How Greenhouse uses metrics and data to determine recruiter capacity

Two female coworkers

3 mins, 52 secs read time

Data is a powerful thing. It’s nothing we haven’t already heard.

Tracking your recruiting efforts with talent acquisition metrics is essential, but what is even more powerful is what you do with the numbers you’re tracking and how you’re strengthening your organization with those numbers.

In our latest webinar, Lauren Ryan, Director of Talent Acquisition at Greenhouse, and Kirsten Davidson, Head of Employer Brand at Glassdoor, teamed up to share how they are optimizing their talent acquisition strategy through strategic headcount planning and recruiter capacity.

For this blog post, I’m going to dive into two areas that we don’t get to hear much about when it comes to talent acquisition data. Read on to learn how you can improve your workforce planning and what that will mean for your recruiting pipeline.

Workforce planning: Talent acquisition vs sales model

Talent acquisition has more in common with sales than you might think. Lauren took the sales model and applied it to talent acquisition. She noticed that month over month the talent acquisition requirements were changing and she wanted to create a more accurate headcount plan for the whole year. The ultimate goal was to end the year with a chart like this, showing steady growth all year long:

Sales revenue Goal vs. Actual chart

To get this steady growth, you need to start internally. There may be some months – just like in sales – where you may not see this chart grow in a positive direction month over month, but that’s ok. Possible factors that could change the graph include hard-to-fill roles or time of year, like in November and December when fewer roles are open.

Before diving in and hoping to achieve this consistent growth, Lauren says that key stakeholders in the talent org have to set expectations regarding the appropriate number of roles a team member can fill each quarter. That way, even when you’re faced with those challenging recruiting factors, you can still set high goals. So realistically you end the year with a chart like the one above.

But, where should those numbers come from?

The talent acquisition points system

Initially at Greenhouse, talent acquisition wasn’t in the right position to know which role was strategic for the company. Heads of department would swing on by Lauren’s desk and say “I need a hire.” However, recruiting didn’t have visibility into which roles were actual priorities. As most recruiters know, it’s often the loudest person who gets the hire. To solve this problem, Lauren met with Greenhouse’s CEO Daniel Chait to get a holistic picture of which roles were a priority in the organization.

To be a strategic recruiting leader, Lauren went backwards through historical data. She looked at 2015 and reviewed how many roles were filled and how many roles each recruiting member was carrying, and then she created a points system per role. Quantifying the recruiting capacity and calibrating the delta around the organization's goals allowed her to find a middle ground.

The points model is weighed by difficulty of each role. As we know, not all roles are created equally. It’s a very different process to hire a tech lead than an SDR. It’s also challenging when you are hiring a role at your company that is brand new or hiring for a role during a difficult season. Make sure you’re factoring in all of these situations when delegating points to your team.


In the end, your goal is to create a headcount plan and meet the number that you’re setting out to do. If you can, meet with your senior leadership team to make sure that your goals are realistic and that you’re predicting what’s to come. For example, factor in the revenue goals and how this might impact your hiring plan. This way, you’re getting more visibility into the organization but also setting realistic expectations. For example, if marketing is using 12% of the amount of points you have allocated for the year, you can let them know that marketing will get 12% of the recruiting team’s time. You’re making everything clear as well as ensuring that you keep on track when hitting your headcount goals.

Data can be an overwhelming thing to sift through, but if you take the steps to work backwards and see where you’re at and where you want to be, you can be more strategic in your approach to talent acquisition and therefore, make your results more predictable, and set yourself up for success!

Watch to the full webinar, The Numbers Game: How to Use Data to Land Top Talent.

Watch now