Vanity vs. Sanity – KPIs That Really Matter in Recruitment Marketing


The Recruitment Marketers I mentor are keen to demonstrate and deliver Recruitment Marketing ROI. Recruitment Leaders want them to do more than simply "colouring in". Recruitment Businesses are often known for their KPI and Scorecard cultures... but marketers are often left out of what I call "sane" KPIs, in favour of "vain" metrics. This creates even more suspicion over what marketers actually do to add value. This blog will give you some tips on what you need to measure in recruitment marketing.

The Colouring-In Department and Greg Savage

I’ve written about recruitment marketers being more than simply a colouring-in-department and the brand police.

There is often the perception that the average marketing department has lots of felt tipped pens and Canva, and is awaiting requests for another PowerPoint deck and job advert image creating.  This is exacerbated by the KPIs they have (or often don’t have) and the metrics that they measure.

You will have all heard the term:

Revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity. Cash is reality

My friend Greg Savage wrote about it in the recruiting sense back in 2015.

I regularly talk to my clients about vanity vs sanity metrics in recruitment marketing. When I start working with a recruiter I see:

  1. Sales people have KPIs / targets / goals / commission

  2. Marketers have… well, er… communities to grow, time to tweet, lists of documents to brand…

And then the marketing function appears to offer little ROI.

Vanity Metrics for Recruitment Marketers

Here are some examples of what I call “vanity marketing metrics”:

  • Impressions / Likes / Followers / Engagement – none of these make money and leads

  • Get shortlisted for an award

  • Numbers of web hits / unique visits

  • Email open rate

  • Increase Glassdoor Rating from 3 to 4

  • Increase CEO Approval on Glassdoor from 70% to 80%

  • Generating advocates for your content

  • Google Analytics Goals

The reason that these are vanity metrics is that a sane person / sales person who is not close to hitting target is likely to say “so what” to the above.  Winning an award doesn’t make you more money, it’s what you do with it that counts (I have a blog for Awards ROI!).  Generating a higher ranking on Glassdoor does not generate recruiter talent all by itself.  Gathering more followers… well with GDPR coming, your chance of spamming them is about to disappear (or is it?). Your web is attracting lots of people who don’t apply for jobs… read my mind!

Recruitment marketers need to be allowed to demonstrate sanity to generate ROI.

This does not mean that the “vane data” I often see measured is not needed – vanity is key, but it is just the beginning. Start with the vanity scores, but have a plan for sanity.

Have a plan for the C-word!

Sanity is a C-Word!

The 3Cs of recruitment marketing: Candidates, clients, consultants!  They are the key three audiences of a recruitment marketer, so KPIs and day to day metrics need to be focussed on these.  And if the leaders or the recruitment business are looking to sell / gain investment, then add an I!

Sanity Metrics for Recruitment Marketers

My clients will often hear me say:

Marketers should never be targeted with the sales generated, but they should absolutely take credit for them.

How about these as some example sanity metrics?

  • Convertible leads generated

  • LTV (life time value of leads)

  • Recruiters attracted (of the correct “grade”)

  • Candidates registered (of the correct “grade”)

  • Client meetings generated from events

Marketers in recruitment need more sanity measures.  They need to be allowed to develop lead generating / recruiter attracting / client engaging strategies – otherwise, it’s back to making things look pretty and managing job board budgets.

Let’s also not forget that often recruitment marketers are not set SMART goals. Too often I see a lack of expectation of marketing demonstrated through the “woolly” goals which are set.

ROI is Vain and Sane

So, recruitment leaders, if you want ROI from marketing, have SMART and sane expectations of your marketers. Recruitment marketers – develop strategies and tactics to deliver goals around sanity, as well as vanity.

And don’t forget the c-words in recruitment marketing. I train and mentor recruitment marketers to deliver the 4Cs - candidates, clients, colleagues, and cash!

HIIT Us, Recruiters!

Our high intensity interval training - Recruitment HIIT - helps recruiters source, convert quicker, and develop healthy pipelines, and recruitment marketers attract, engage, and retain candidates, generate clients, and colleagues (3Cs).





media centre

Read more