At scale, it’s much easier and more effective to measure hiring velocity using technology. Various HR platforms are natively equipped with features that automate the calculation of hiring velocity and provide reports for your perusal.
How to Improve Hiring Velocity
Measuring your hiring velocity is a great first step to take, but if you want to make an actual difference in your business, you’ll need to find a way to improve your hiring velocity. The higher your hiring velocity is, the better you’re recruiting and hiring momentum is.
So how do we pump those rookie numbers up?
Tap Into Better Sources
Your first step is to tap into better sources for finding new recruits.
If you know who you’re looking for, and you can find out which channels those people are most likely to use, you can shift your job advertising and recruiting strategy to favor them.
These are some strategies that can help you:
- Use data to fuel your decisions. Oftentimes, poorly developed recruiting strategies focus on an intuitive approach. You target only the channels that immediately make sense to you, or you try to advertise your jobs and recruit people on as many platforms as possible. This big, shotgun blast approach can work decently, but if you want to push your hiring velocity further, you need to make decisions based on objective data. Which channels and platforms are most likely to be used by the people you’re targeting? And how do you know this for sure?
- Pay attention to source-specific hiring rates. Using your HR analytics platform, pay close attention to hiring rates for specific sources. Which sources seem to produce the highest number of job applicants? Which ones are correlated with the greatest number of new hires? These are your most valuable sources, and you should increase your budgeting for them and your attention for them accordingly.
- Weed out sources with high levels of dropouts. Conversely, it’s important to weed out any sources that seem to be associated with high levels of dropouts. How many people abandon the application process when originating from this source? If the number of dropouts grows high enough, you can disregard the source entirely.
Improve Your Job Descriptions
It could also be helpful to improve your job descriptions.
Accurate, interesting job descriptions increase your number of applicants and increase the probability that these applicants will follow through the hiring process.
These are some of the best specific tactics to employ here:
- Focus on your specific audience. Think carefully about what this job is and who it’s for. Which demographics are you targeting, how much experience do they have, and what’s most important to them in a job? You need to keep your job description as accurate as possible, but you also want to describe it in a way that appeals to the type of person you want for the job.
- Use nongendered language. This is a simple step, but an important one: use nongendered language throughout all your job applications. Gendered pronouns like he or she are technically correct when used in third person, but if you only use one of these pronouns, you could end up alienating 50 percent of your potential audience. This effect may be small, but at scale, it can make a big difference in the number of applicants you receive.
- Be concise. You should strive to be as concise as possible when wording your job descriptions. Nobody wants to spend an hour wading through paragraph after paragraph of repetitive task descriptions; instead, a person should understand the gist of the role in less than a minute. Don’t include unnecessary information.
- Use clear, everyday language. Leave the technical jargon off the table. You may expect the person you’re attempting to hire to be familiar with this jargon, but it’s still going to overcomplicate the application process. Instead, you should focus on using clear, everyday language. Your goal is to make this job description quick and easy to understand for as many people within your target demographics as possible.
- Emphasize your unique culture. These days, more people are choosing companies to work for based on the culture and environment that’s available. Obviously, they’re going to think about their own skills and experience, the fit of the job, the salary and benefits, and other factors, but it’s important to avoid neglecting or leaving out aspects of your company culture. Let your applicants know what kind of company they’re going to be working for.
- Have some fun. The job application and hiring process is a bit of a slog for everyone involved. You can make things lighter, more accessible, and more appealing by having a bit of fun with your job descriptions. Injecting some levity and possibly a couple of jokes can instantly make your job applications more appealing to recruits who may be tired with repetitive and formulaic applications they’ve seen hundreds of times.
Hiring velocity is, to an extent, a time-bound metric.
Accordingly, you can increase it by accelerating certain phases of the hiring process. One of the most fertile grounds for improvement is usually screening, the process of weeding out bad fits and approving good fits for the next stage of recruitment.
There are several things that can help you here. You can set more specific, easily discernible criteria for approval and rejection. You can make the phases of your recruitment process cleaner and more consistent. You can even set more aggressive deadlines and timelines for the hiring staff making these decisions.
The bottom line is that you must find a way to accelerate the screening process.
Automate What You Can
There’s no way to completely eliminate human, manual effort from your hiring and recruiting strategies.
But it’s important to eliminate whatever you can.
Adopting automation over manual effort can increase your hiring speed, improve consistency, and reduce your expenses at the same time. While automation isn’t always perfect, it’s highly useful for repetitive manual tasks, such as:
- Application acceptance and review. Automate the application acceptance and review process as much as you can. Use AI to determine which candidates are the best fits for your open positions and take some of the burden off your staff members.
- Enable self-scheduling for interviews. It’s not an AI doing the work here; instead, you’ll automate the process by putting the burden on new applicants. Have all your new applicants schedule their own interviews. It’s faster, easier for most parties, and it should result in a much more streamlined interview process.
- Data analytics and reporting. You can also automate most aspects of your data analytics and reporting strategy. It’s important to keep a close eye on how your HR department is performing – but that doesn’t mean you need to crunch all the numbers by hand or generate all your reports manually. Set it up to run without manual intervention.
Instill Decisiveness and Autonomy
Finally, work to instill more decisiveness and autonomy in your HR staff.
Decisiveness is important because it practically eliminates decision procrastination. Decisive leaders within the department know what they’re looking for, and they don’t have qualms about approving or rejecting candidates at various stages of the hiring process. Once you have established criteria for what constitutes a successful hire, you need to start pushing those successful hires through as quickly as possible.
Autonomy is also important to make your HR team feel empowered to make decisions in ambiguous situations or make changes to your recruitment process on the fly. This can be risky, but if your HR department is full of competent people you trust, autonomy is strictly a good thing.
The Bottom Line
With better hiring velocity, your organization will be more agile, more consistent, and eventually, more profitable.
But optimizing your recruiting and hiring efforts is hard – at least, when you’re doing it entirely alone.
That’s why we’re here – to make it easy.
So, contact us today for more information or a free analysis of your existing strategies!
Ryan has served in the Staffing and Recruiting industry for over 10 years. As an independent recruiter and business owner Ryan partners with decision-makers to attract, hire, and attain top-tier professionals to succeed and grow their companies. Ryan consistently implements new tools to help the needs of both clients and candidates until they are satisfied. With years of direct experience and knowledge from scaling and disrupting other major global industries. If you don't see Ryan with his family he is hard at work finding the right fit for your organization's open roles.
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