What Is Source Channel Cost in Recruiting?

Source channel cost is a recruiting metric that helps you determine how well your candidate sourcing channels are performing.

How do you know whether the channels you’re using to source candidates are working? You have to track source channel cost.


What is source channel cost in hiring?

Source channel cost is a fairly straightforward recruiting metric. Put simply, source channel cost is how much you’re spending on a candidate sourcing channel.


Candidate sourcing channels

One of the reasons to track source channel cost is that there are so many places to find potential candidates. 

The most common is online job boards. (These are the most democratic channels because anyone with internet access can find your jobs. As opposed to a referral program, for example, which requires knowing someone at the company.) But there are other channels. Many others. They include your company career site, referral programs, third-party recruiters, social media sites, and more.


Tracking source channel cost

Determining source channel cost isn’t hard. You just have to add up all the costs associated with a given channel. 

For common channels like job boards and third-party recruiters, tally what you paid for listing a job or contracting with an outside firm. For other channels like your company’s careers page and referrals, add up the internal costs associated with tasks like creating web pages and running referral programs.


Measuring channel cost-effectiveness

Determining the cost-effectiveness of your sourcing channels isn’t hard, either. As long as you track a few key recruiting metrics.

Actually, the lack of recruiting data is the biggest potential roadblock to measuring source channel cost-effectiveness. There are many sourcing channels out there, but not all of them use analytics to show you how well they work. 

It’s all well and good to spend money on sourcing channels to advertise your jobs. But you also need data on how well those channels are performing. There’s every chance, in fact, that you could be paying for a sourcing channel that isn’t sending qualified candidates your way. Although you wouldn’t know it unless you were tracking sourcing metrics.

Once you start measuring each channel’s effectiveness, though, you’ll be able to determine which are performing best for you. You’ll see which net the most applicants, qualified applicants, and new hires. You’ll see what percentage of total hires come from each channel and which channels are the most cost-effective. So you can shuffle your time and resources around to target the channels that are working.

Janna B.

Janna B.

Director, Customer Success

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