Talent Acquisition

How to Use Data for Better Recruitment

These days data can be a funny thing. In some ways, we simply have too much of it and it’s overwhelming. And yet, in others, we lack enough to give us a clear picture of what’s actually taking place. And, lest we forget … math is hard, right? So, what’s a Talent Acquisition leader to do? How do you tell your VP, CHRO or CEO the true story of what’s happening behind the scenes of your recruitment operations?

Get your priorities straight

First things first, treat Talent Acquisition measurement like everything else in business and clearly define your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Think big picture stuff. Establish a few key goals (no more than 3-5) and then determine which metrics help tell the story of your success. Each data component is like a puzzle piece, and it’s up to you to put the pieces together into a coherent story. No one wants to see the raw data. They want to know what it means. That’s your job. Now, this is where we start going down the rabbit hole, folks.

In measuring goals, there are a number of metrics that can help you tell that story. Here are some you may want to consider (the list is long, but not all-encompassing by any means):

  • Media impressions
  • Media clicks
  • Apply clicks
  • Website metrics
    • User sessions
    • New vs returning users
    • Number of pages viewed
    • Time on page/site
    • Geography of users
    • Device used (mobile vs desktop, browser, etc.)
    • Organic vs. paid traffic
    • Where people are coming from (acquisition)
    • Search terms driving them to your site
  • Social reach
  • Social fan growth
  • Social / content engagement
  • Open rates on your candidate communications (emails, text, etc.)
  • Talent pipeline growth
  • Total applications
    • Started
    • Completed
  • Applicant funnel
    • Number of applies
    • Number of interviews
    • Number of offers
    • Number of hires
    • Percentages for each subsequent step
  • Source data (source of traffic, source of application, source of hire)
  • Demographics and diversity profiles of applicants/hires/employees
  • Qualitative data from onboarding surveys, exit interviews, etc.
  • Media spend vs. media ROI
  • Employee retention rates
  • Time to fill
  • Cost per apply / hire
  • Quality of hire
  • Trends over time for all of these

Define your goals and then choose which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) give you the clues you need. Of course, everyone’s business is different, and your company’s goals, recruitment challenges and departmental needs all play a role. To try to be as helpful as possible here, below are two potential real-world scenarios that companies go through and the associated KPIs you may want to consider for each.

Scenario 1: A new company (or a full company re-branding):

Your challenge? Job seekers don’t know you. And, if they don’t know you, they’ll be far less likely to apply.

Your potential measuring sticks?

  • Brand awareness: KPIs would include social reach, social fan growth, brand mentions, website traffic, media impressions and media clicks. All of the things that indicate people are becoming familiar with your company.
  • Applicant flow: Track your application trends over time. Are you getting more?
  • Time to fill: As you become more well-known, your time to fill should shrink.

Scenario 2: Strategic audience targeting

Your challenge? You need to target and hire more of a particular segment, whether that’s female computer programmers or customer service agents in Dallas. Yours is a highly targeted approach.

Your potential measuring sticks?

  • Depending on your initiatives, some of the KPIs from the example above would work too. You could consider social fan growth and awareness, but specifically among your target audience, not broad-based. Did you create a landing page? Track visits and time on site. If you have a talent network or email signup, you can track the amount of “joins” from your target audience. Think about your content approach here too, and track the performance of that as much as possible. And, it almost goes without saying, but make sure you’re tracking the trend in hires. All of this data should be specific to your target audience. Bottom line: If you’re targeting a specific sub-group, you may not have huge overall numbers to share, but what’s important is the improvement trend over time.

My last note on metrics is to make sure that you’re sharing them in a visual way. Create charts, graphs, info blocks, etc. vs. a mind-numbing Excel sheet. I find PowerPoint is actually pretty good for this type of work (more visual recommendations here). Numbers can be daunting, but if you make your KPIs an integral part of your story, you’ll have a well-formed, data-backed view of current trends and a rationale for your future strategies to share with your executives.

What challenges have you faced with data in your organization, and how did you solve them? Let us know in the comments below.

Image credit: Shutterstock

By Adam Glassman

With a depth of experience in Recruitment Marketing, Employer Branding, Social and Digital Recruitment Strategies, Adam Glassman is on a mission to transform Talent Acquisition. Connect with him on LinkedIn and join the battle.