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2 Key Metrics You Should Ask Your Executive Recruiter

The ultimate goal of working with an Executive Recruiter to fill your key hire is to place the best candidate as quickly as possible. Yet many recruiters have decided to focus on things that don’t really measure success against that goal. A ton of extra, sales-type metrics have crept in: calls made, emails sent, resumes received—these are simply a means to an end. And while it’s certainly acceptable to track these activities, it’s not okay to define success by these metrics.

At the end of the day, you don't care about those metrics. At best, they are excuses (“Look at all the activity I did!”) that only come up when the recruiter you've hired is not placing candidates quickly. There’s a difference between working and getting the job done. Activity does not equal productivity. Ultimately, how effective and efficient the recruiter is at placing candidates defines their success—not how much effort it takes. The two key metrics to uncover a recruiter's effectiveness and efficiency are the Placement Rate (PR) and Days to Placement (DTP) , respectively.

Simplicity is key

Determining Placement Rate is as simple as asking a yes or no question: Was a placement made? Either the recruiter sourced and placed a candidate, there was an internal hire, or the recruiter was let go. Placement Rate is calculated as follows:

Placement Rate = Total Placements / Total Projects

Average Days to Placement measures how long – on average – it takes to make a placement. It’s calculated as follows:

Days to Placement = Total Days of Placed Projects / Total Placed Projects

These two simple metrics offer a true measurement of effectiveness and efficiency. Asking an Executive Recruiter what their PR and DTP are goes a long way in determining if they'll actually be able to help with your search.

Evaluating an Executive Recruiter Based on Their Response

Let's say you're a software company and you're looking for a new VP of Marketing. You ask a few Executive Recruiters for help and ask each what their PR and DTP are for similar searches.

Let's say one responds with an answer like "Based on 31 placements similar to your project, our average Days to Placement is 86 days. Our Placement Rate for this type of search is 94%." This response not only lets you know that they have a track record of success, but also indicates that they use data as the true measurement of performance. It may seem radical, but in reality, it is simply focusing on the right metrics.

Let's now say another recruiter responds with an answer like "Somewhere between three and six months." A response like this one doesn't convey any meaningful information about whether the recruiter can actually do the work. Even worse, it can also indicate that they have a lax attitude towards tracking performance.

Quantifying Your Risk

These two key metrics also help quantify your risk. Filling a key hire is time consuming, and because it is an important role, any delay represents a substantial cost to your company.

Our Executive Search Performance Benchmark Report examined over 23,000 retained search projects and found that the industry average PR is 71% and the industry average DTP is 123 days. Finding an Executive Recruiter that can beat these averages represents a savingsone that can more than make up for the search fee.

Using a recruiter that performs average or below can be a disaster. Consider that on average there is a 29% chance of no placement. Also keep in mind that DTP represents the days to placement. Too often, failing search projects linger on for months beyond the average DTP. You cannot afford to hire an underperforming recruiter. And after they fail, you then have to go through the process again, on average another 123 days with a 71% success rate.

A Warning When Shopping for an Executive Recruiter

Speaking of finding an Executive Recruiter, here is a word of caution when using these metrics to compare different recruiters. Make sure the PR and DTP are for the same search criteria as the role you need filled. Successful Executive Recruiters, especially retained search firms, specialize. For example, they're good at finding a VP of Sales for manufacturing companies in the Midwest. Sure, their PR and DTP is great, but does it match the type of search you're looking to do? Make sure you're asking for these metrics specific to the Industry, Seniority, Department, Company Stage, and Region of your search.

The Clockwork Consulting Group, through our Find-A-Recruiter service, has identified thousands of  of successful Executive Recruiters across these criteria. Contact us and we'll help you find several of the best Executive Recruiters with a proven track record in your specific needs that you can choose from. Get a head start at quickly filling your key hire with a great candidate today.