Source of influence or source of hire?

I’ve been thinking quite a lot recently about source of hire. It’s one of the most common statistics that gets measured and reported. The reports that I see tend to indicate that social media is fairly low on the list of source of hire. Well below the career site or the job boards. When you look at the numbers you have to consider if all this social activity and investment is really worth it. I’ve had the conversation twice today alone, and with some fairly big corporate clients.
The problem with the source of hire measures is that they are usually based on the last click a candidate made before they applied. It’s really a guide as to how effective your application process is, the appeal of your headlines and how cumbersome it is to submit your application. Thats why I’m interested in matrix like the ratios on how many complete the application process from first click. The time it takes to apply, anything that shows me the application process is working. When the source of hire numbers are in, it’s usually this that gets reported.The last click. not the first.

The problem as I see it is that there’s often a lot of interaction before that final click. I want to know where the candidate journey starts. They start as a voyeur, just looking around. Perhaps they started to see your employer branding content on one of the main channels. Maybe they followed you on twitter and clicked on a few links. Watched a few videos and viewed the pictures on Flickr of your latest events. Perhaps they joined your fanpage and liked what they saw. Wherever it starts, I want to track that journey. My real interest is in the source of influence where the hiring journey starts. What are they looking at that convinces them to make the commitment and apply. I want to know how effective all the content is, which means tracking the whole journey to see what is really effective, and not just the last click. The same is true of referral candidates. Is it the final job they get sent before applying, or all the content the referer has shared before that makes them apply? It’s something you have to consider.

When Michael Long of Rackspace delivered his excellent keynote at #TNLive in Austin a few weeks ago, he spoke of how the people who visited their culture site, RackerTalent, before applying for a job, were 65% more likely to be successful than those whose first port of call is the career site and ATS. In the case of Rackspace, there’s a destination that can be tracked, but what about for everyone else?

Theres a few places you can start. Like tracking everyone who follows you on twitter or fans your page. Tracking and recording who is liking your content, engaging or commenting, and seeing where they end up. It is important data to track the whole source of influence to know what is working. Where the influence starts and ends.

Followers of this blog will know that I favour a talent network approach. There’s a place for community, but using talent network technology enables anyone to register their interest in following you with one click. To get very relevant updates without the need to apply or complete forms. A good talent network uses open authorisation and data from the LinkedIn profile to tag interested parties, enabling very relevant communications, invites to take part in events, view content etc. It also means you can track the first point of attraction over application, by offering the opportunity to sign up with one click. The challenge is identifying where the journey starts, an understanding of the source of influence and not just source of application.