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Transform your hiring team into a High Performance Team by adopting a Service Level Agreement & these key metrics

In our continued focus on candidate experience and employer branding, we look at a document that can go a long way in helping you achieve your hiring goals. An SLA is not a new concept for the organisation. However, it is not very common for HR department. This is ridiculous since HR is entirely a service department, which then necessitates a delivery contract.

According to Wikipedia, A service-level agreement is a commitment between a service provider and a client. Particular aspects of the service — quality, availability, responsibilities — are agreed between the service provider and the service user.

It can also be defined as a contract between a service provider and its internal or external customers that documents what services the provider will furnish and defines the performance standards the provider is obligated to meet.

It is important to also note that an SLA can be formal or informal. SLAs can serve as a backbone to your performance metrics as a hiring team. It can help the HR team propagate a certain quality of performance for everyone involved in the hiring process including managers and HODs. This can then be helpful in identifying who’s responsible for what faults at what points. For an SLA to be successful, all parties have to be involved in creating it and promise commitment to its follow through.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

A well defined and typical SLA will contain the following components:

  • Type of service to be provided: It specifies the type of service and any additional details of type of service to be provided. In case of a hiring department, type of service will describe functions such as review of applications, setting up interviews, conducting assessments etc
  • The service’s desired performance level, especially its reliability and responsiveness: A reliable service will be the one which suffers minimum disruptions in a specific amount of time and is available at almost all times. A service with good responsiveness will perform the desired action promptly after the customer requests for it. For instance, a candidate should be able to upload their application documents when they apply for a job. We should respond to the applicant within 7 working days of receipt.
  • Monitoring process and service level reporting: This component describes how the performance levels are supervised and monitored. This process involves gathering of different type of statistics, how frequently this statistics will be collected and how this statistics will be accessed by the customers. Most employers these days attach a feedback form to their emails. This could be as simple as a Google Form.
  • The steps for reporting issues with the service: This component will specify the contact details to report the problem to and the order in which details about the issue have to be reported. The contract will also include a time range in which the problem will be looked upon and also till when the issue will be resolved. For instance, an issue with the ATS or when a candidate has a query during the hiring process.
  • Response and issue resolution time-frame: Response time-frame is the time period by which the service provider will start the investigation of the issue. Issue resolution time-frame is the time period by which the current service issue will be resolved and fixed.
  • Repercussions for service provider not meeting its commitment: If the provider is not able to meet the requirements as stated in SLA then service provider will have to face consequences for the same. These consequences may include employee reprimand or other disciplinary action or whatever the team will agree on.

SLA for recruitment-What metrics can be used

Recruiting metrics and data for HR is now one of management’s top priorities as shown by various 2018 reports. What is not measured cannot be improved as Robert Schuller said. A proper monitoring system will ensure your hiring team delivers quality every time to every person involved. Accountability is key in developing HPT-High Performance Teams. These can also serve as a qualitative way to have performance review discussions. Some metrics include;

  • Abandonment Rate: Percentage of applications abandoned while waiting to be responded to.
  • ASA (Average Speed to Answer): Average time (usually in days) it takes for an application to be responded to or closed/ job to be closed
  • TSF (Time Service Factor): Percentage of jobs closed successfully within a definite timeframe, e.g., 60% in 3 months.
  • TAT (Turn-Around Time): Time taken to complete a certain task e.g close a job, interviewing, assessment, cv screening.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Some additional Recruiting KPIS to track include;

Sourcing- Do we have enough qualified candidates in the pipeline?

No of QCs(Qualified Candidates) per job opening. Recruiting’s version of a qualified lead. These candidates seem to have the required skills & experience required to warrant an early conversation. This serves as a leading indicator that the interview or sourcing funnel is performing well.

Interviewing-Is our process efficient? Are we providing a good candidate experience?

ii. Candidate Survey Results- If you do not have a good candidate experience, chances are your conversion numbers will be very low. A net promoter score is a great way to capture this metric? How many people would recommend your company to their friends? How would you rate your recruiting experience with XYZ?

Hiring-Are we closing the candidates we want to hire? Are we hitting our hiring goals?

iii. Hiring Speed- This is measured as the number of days between when a candidate applies and when they sign an offer.

iv. Offer Acceptance Rate- A strong OAR indicates that the hiring team has successfully filled a pipeline with candidates, created an efficient & thorough process, put thought into the candidate experience, and helped the hiring extend an offer to the right candidate.

v. Hires to goal-This goal takes input on how long it takes to fill a quality funnel with applicants, move them through the process and close an offer.

For instance, if you track this funnel, you can discover you’re not hitting your hiring goals. One solution may be to work backwards from hiring goals to set top of funnel. Treating recruiting like sales thus means, this is a numbers game just like Tony Robbins says. If 1 hire is from 17 QCs then if we need 10 hires we need 170 QCs.

Some pointers for implementing this SLA

i. Take a consultative approach-Ask for lots of feedback

ii. Create trainings,workflows and Slack Channels

iii.Let teams focus on what fits them best

Having a performance standard sets you up for success. Operating without any accountability sets you up for failure. All the best!

Credits-Wikipedia, Greenhouse



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Stella Ngugi

Stella Ngugi

HR Generalist| Founder @JobonicsHR | Where HR, Tech& Entrepreneurship meet| Eat. Pray. Code. Blog. Hire | 🇰🇪 IVisit for more info.