KPIs: Cash me ousside howbowdah

  • Date posted: 12 May 2017
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Now, before I’m accused of sounding like a teenager throwing a tantrum, I need to be clear: I love recruitment. I am still a recruiter today and I am not saying all KPIs are bad BUT the way that the recruitment industry on the whole treats KPIs needs to change.

When they are used incorrectly they become a demotivator, they lead to the wrong behaviour and they take Consultants further away from successful outcomes.

I know there’s a need for KPIs – I’ve been in the industry more than long enough to know that – but this need has a very definite limit. KPI’s are an INDICATOR ONLY of how healthy a recruitment desk or team is. The problem arises when too many KPI’s are monitored, when KPI’s are used to manage people (my personal bug-bear) or are based on a “one size fits all model” – a ludicrous notion.

If you don’t have a KPI system that makes sense, is tailored to the individual and desk and based on high-value outcomes, you are in for a revolt at some stage – your currently well-behaved Recruiter will go rogue on you.

This problem exists in many firms but is particularly prevalent in the large corporates, who are about as adaptable as Nigel Farage’s stance on the EU when it comes to change. Where there are deep layers of management or incompetent management, this abuse of KPIs and how they are used will continue and it is KILLING recruitment. It leads to talent leaving recruitment because it causes stress and a lack of belief.

Call times, Call volumes, CVs sent… none of these things need to be monitored, and I can’t believe they are. None of them have a direct correlation to placements made, and monitoring them can do serious harm to your brand. You know why? Because it’s not about the Micro KPI’s.

The focus should be on trigger KPI’s which are the KPI’s that directly influence the bottom line. For example, on a perm desk the critical KPI is interviews completed. I have successfully managed perm teams for many years and I can tell you now that if you train your Recruiters on how to manage quality processes their only focus needs to be number of interviews arranged. If it takes them 1 call or 100 to generate the interviews they need so be it. If they need to register 10 candidates or 1, so be it. You see you need to focus them on the result. Over time their ratios will change, their desk will change. You can’t keep everyone on the same KPI’s. Who has a team Consultants all at the exact same level of capability? Who has a raft of desks in exactly the same phase of development?

What was that?

That’s right. Nobody. Not a single agency is in that position. So why on earth would you manage everyone on the same KPI matrix?

It’s a total nonsense and it has to stop. It’s doing more damage than good.

I can tell you now that the highest performing agencies have developed a culture of success, where the focus is on the outcome and there is a total commitment to do whatever it takes to make the placement happen. This is the way forward.

So I call on you to do some soul searching.

Why are you using the KPI system you have?

If you went back on a desk tomorrow (and maybe you should) do you think you would stick to or achieve those KPIs every week?

Do you really want Recruiters focused on how many CV’s they send or call volumes? Or do you want them totally committed to getting the right result.If you had a more streamlined KPI systems wouldn’t that focus everyone’s minds? Wouldn’t that give YOU an easier job?

Wouldn’t that get you out from behind a spreadsheet and back with your team looking at how they need to evolve their skills?

Wouldn’t they feel more valued?

Wouldn’t they rate you more as a Manager?

Wouldn’t they feel good and like they’re making progress?

I promise you that while your Trainees might tolerate this now they won’t this time next year because they know by then that they don’t make sense!

So if you’re a Manager that disagrees with this I feel sorry for you, you’re dying and you don’t even know it. You’re a Recruitment Dinosaur.

If you’re a manager that wants to change and evolve then email me – I’m happy to put a group together and share some best practice on this.

And for you Recruiters reading this that are suffering from KPI-itis, please know that this isn’t recruitment as a whole. There are alternatives and if you want help we will give it to you.

Life’s too short to be miserable. Don’t settle for less than you are worth. There’s a completely different desk out there with your name on it – talk to us and we’ll show you.


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