Big Data is on the lips of every consultant from Silicon Valley to Dubai and it seems like these days everyone has a new tool or platform that claims to use data to drive profits and efficiency. The reality on the ground is entirely different however, as we encounter executives everyday who struggle to integrate data into their decision-making or worse, pull the wrong conclusions from the data that is available.
I’m not going to talk about how to get the data, chances are you’re swimming in numbers already. Instead I’ll take a look at what data I think is most valuable and importantly, how we can use that data to improve our decision-making.
That said, there are a few sources of data collection worth mentioning. If you aren’t using all of these at a minimum, check with your HR department or recruiting partner.
Data collection channels include:
- Applicant tracking systems
- Marketing and CRM software
- Google Analytics and other website analytics
- LinkedIn and Job Boards
- Recruiting software
Using data to improve the hiring process
Next let’s look at the ways in which we can improve the hiring process with data. In all of the below scenarios, we aren’t just looking at the numbers, we’re looking for the story they tell. Which parts of the recruiting process are working and which are not? How can we improve? These are the basic questions we’re answering.
Track and allocate budget. Most marketing software offers the ability to track a variety of expenditures related to your job marketing including promotional channels, ad spend, recruiting fees, and training costs. This data allows you to take a total cost approach per hire, as well as identify expensive and inefficient channels for recruiting.
Track and improve engagement rates. Despite the readily available data, many companies still aren’t properly tracking their engagement with candidates and applicants. Engagement numbers are especially important when engaging in outbound campaigns to locate and attract passive candidates. At Purple Tree, we track things like outbound calls, email open and click rates, candidate response rates, and views on social media job postings. Using this data we’re able to tell a story to our clients of where we’re finding their ideal candidates and crucially, what attracts those candidates to the position. We’ve found that something as simple as an email subject line can improve engagement with candidates by as much as 300%.
Identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Which parts of your recruiting process are working well and which are too slow, too expensive, or simply inefficient? By taking the total-cost approach we can look at the real value of a candidate at each stage of the process and examine whether the cost of acquisition is too high. Additionally, we can find any existing friction in the process. Are resumes being distributed, read, and acted upon quickly? How long does it typically take to set up an interview? Answering these questions will help you quickly identify bottlenecks and inefficient practices.
Benchmark your recruiting. Curious about how your recruiting process compares to the best in your industry? Benchmark analytics can be a quick way to capitalize on what others have already spent time and money to learn the hard way. Benchmark comparisons like candidate response rates, drop-off rates, retention rates, and channel efficiency can help you target the areas of your recruiting most in need of improvement. The world’s best recruiters leave nothing to chance, fine-tuning everything from email subject lines to job description keywords. Here at Purple Tree we have a dedicated marketing team focused on researching candidates and crafting compelling, effective job marketing strategies.
Forecast for the future. A data-driven recruiting plan starts by looking at the past to set goals for the future. I have yet to meet a company that can’t improve their recruiting process in some small way whether it’s improving the quality of the resumes they’ve received or reducing time lost during the interview process. Look for places where the process is taking too long or your spend is greater than the value of your candidates. Use data to show your team the need to make improvements and set realistic goals with clear steps to achieve them.
Improve retention and satisfaction. Retention and job satisfaction are two areas which benefit greatly from data collection and analysis and they start early in the recruiting process. Not that long ago, a hiring manager asked how he could get more people like his favorite employee, Suzie. It’s simple, I told him, you need to understand what attracted Suzie to the position in the first place. What language and imagery caught her eye, and most importantly, what value proposition made her ultimately decide to accept your offer? Figure that out, and build a job marketing campaign around it. You’ll have Suzies flocking to your door.
Get to the Why with data
The important thing to remember about data in recruiting is that we have a goal here: to answer questions and find solutions. Often the real story of why something isn’t working is hidden behind the numbers. By taking a close look at the various data points throughout the hiring process, you’ll eventually be able to pinpoint with great accuracy the bottlenecks and inefficiencies that are holding you back from your goals.