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Recruiting OKRs (aka A Startup Made Me Do It)

June 6, 2017

MRW recruiting and OKRs are used in the same sentence.  If you aren't familiar with the OKR process, or your team is just getting ready to set some moonshot objectives and key results I highly recommend you read First Round Review's article on the subject.




Joking aside, there is one objective you should absolutely avoid - reduced time to fill.  We'll go deeper into recruiting metrics in future posts, but to reduce the time to fill roles without focusing on other factors like candidate experience or employee retention can easily damage your company's ability to attract the best talent in the future.  That said, it does work as a key result of improving other areas of recruitment and your employer brand, but keep in mind you'll typically find it takes longer than a quarter to see significant measurable results.


So what do you choose to focus on?  It shouldn't be too difficult to identify the most appropriate recruiting objectives that roll up into the company's over-arching OKRs.  It helps a lot if you already have data from the previous quarter or year to measure progress against; if you don't have data available then implementing a data collection strategy should definitely be an objective, and implementing some kind of data tracking tool (such as an ATS) will make a solid key result (which we'll cover in the next blog post).  I've outlined some basic categories as well as measurable outcomes that have been helpful in the past below.




  • Employer branding if you've identified a problem attracting or retaining talent that goes beyond compensation and benefits

  • Data collection and ATS adoption if, as a company, you're trying to either clean up processes or become more data-oriented

  • Inbound and outbound strategy if you've identified pipeline as the primary problem.  Improving your referral strategy, job boards and paid ads, increasing sourcing, or improving quality are all great options


Measurable Results


  • Reduce cost per hire by x%

  • Increase the number of conversions of prospected candidates from x% to y% or x to y

  • Reduce turnaround on scorecards/candidate feedback to x days/hours

  • Improve the quality of candidates referred by x%

  • Get x positive reviews on the interview process posted to Glassdoor or other social media sites this quarter

  • Improve the quality of candidates referred by x%

  • Improve ATS compliance by x%


Every company develops their OKR process and OKRs differently so try not to get too caught up in the minutia.  Whatever you do, start with the greatest unmet or underserved needs, and work your way back to specific activities that you think will have the most impact.  OKRs favor the ambitious, so don't be afraid to set moonshot targets, and course-correct as the quarter develops.


Happy iterating!

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