Introduction and Purpose

This is one in a series of posts on “Moneyball for Recruiting”. This post covers the overall process and how the intention I have for the use of Moneyball.  Other posts on the metrics, methodology, concepts, and definitions can be found on this site by clicking the tag or category “Moneyball” on our blog site.

Measuring the performance of recruiters has really no set of standards. This method that I have created, known simply as Moneyball for Recruiting, is based upon measures used within professional baseball globally to measure the performance, effectiveness, and results of an individual. Baseball statistics, commonly know as sabremetrics, are used to track player performance and contribution. Those stats have long since been used to organize teams, assign players to specific roles in order for the team to execute as predicted, and as a measure of worth when offering compensation.

It is my intention to apply those same metrics towards the performance of recruiters, and make the measures readily available to recruiters and sourcers everywhere so they can see how they perform easily, without having to rely on the data maturity or technology that was chosen by the employers they work for. Everyone should be able to track themselves and get an understanding of how good they are versus their peers.

One of the reasons I have picked baseball statistics is because recruiters and sourcers globally can use Major League Baseball’s actual data to quickly understand how good their performance is. As an example, a recruiter would be able to look up their own stats versus Major Leaguers, and use sites like www.spotrac.com to understand what those Major Leaguers are earning, and then better understand their own valuation versus their peers, and also prepare for their reviews.

Now if you are a manager, this is a VERY good way to showcase how good your team is…that will take a little more work and some real good data. You can run down the baseball stats for each recruiter and sourcer, and actually re-assign requisitions and work based on their predicted performance, rather than simply resident skill set. We can assume that your team can perform…the question is how will they perform on a particular set of positions?

Have fun all – this is supposed to be work, but also fun. Work CAN be fun by the way 😉

Understanding Baseball and it’s Metaphor to Recruiting

There are three types of statistics groups in baseball – hitting, fielding, and pitching. I am going to explain this as if the reader does not know baseball. As popular as a game it is in parts of the world, most have an elementary level of understanding. Sabermetric use assumes an advanced level of understanding, so forgive if some of the text seems like I am talking to my six year old daughter.

Hitting is an active, forward progress activity that when executed, a team scores. In baseball, a score is made up of RUNS, similar to cricket. The production of runs is the offense. The offensive high level strategy in baseball is to first have a player move from a starting position, known as “home”, and after a ball is thrown to that player, it is put into play, and the player advances to the first of 3 stations (or bases) until such time he or she returns “home” and scores a run. The offense is set with the sole purpose of advancing players (batters and runners) around the four bases to score runs. Occasionally, a single offensive action produces a run, but in most cases, several events must take place in order for players to score, similar to how several candidates must be interviewed in order to have a hire occur.

Hitting statistics will be used to help recruiters understand how well they react to the requests they get from hiring teams on hiring needs. Although its commonly seen as a “boring” activity to watch over time, hitting is quite difficult, and every single pitch that is either swung at or not is carefully considered by the batter, and in many cases the actual outcome is intended. It is customary that batters have a specific activity they are to perform at the plate, and if not, then they are actually supposed to execute well within their specific abilities by being the type of hitter that they have been hired as. For our purposes, hitting is getting slates of candidates together, and doing so consistently and predictably.

Fielding is the operational part of the game, but more importantly, its an assumed set of actions that take place in reaction when a batter places the ball in play. Almost every reaction to what happens with a player at bat is well scripted and executed. At any given moment, the players in the field, the batter, the coaches, and even the fans know exactly what is to occur if the ball is set into play on any given play. A set of activities are so set that if the players in the field are incapable in executing that standard work they are penalized during the game by having an error assessed against them formally.

Not only its clearly noted as an error, but is typically labeled as a bad play in general. In the case of recruiting, as its related to fielding, it is assumed that recruiters will execute postings, talk with candidates, setup interviews, work with managers, and other activities – also know as the prescribed staffing process. When those normal processes are not completed, an error is clearly noted, and its deemed as a poor set of experiences by the recruiter, the hiring manager, the candidate, or others. Coincidentally, an amazing hit made by a recruiter earlier in the game can quickly be forgotten about when an error by that player occurs in the field. In fact, those who continuously are poor at fielding are taken out of the every day play, and made to be specialty players, and not statistically as active as other members of the team. Those who are not healthy or consistent in fielding, regardless of their hitting, are quickly removed from starting teams.

Just as we will measure a players’s ability to hit by finding candidates, we are going to measure how they create an experience in the field by executing expected processes. Each recruiter will have satisfaction, experience, and scores that are a reflection of the experiences hiring managers, HR leaders, vendors, and candidates have. In addition, we need to look at the workflows of the candidates, and see if recruiters are doing as they are supposed to be doing. As much as a survey or gives us an understanding of performance, its a lopsided scoring as it assumes that the person answering the survey knows if the person is actually doing all the mechanics they are supposed to be doing. For example, if I was to ask a general fan “who is the best catcher in the league” they probably would struggle to answer, and likely lean on their understanding on how catcher “hits” the baseball. However, a catcher’s worth is significantly amplified by their ability to catch runners stealing, reduce wild pitches or passed balls, reduce pitch count of their pitchers, and convert sacrifice bunts into actual outs. In fact, a catcher with excellent fielding ability and a low batting average is common. For our recruiters and sources, a quick survey is not enough…we need to get into the details of how they field.

Pitching, which is actually a specialist position, and typically accounts for a good portion of the roster of a team and nothing really happens without the pitcher. In baseball, the pitcher is the one during the game with the most of amount of control, and based upon their every action, the game can twist and turn various ways. The general expectation is that a starting pitcher will deliver pitches to batters in such a way that its difficult for the opposing batters to place runs on the scoreboard. Basically the pitcher pitches, and the ball gets batted back to his own team members in such a way they they can field the ball using their skill sets and get the batter out without much effort. Of course, what is interesting is that pitchers are notorious for being poor batters themselves, so much so that the American League in baseball has removed pitchers from hitting altogether, creating the Designated Hitter, a player whose sole job is to get a hit and run the bases, but NEVER field.

For our purposes, your hiring managers are your pitchers. Their job is to deliver a strong game on behalf of the business, control the pace of the game, and initiate all the activity such that the fielding players can react. The metaphor is actually quite perfect. Pitchers hardly field the ball, they hardly hit – as they lean on their team (recruiters and sourcers) to have flawless experience in the field and put runs on the board. In our sabermetrics for recruiting, we actually take an understanding of the hiring manager population (and subpopulations) to understand how well your pitchers are controlling the game, reducing scoring opportunities, and creating easy plays for the field to execute upon.