Recruiting, Talent

Sourcing Scorecard: What Metrics and Skills Should You Be Looking For?

Hiring talent for specific roles within the company may be an easy task for some; you simply work with the manager to find the skills and traits that would best fill the job. But what about hiring sourcers and recruiters? What skills and traits should you be looking for in candidates who will be responsible for sourcing and recruiting the talent your company needs for specific roles?


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I recently connected with various staffing professionals across the nation to find out what they look for in candidates who will be sourcing and recruiting talent for their company. Experts from a variety of industries weighed in on what skills they look for and what metrics are of most importance to them. These experts also shared a few items that are important to the industries they work for when sourcing sourcers and recruiters.

HR Daily Advisor: If you were to create a scorecard to review someone’s sourcing/recruiting ability, what skills would you look at?

“Though sourcing and recruiting are two different positions, they share a fair amount of overlap in terms of key competencies needed for successful performance,” says Jaclyn Menendez, PhD, Senior Consultant at PSI Services, a pre-employment assessment platform.

“In either role, I’d be looking for someone with outstanding communication skills and the ability to interpret information quickly,” Menendez says. “I would also want to measure the person’s time-management skills, as the best people in these roles operate well with a lot of autonomy.”

“Lastly, I’d include flexibility on that scorecard: A good recruiter should have his or her own natural approach but be willing to adapt to the candidate’s needs,” Menendez adds.

“Recruiting is a combination of many hard and soft skills. Most importantly, a great recruiter will be tuned into the company’s needs and goals,” says Jason Guggisberg, Vice President at staffing firm Adecco USA. “The person will be able to use his or her specialized knowledge of the industry to create effective job descriptions, provide context to the candidate’s skills and prior experience, and identify candidates who not only are top performers but also are a great cultural fit to the companies they are recruiting for.”

For Steve Flook, President and CEO of career-connection platform iHire, specific skills aren’t as important as metrics. “Rather than specific skills, I’d first look at metrics from the candidate’s previous sourcing experiences to gauge his or her capabilities,” he says.

“These metrics include the number of candidates contacted, candidate engagement rates, candidate slate satisfaction rating from hiring managers, and average time to fill. I’d also look at how efficiently the sourcer has used his or her pipeline (for example, how many selected applicants make it to the interview stage?).”

While metrics are more important for Flook, he still does value the skills sourcers have. “As for skills, strong communications are critical—the sourcer should be transparent with HR teams and hiring managers to set the stage for a successful overall recruiting strategy,” he says.

Tyler Cahill, People Strategy Associate at staffing firm Addison Group, goes a different route, given his credentials. Cahill serves as an Industrial Organizational (I-O) Psychologist for Addison Group and its affiliates. He also conducts personnel studies in a variety of areas related to the talent life cycle and identifies organizational development opportunities. Instead of looking at a candidate’s skills, Cahill also focuses on metrics. “If I were to create a scorecard to help review a potential hire’s sourcing ability, I would assess based on the following questions,” he says, which include:

  • How many open reqs does the candidate work in a given month?
  • What is his or her average time from opening to closing a req?
  • Does the person have experience in a variety of role levels (e.g., sourcing for an associate versus a director)?
  • Does he or she have a variety of methods to source (i.e., he or she does not just rely on LinkedIn Recruiter)?
  • What are the candidate’s ratios (phone screens to interviews, interviews to hires, hires to terms)?

HR Daily Advisor: Would you weigh any areas as more important than others?

I think the importance of communication and critical thinking go hand in hand in this role,” says Menendez. “If the end goal is to recruit and hire as many qualified candidates as possible, you need to be targeting breadth as well as depth.”

“Strong communication skills might get you a lot of bites, but those are worthless if your targets don’t display a strong fit for the role,” she adds. “Critical thinking will likely aid in finding the most qualified candidates, but without strong communication skills, those good fits may not ever respond to your initial outreach.”

“Each organization’s needs are different. Specific skills and abilities will be weighed differently for each company based on the particular needs and wants for said company,” says Guggisberg. “Generally speaking, however, the most successful recruiters are those with the strongest communication skills.”

“By nature of their jobs, recruiters need to be empathetic, good listeners, and able to effectively bridge the communication gap between employer and candidate,” Guggisberg adds. “They also need to be flexible and able to multitask in order to meet fast-paced hiring deadlines for different roles, especially in a tight labor market.”

For Flook, the ideal sourcer should be a people person with excellent customer service skills. “Relationship building; empathy; active listening; and considerate, timely communication all make the difference between a good recruiter and a great one,” he says.

“Because it’s common for recruiters and hiring managers to butt heads, it’s especially important for a candidate to view the sourcing position as a service function to others in the company,” Flook adds.

“There’s a common adage in recruiting that ‘hiring is a numbers game,’ but that’s really only a small part of the battle. When you’re asking a sourcer or recruiter about metrics and targets he or she aims to hit, it’s more important to focus on the results and rationale,” says Austen Yueh, a Technical Recruiter at LightStep, a performance monitoring application that allows apps to run more smoothly by being able to trace any issues on the back end and flag any software bug that may affect the consumer’s experience in order to proactively improve the brand’s customer experience.

“If a sourcer says he or she e-mailed 100 qualified candidates a week and got 25 responses, that’s a starting point to dig in further,” Yueh adds. “How many of those resulted in a hire? How many of them made it to various interview stages? Was this for a senior engineering role or an early-career sales development role? Did said hires work out longer term for the manager, or did they pose issues within their first 90 days?”

For Cahill, metrics are extremely important, as well. “I would suggest a company analyze its internal data to identify which metrics are the best predictor of success,” he says. “Meaning, if you have data that show top recruiters are always fast or can juggle multiple reqs, those should be weighted more than others.”

“I think every recruiter would have a bias of what he or she believes to be more important, but without data to support that belief, that bias just remains an opinion,” Cahill adds.

 HR Daily Advisor: What else would be important to you?

“Outside of production or activity metrics, a hiring manager should identify what knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) are necessary for someone to be successful,” suggests Cahill. “This can be done through a job analysis—a process that can uncover what separates your all-star employees from the average ones.”

“Once those KSAs have been identified, a hiring manager should look to structure out behavioral-based questions to identify if the candidate demonstrated the KSA in a past role or experience,” Cahill adds. “Someone who can explain how he or she had to juggle multiple priorities on a daily basis in a previous role would likely be better than someone who just says he or she likes to be organized.”

“Overall, soft skills are very important to factor in a hiring decision. I think in the next few years, you will see many organizations putting more resources into developing their employees’ soft skills, and it is becoming more of a hot trend in the world of I/O Psychology and HR,” says Cahill. “A lot of companies can leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to assist in their selection process, but AI cannot replace that personal, human connection a sourcer can make.”

For Menendez and PSI Services, it’s about first impressions and knowledge sharing. “Top sourcers and recruiters need to be seen as accessible experts,” says Menendez. “In other words, they must be clearly immersed in the field and organization that they’re hiring for but be able to disseminate information in an engaging and digestible way.”

“Your recruiters may be the initial face of the organization to a lot of candidates, and in the current war for talent, that first impression needs to be as persuasive as possible,” Menendez adds.

At Adecco, Guggisberg agrees with recruiters needing to be experts but also places an emphasis again on skills. “In order to effectively advise hiring managers and jobseekers, recruiters must have a deep understanding of the labor market, taking into account the hottest skill sets, competitive pay rates, and industry trends,” suggests Guggisberg.

“For example, knowing unemployment rates are really low but that an employer pays below the market rate, a recruiter may need to advise on wages that will attract top talent,” he adds. “Soft skills, such as being a good listener or having organizational abilities, as well as being able to problem solve, are also essential to the success of the recruiter and the company as a whole.”

At iHire, Flook values recruiters who can sell the brand effectively. “Sourcers and recruiters are similar to the sales function, except they are selling your employer brand instead of material products and services,” says Flook. “To that end, consistency and accuracy on what the workplace experience will be like are key.”

“Recruiting a new employee with misaligned expectations beyond the obvious is very frustrating for both the hiring manager and the newly onboarded employee,” he adds. “Articulating culture and workplace environment can be challenging.”

However, for Yueh and LightStep, it’s about so much more. “I’d much rather see a thoughtful sourcer who considers bigger-picture factors, such as the role and level he or she is hiring for, the number of roles that need to be filled, how busy or active the hiring manager is, and the industry and stage of the company he or she is trying to fill,” Yueh says. “Recruiters often get a bad rap. Taking each hiring manager’s or client’s situation into account, as well as his or her ultimate goals for results, goes a long way in building trust.”

When it comes to sourcing and recruiting your talent acquisition professionals, there are a variety of hard and soft skills you should be on the lookout for, as well as particular metrics that show what these candidates are capable of. But one thing is clear: It really just depends on the industry you’re recruiting in. Hiring sourcers for tech roles is going to require different metrics and skills than hiring recruiters in the banking industry. Either way, keep these insights in mind the next time you need to hire talent acquisition professionals.

Shout out to Matt O. from the Facebook group “Recruiting Leaders” for the inspiration. Hope you find this information valuable, as well!