Fast Track Recruitment

The problem with KPIs

Posted by Mitch on 30th June 2017


It would seem that most recruiters that have lost their ‘trainee’ tag don’t like KPIs.

Like most people in high-pressured jobs, they just want to be left alone.

More specifically they want to be left alone by bosses who learnt how to do recruitment back in the days when the kind of training you can still buy from The REC was still relevant. Or worse, someone with less than 5 years experience who has adopted the same management style from that same boss.

But as we know, when it comes to change, the the recruitment agency sector moves slowly. Unless that change is cheap. Then they move quickly.

And change in the recruitment world has been remorseless these past few years. That same lack of awareness and a high threshold for pain might explain why most of the agency sector has just put its head down and hoped for the best throughout the ups and downs of the past 20 years..

The big agencies aren’t ever going to change because they’re too drunk on their power and their size. Asking one of them to re-equip themselves to be able to double their profits would be like watching an oil tanker trying to do a three-point turn..

The directors of the smaller agencies have the lure of a newer car or an extension to the house to tempt them against reinvesting in some new thinking.

So, nothing significant has changed. Which brings us back to the KPI thing.

Here’s some of the problems with KPIs:

1. There’s usually too many of them.

2. They measure the wrong things. Think call numbers and client visits.

3. They’re generally not personalised to each recruiter. There are a lot more ways to win business these days. That means more hiring more recruiters with different skills. Skills other than making 50 vacuous cold calls a week to people who already think your “service” is somewhat random, ad-hoc and difficult to predict.

4. They’re the product of weak managers who don’t know what to do with the information (i.e. coach people to perform better) and who only know one way of filling jobs.

The other problem with KPIs is that the vast majority of agency recruiters don’t have anything real to sell – so that makes measuring what they’re doing even more pointless than tracking lottery numbers.

Other than that, they’re brilliant.

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