525,600 Minutes: How do you measure a year?

sue-keever-wattsSue Keever Watts
Owner, The Keever Group
Blog: http://keevergroup.wordpress.com/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/sue-keever-watts/0/aa/b60
Twitter: @SueKeever

“Seasons of Love” is a song from the wildly successful Broadway hit, Rent. It’s sung at the funeral of one of the characters and asks the question, how do you measure a year of life? According to the Gregorian calendar year, there are 525,600 minutes in a year. Now that we’re coming to the end of 2013, it’s time to ask, how and what are you measuring?

I find that in business, numbers matter more than anything else. What’s your cost per hire? What’s your interview to hire ratio? What’s your time to fill? While I appreciate the straightforward nature of statistics, they do little to inspire action and even less to answer the question of why? Why did one of your top candidates accept your offer? Why did another reject your offer? Why were you more successful at one of your target campuses than another?

Your employer brand continues to be the greatest weapon in your recruiting arsenal. It’s intended to answer the question of why – why would a talented student want to join your organization over any other? To gauge an employer brand, you have to be able to measure the intangible. It’s hard to quantify feelings, but it isn’t impossible. Here are five tips for measuring a year in the life of your campus recruiting team:

  1. Establish a vision: Statistics reward short-term thinking. And, we all know that recruiting a student is a four-year proposition. If you’re truly looking to impact your presence on campus, you have to create a vision. Your vision is what it will look like when your employer brand is relevant, memorable, engaging and desirable to students on each of your target campuses. It’s the vision that gets people excited. Be certain that leadership and your campus team members are fully aware of your long-term vision.
  2. Create a roadmap: Clarify exactly what you want students to say about your organization. Describe what you want students to feel after they’ve been interviewed. State what you want students to tell others about your company and the people who work there. Be clear, be specific, and don’t make it complicated. Your vision is about creating a feeling and backing it up with a positive experience.
  3. Get people onboard: You have to make certain that leadership and your team believes the journey is worth the effort. Describe what will happen when your vision becomes a reality. A vision is aspirational in nature; however, it has to be something that people believe they can achieve. Describe the many benefits of creating and maintaining a strong and desirable employer brand. Don’t underestimate the power it will have on every aspect of your organization. A strong employer brand is a corporate asset.
  4. Measure what matters: Quantitative research will tell you how many, but qualitative research will tell you why. I advocate using both. Analyze your numbers, but don’t stop there. Conduct focus groups of interns, new hires, and students on your target campuses. If you send out surveys, be certain to include open-ended questions to gather qualitative responses. And, ask each of your team members to record anecdotal feedback throughout the recruiting season.
  5. Expand your reporting: It’s great to be able to announce that you’ve reduced your cost-per-hire by 10 percent. It thrills the accountants. But, it gives people an emotional boost to learn that you hired the top candidate on one of your campuses because of how your organization treated her throughout the job search process.

As humans, we’re both analytical and emotional. So when it comes to measuring your year, report what you did, but be sure to add how you made them feel.