“The holistic approach to KPIs is this: If you want to improve in a certain area of your business, then you need to measure it — and track those measurements over time.”
Gaston Wilder, Senior Managing Partner at Full Spectrum Search Group, advocates for using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in every aspect of the recruiting business — as he has done to drive success with his own team of experienced recruiters.
As a managing partner, Wilder manages a team of executive recruiters on a day-to-day basis and ensures Full Spectrum’s four departments are running cohesively. In his three years with the industry-leading search firm, Wilder has helped pinpoint the right KPIs to help cultivate success for his team.
“The most important thing that we focus on is growth and revenue, which means we track candidate placements above all else,” Wilder said. For the recruiters at Full Spectrum, Wilder zeroes in on calls, candidates, submissions, and placements. From there, he creates ratios tied to submissions — including calls-to-submission and calls-to-placement.
Forbes defines KPIs as tools which “measure the goals of the business against actual, quantifiable data over a specified period.”
Building on this definition, Wilder emphasizes the importance of tracking quantitative data over a set period of time. “With less than six months of data, you won’t have enough to analyze because the recruiting business fluctuates day in and day out,” Wilder said. “Until you have enough of a data set, you can’t get a true sense of what your benchmarks need to be.”
To hone the KPIs that drive your business, Wilder recommends starting at the heart of your company mission. For Full Spectrum, the driving KPI is placements — but there is a larger motivating force behind the numbers.
“We’re in the long-term care business,” said Wilder. “More placements, for us, means helping our clients hire top-tier professionals to better serve their organizations, teams, and, ultimately, the residents,”
“We measure success in helping clients find the best personnel who are most aligned with their company goal” he added.
No matter what your business model, KPIs are a powerful tool for understanding success and failure at an individual, department, and organization-level. As Wilder aptly said: “The data will tell you the right story.”
Read on to learn more about Wilder’s finely-tuned approach to finding recruiting success through KPIs.
How do you use KPIs in the day-to-day management of your recruiting team?
We use KPIs to measure the daily progress our team is making. Over a period of time, we’ve developed benchmarks for all of our categories — and we make sure that the recruiting team knows what those benchmarks are on a day to day basis. This gives them a daily target to hit.
Some of the main KPIs we track are: calls, candidates, submissions, and placements, and all ratios that are tied to submissions. We track the number of interviews and — ultimately — placements.
So for example: How many calls does it take for our team to send one candidate to the client — or calls-to-submission ratio? How many calls does it take for our team to get one first interview? How many calls does it take for our team to make a placement?
Some of the most important ratios are calls-to-submission and calls-to-placement — which we look at on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. You can essentially take any category and develop your own ratio.
Can you speak to the value you’ve found in using KPIs as a driving factor in your management style?
I’m a big believer in the idea that numbers don’t lie. When you are trying to reach certain goals in a sales environment, you have to track the numbers — and you have to make decisions based on those numbers.
In every area of your life, you’ve tracked KPIs, whether you know it or not.
For example, your car has a dashboard: The dashboard tells you all the areas of your car and how they are doing. Whether you are aware of it or not, your gas gauge reading low is a KPI. So, the dashboard is a place you can go to make sure your car is running on all cylinders at all times.
It’s the same concept in recruiting: You have to understand what your KPI numbers are. Next, develop metrics and hold the team accountable for those metrics. By looking at what individuals are doing on a day-to-day basis, we’re able to just gauge how their desk is looking versus how they want it to look.
If you want to measure how well something is doing over time, you have to track it. To start, it’s vital to track numbers over time so that you can see patterns.
How do you use KPIs to communicate success or trends to stakeholders?
The purpose of KPIs is to track how the individual desk is doing on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. All of those measurable items equate to one thing: revenue. Every stakeholder wants to see where the revenue is going to be in the future.
If some of the KPIs we track are under-goal, what are we doing to increase those? How can we show stakeholders progress we are making in certain areas?
KPIs are designed to forecast the future in this business. Everything runs 45 to 60 days behind. So, your success today will show in the results of 45 to 60 days down the road.
Speaking of forecasting: Let’s say that a recruiter has a revenue goal per month of $100,000 in billing and an average fee of $10,000 per invoice. Doing the math, they need to have ten placements a month in order to hit 100k.
Now, let’s say that that individual averages seven submissions per placement. For every placement that they make, they have to send seven submissions. If they want to make ten placements a month, will they need to have 70 submissions per month in order to make sure they are on track to bill $100,000.
If you know that number — seven submissions equals one placement or that they need to hit 70 submissions for 10 placements to build $100,000 — the only thing that person is focused on is their submissions category. They need to say, “I need 70 submissions that month.” Check in 15 days through the month: If it’s between 30 and 40 submissions, then you can gauge that they are going to hit their billing goal.
It’s really important to make sure the individual doing the work is looking at their KPIs on a daily basis. It cannot be something that you put in the corner. It needs to be something that is in their face — absolutely on a monthly and weekly basis, but on a daily basis if possible.
In this business, it is very easy for a bad day to turn into a bad week, which turns into a bad month, which turns into a bad year. If you are noticing, say, three days in a row, you have had bad numbers in this section of my KPIs — maybe you should stop and get some help there. Or maybe you should look into that before the problem escalates.
It’s vital to share KPIs with the person that is managing that recruiter so they can also help catch those trends as well.
Any advice you can share with other recruiters looking to incorporate KPIs into their process?
First of all, you have to get an understanding of what are the important categories that lead you to an end goal. At our firm, the end goal is placements, which turn into revenue. We’ve developed the categories that lead to placements.
If you are just starting out in recruiting, or you want to start developing the KPIs, you need to identify what those categories are for you.Then, track them for a minimum of six months.
With less than six months of data, you won’t have enough to build off of — because the recruiting business fluctuates day in and day out. You can have a good month, followed by a bad month, followed by a good month, and so on. Until you have enough of a data set or samples, you can’t get a true sense of really what your benchmarks need to be.
To recap: develop the categories that are going to lead to revenue, track them on a day-to-day basis for a minimum of six months — ideally a year. The data will tell you the right story.
Do you use KPIs to track your own success in recruiting and managing?
Yes, I definitely use KPIs to track searches that I am running and my management duties, as well as how my desk is doing.
I typically track in the form of individual, department, and company KPIs. Every department that we have has its own set of KPIs that each individual person is held accountable to.
Let’s say the recruiting department, for example, has four areas we track on the individual desk-level per person. We can also track that KPI on the department level. So, let’s say that call volume per individual is 100 a day. If we’ve got five recruiters, the department benchmark should be 500 calls per day.
As far as forecasting from a company perspective: If you’re able to develop benchmarks and KPIs in every department per individual, then at the department level, you can get an idea on the success they are having on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. All of this then ties to revenue forecasting 30, 60, 90,120 days down the line.
Do you use KPIs for anything outside of recruiting?
Absolutely. We use KPIs in areas that we don’t even realize — one of them being your bank account. If you’re not, you might not be on top of your personal finances.
The concept of KPIs is: If there is any area of your life that you want to improve, you have to be able to measure it, right? What is it today versus what it will be in 30 days — or what was it 30 days ago? If you don’t know what it is today, there’s no way to know if you’re improving in a certain area. You have to track it.
To learn more about Gaston and the whole Full Spectrum Search Group Team, click here.