If data drives decisions, why is it when we start a discussion about what KPI’s and metrics In sourcing, it goes sideways?

Some will say:

  • It’s too hard to measure what we do.
  • Being free to source without KPI’s is the most motivating feeling.
  • Sourcing is an art that can’t be measured.

And then you have these types of people:

  • You must be able to defend your ROI
  • Without data, there is no way to show value
  • Most leaders don’t understand what sourcers do, without data, sourcers are the first to be cut in a downturn.

I’m here to tell you, what we do in sourcing is an art, a craft, a very specific skill set, which makes it that much more critical for us to come up with metrics demonstrating the value add and ROI.

There are two (2) components of how we measure what sourcers and a sourcing team does. These actions bring the truth to the health of the pipeline funnel you are trying to create for current and future openings. These components?



Effort correlates with outcomes so when I say effort, I’m not saying to send 10k reach outs in a week. It is about finding the sweet spot number of reach outs that nets the responses need to be speaking to a particular number of people each week which you can qualify, submit, and manage in your workflow.

In my experiences as I have built out my team these are some of the data points we use.

Percentage of responses from a sourcers reach out:

If the outreach is good, it means you are targeting the right people with a compelling message, ultimately getting a desired response.

If the response rate is bad, it means you are probably spamming candidates. Need to work on your messaging/ content. LinkedIn states 33% as the average response rate for InMail’s, with this start to create some benchmark data. And yes, I know LinkedIn is not the only source nor is its data perfect, but it’s the best benchmark data we have out there. (don’t kill the messenger) If you have a good CRM, you can incorporate these metrics into your reporting.

Effort is critical and without it, there are no OUTCOMES. With every ounce of effort we make, one of the easiest outcomes to measure is Quality of candidate submitted.

How many candidates were submitted to jobs in your pipeline but more importantly, the ratio of how many were accepted by the manager. What does this mean? On paper the candidates met the requirements of the job(s) (this includes your notes, summary/ sales pitch) and are qualified. In the beginning you may set the bar low until the process and system is established. When I first established the standard, I set it at 70% acceptances (7 out of 10 candidates hit the mark) and as we got better at what we did, we increased it to 90%. The last year we hit 92%.

There are other measures you can use as your sourcing function matures and yes, I do encourage the sourcing team to measure hires. I know, as sourcers we cannot control the outcome of our candidates because we are magicians behind scenes.

But isn’t that the end game? For the whole talent acquisition team to fill open requisitions faster, cheaper, and better than before?

Sourcing may not immediately impact hires, but over time, there should be a pipeline of candidates always ready to be hired based on the efforts of the sourcing team.

If you have a good CRM, it will measure your response rate of your messages sent and measure those candidates as the proceed through the pipeline funnel ultimately making it to a “hired” status.

I know KPI’s and metrics can be intimidating, but without them, the strategic sourcing function will NEVER be fully actualized.

Remember, nothing is perfect. It may take some time to collect baseline information you can use to measure efforts and outcomes. I promise you the time to collect this will be worth it.

I have been in TA for over 20 years, it still blows my mind how our profession has never put a priority on "data", resulting in the inability to measure ROI, which is the only way to ensure the sourcing function is sustainable.
Companies need sourcing, but a “NO KPI” sourcing world will never allow the power of “Strategic Sourcing” come to reality.

As I’ve always said, "Data Drives Decisions” if you think otherwise, prove me wrong… with data.

#ihaveamilliondreams for Talent Acquisition.

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Matt Craven

He/Him Talent Acquisition Sourcing Manager PeaceHealth Matt Craven is a Manager of Sourcing in Talent Acquisition & Workforce Planning at PeaceHealth. With 23 years of experience in TA in various industries including healthcare, financial services, energy, and technology. His passion is to lead people to become better practitioners within our unique industry as TA professionals. In his spare time, Matt is spending time with his family, exploring the Pacific Northwest, hiking, kayaking, and relaxing on the beautiful beaches on the Oregon coast.