4 Steps to Building a Data-Driven Recruiting Team in 2017­

4 Steps to Building a Data-Driven Recruiting Team in 2017­

Mike Roberts

Although business functions across the board are becoming more data-driven, recruiting has been (relatively) slow to follow suit. But in 2016 we saw tons of companies taking a more analytical approach to talent acquisition. This trend will hopefully accelerate in 2017.

The simplest thing to do in the recruiting function is to make gut decisions, relying primarily on subjectivity to guide your hiring process. But recruiting leaders would do well to distance their teams from that habit in 2017, taking their talent acquisition function to the next level and gaining respect (and budget) around the organization in the process.

Being data-driven is as much about having the right mindset as is about having processes and technology to support your initiative. Companies that get it right leverage data to make more informed decisions, and tend to perform better in key metrics like cost per hire, time to fill, and quality of hire.

In this article, we’ll share 4 key steps for building a data-driven recruiting team in 2017.

1. Get everyone thinking (and saying) “It’s all about the data”

Being data-driven is cultural. Some companies or departments live and die by their data, and it’s built into every decision they make. The thing about changing culture in an established organization is that doing so needs to start at the top. Executives and senior leadership need to be the ones who put the initiative in place and stand by it.

Making it a requirement that data is shown to support claims and decisions can become the standard operating procedure in talent acquisition—but only if executives both exemplify the use of data and demand it from their employees. When someone says, “we should put more money into buying ads on Indeed,” the response should be “show me the data to support that.” Likewise, a senior leader may give a task presented in this same style: “Look at the data and let me know which job board is giving us the best ROI, so we can put more money into that and less into others.”

Other ways to ensure your culture becomes “all about the data” may include executing internal marketing campaigns, bringing in a change management consultant, making sure to hire professionals that already have this mindset, and—of course—equipping your recruiting team with the right processes and tools (we’ll discuss this later).

Recruiting is undoubtedly an art and a science, but because of modern technology the science behind what makes talent acquisition tick has never been more accessible.

2. Build a framework for making measurable improvements over time

Lots of companies don’t measure a standard set of metrics. Step one is to agree on which recruiting metrics and key performance indicators are important, and step two is to standardize how they’re measured across the organization.

Standardization is easy when your company is small, but think of a multinational firm with recruiting offices around the globe. Standardization of metrics can become a huge initiative. Doing so, though, can easily highlight regional inefficiencies as well as which teams and people are doing a standout job.

People whose performance was previously unmeasured tend to not like this idea—because they think their job will be harder or in jeopardy. For this reason it’s important to frame the adoption of a data-driven culture as an opportunity to drastically improve performance. The alignment of incentives (monetary or in-kind) can ease this transition period.

3. Create a process for monitoring, analyzing, and optimizing metrics

Creating your data-driven culture and a standardized set of metrics are good first steps.

You’ll also need some formalization in how you monitor, analyze and optimize each of these metrics at the organizational, regional, team and individual level. Of course, if you’re working in smaller company there’s not as much need to get this granular, but in larger companies small calibrations and optimizations could lead to millions of dollars in savings (think lower time to fill, better quality of hire and consequently better retention rates…).

Processes for regularly evaluating performance at each of these levels will help to instill the data-driven culture you should be striving for. However, you also need to plan for optimization. Side-by-side as well as month-over-month comparison coupled with experimentation can highlight what’s driving performance improvements over time.

Having data and being able to show performance, ROI and the results of talent acquisition experiments / campaigns is key to gaining authority within the organization.

4. Enable an environment for performance improvement with technology

So much about being a strong leader is simply providing the right environment for your team to excel. In the context of building a data-driven culture, that means equipping them with the right tools and technology to make informed decisions and drive actionable improvements.

Recruiting analytics is a broad term that can now encompass many different systems of measurement. For instance, at a high level you may manage the health of your hiring process or your recruiting process, recruiting workflows and talent pipeline. But you could also manage your recruitment marketing efforts, the performance of your career site and apply flow, your employer branding initiatives, your candidate experience…the list goes on.

All of these areas have some relation to the important recruiting metrics you need to be measuring. Fortunately, there’s ways to measure them all—either through manual analysis or, better, dedicated analytics solutions. After you determine what to measure and the variables that go into those metrics, streamline data collection and analysis as much as possible with modern technology. Your team will thank you for it.

Don’t Wait to Get Started

Effectively building a data-driven culture is as much about thinking strategically as it is taking action.

The good news is you can start small and scale—regardless of your organization size. And if you like this post, we’ve got a great report on improving your quality of hire that shares a framework for rapid change. This framework can be applied to any metric. Check it out—it’s linked below.

Interested in recruiting analytics and the future of big data strategies in talent acquisition? Sign up for the Data Driven Recruiter blog.

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