Diversity Recruiting Metrics

Almost everyone supports diversity recruiting efforts. They are taken as “givens” in most corporate HR departments. But these efforts might actually gain even more resources and respect if recruiters went the extra mile to prove their business impact through the use of metrics. What metrics should you use? I recommend that, instead of relying solely on the traditional EEOC measures, you should use a broader set of metrics.

Realize Upfront That Some Performance Comparisons Are Unfair

All diversity recruiting is not the same. Some diversity recruiting is more difficult because there are fewer diverse individuals residing in the geographic region (for example, recruiting for African Americans in Utah). Recruiting for certain job families can also be more difficult because of the relative shortage of qualified individuals (for example, recruiting diverse CEOs). These different levels of difficulty make comparing recruiting “success” between different regions and job families more difficult. As a result, I recommend that when you develop diversity metrics you limit direct comparisons to positions:

  • Within the same job family
  • Within the same geographic region

In addition, sometimes adjustments must also be made when assessing recruiters who work with hiring mangers who have a history of weak diversity hiring.

Measuring Individual Recruiters’ Effectiveness

Some of the metrics I recommend for individual recruiters include:

  • Resumes. Of all initial candidates presented to hiring managers, what percentage were diverse?
  • Interviews. Of all candidates interviewed by hiring managers, what percentage were diverse?
  • Offers. Of all candidates that were given job offers, what percentage were diverse?
  • Hires. Of all hires, what percentage were diverse?
  • Turnover. What was the turnover rate of diversity hires (within their year)? How did it compare to the turnover rate of all new hires?
  • Performance. What was the average on-the-job performance rating (or performance appraisal score) of diversity hires after one year? How did it compare to the job performance rating of all new hires?
  • Manager satisfaction. What was the average manager satisfaction score (from a survey) after a diversity hire? How did that satisfaction rate compare to the manager satisfaction rate after non-diverse hires?
  • Applicant satisfaction. What was the average diverse applicant satisfaction rate (from a survey)? How did that satisfaction rate compare to the applicant satisfaction rate of non-diverse hires?

Note: If you were forced to weigh the relative importance on each of these eight items, I would put the most emphasis on interviews, hires, and applicant satisfaction. Here are some metrics that can be used to assess a department-wide diversity recruiting effort:

  • Brand. What percentage of people in the diversity community are aware of and think positively about the firm? (This should be part of a random community survey whose results are then compared to the previous year’s.)
  • Brand. Does the company appear on the Fortune “Best Place for Minorities to Work” list?
  • Referrals. What percentage of all referrals are diverse candidates (compared to the previous year)?
  • Referrals. What percentage of all referrals come from diverse employees (compared to the previous year)?
  • College hires. What percentage of all college hires are diverse (compared to the previous year)?
  • Sourcing. What is the utilization rate of the sources that produce the best performing diversity hires (compared to the previous year)?
  • Agencies and executive search. What is the percentage of diversity hires that come from outside sources? How does that compare to the percentage of executive diversity hires that result from internal executive searches?
  • Names. What percentage of all names in the candidate database are diverse (compared to the previous year)?
  • Internships. What percentage of all interns are diverse (compared to the previous year)?
  • Rewards. What percentage of a manager’s bonus is based on diversity recruiting and retention results?

Diversity Metrics That I Would Not Track

Not all activities and tools in diversity recruiting return a high value. As a result, it is important to avoid those measures that provide little help in improving diversity recruiting effectiveness. Some of these measures include:

  • The number of diversity events attended
  • The number of diversity sources that were utilized
  • Contributions to diversity organizations and scholarships
  • The cost of the average diversity hire (compared to the cost of a non-diversity hire)
  • The time to fill (for positions filled by diverse people)

Other Things To Measure

Although they are not traditional metrics, it is equally important to make an attempt at measuring the economic impact that results from having a diverse workforce.


While many people think of diversity as a legal requirement, it should in fact be looked upon as a tool for increasing innovation, which then results in increasing a company’s revenue, market share, ROI, and image. A diverse group brings different perspectives which collectively creates new ideas and out of the box thinking. Because diversity is such an important goal, it is equally important that managers constantly monitor its success. Whether they be departmental measures or individual measures, it is important for senior HR managers to realize that you cannot improve what you do not measure. So if you care about diversity… monitor it closely.

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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