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 managers who learnt how to do recruitment back in the days when the kind of training you can buy from the REC was still relevant.

But as we know, when it comes to change, the recruitment agency sector moves slowly unless that change is cheap to implement. Then they move quickly. And change in the wider recruitment world has been remorseless these past 20 years.

That same lack of awareness coupled with 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. Getting one of them to do anything different 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 are 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.
4. They’re the product of weak managers who don’t know what to do with the information and who only know one way of filling jobs.

There are a lot more ways to win business these days and generally that means hiring different types of recruiters with different skills. Skills other than making 50 vacuous cold calls a week to people who already think an agency’s service is generally somewhat random, ad-hoc and difficult to predict. Skills like boolean, marketing and writing.

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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