Complexity to Hire

What is the "Complexity to Fill" score and how is it calculated? 

In my last post about the “great reshuffle”, I talked about using a complexity to hire score, to figure out resources, strategy to fill, and budgets that need to be applied to get roles filled.

On a wider level, complexity to fill determines how the talent acquisition team should be
organised, to best serve the organisation. As a topic, I have more questions about this over the last week, than most of the blogs I’ve ever written.

Whilst there are a lot of factors that will impact how the talent acquisition team is viewed in their respective organisations, and there are plenty of metrics and KPIs that get banded
about to this effect, there is really only one measure that I consistently come across, after all the talk.

That is this:

“Maintaining head count at the optimum level to maintain the business at peak performance.”

That might sound like a lot of management consultant talk, but it really does sum up the
praise or criticism I hear of talent acquisition teams in many of the companies I talk to. It is usually translated in to them being great, or s**t according to the latest position, but this is the reality.

Over the last few years, I have really been looking at talent acquisition through the lens of
supply chain and strategic sourcing for harder to fill roles. I see this as two different
approaches, from “always on” hiring, to a more campaign led approach job by job. Where
roles sit between these two workflows. I describe these as workflows because every aspect from attraction to hiring requires distinctly different tactics, from the high volume to the tailored sniper approach.


The complexity to fill score is calculated on the following data:

  • Historical hiring data (How many applicants needed/conversion ratio/source of hire.)
  • Availability of talent, taken from Horsefly analytics talent market data.
  • Existing talent pipeline in the CRM/ATS
  • Potential internal candidates
  • Competitiveness - based on current demand, measured by published ads for similar roles in similar locations, salary level, location etc.


This last metric is a combination of hard labor market data, and personal market knowledge that helps understand what it is going to take to make the hire.

Understanding complexity to hire for every role enables talent acquisition teams to assign each job to the right workflow, and to manage hiring manager expectations. Talent acquisition leaders need to use complexity to fill as a means of ensuring optimum resources are allocated role by role, guided by the most likely source to hire.

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