How to Build a Data-Driven Recruitment Strategy
Post and pray has long been dead, and the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19 only killed it further. Companies, especially those in the scale-up phase, need to build solid data-driven recruitment strategies right from the word “go.” Terra Carbert, founder and CEO of SHEops Talent, a recruitment firm that helps companies hire great talent, spoke with us about why you should build a data-driven recruitment strategy, how you should go about it, and how you can eliminate bias and make diversity and inclusion part of your hiring process.
Find out how to build the best recruitment strategy for your company with the latest rules for 2021 here.
Start Early to Lay the Foundation for a Data-Driven Recruitment Process
What often happens when early-stage companies are hiring is that people go, “Oh, I like you, or I know you. So come on, join our team.” This thought process contains no objective view of the role, what the role needs, or the likelihood of success. Instead, it’s important to start early with data gathering, establishing a framework to assess the results you’re getting, and measuring what’s important.
Essentially, you should turn the criteria you’re hiring for into measurable objectives that can be used to evaluate candidates during the interview. That way, the hiring decision becomes data-driven.
Focus on Advertising Spend and Recruitment Marketing ROI
You’re putting dollars and effort into creating awareness about your opportunities, but are you getting the desired results? Are you getting the kind of visibility you hoped for?
You want to make sure you have systems and tools set up to measure the results of your efforts and your outreach to your talent pipeline. When you’ve been hired for some time, you need to assess your back-end data. The following questions could guide you:
- What are the outcomes?
- Which recruitment channels worked and which didn’t?
- How diverse is our pipeline?
- Are we aligned with our internal diversity objectives or any relevant external compliance issues?
- Are we fast? (Think: time to fill, one of the most common metrics across organizations.)
- How is our candidate experience?
- Are hiring managers enjoying the recruiting process?
Considering these questions will help you lay the foundation of a data-driven recruiting strategy — as long as you get the answers to the questions right — especially before a mass-hiring process. Otherwise, you may have to disrupt your existing process at a later stage to implement a system to measure your recruiting data.
Start implementing systems to build a data-driven recruitment strategy as early as possible. Recruiting is one of the most critical aspects of your company’s success, especially if your organization is currently scaling up. You’re not going to achieve your mission or your vision if you don’t have the right teams in place.
Challenges Data-Driven Recruitment Can Solve
Market knowledge: Often, hiring managers don’t understand the available talent pool — e.g., how many people have a particular set of skills for a specialized position in a particular geographical region. You need to use data to educate hiring managers. Hiring managers need to understand when it’s impossible to find people with particular skills in a particular location — or when you don’t have a good carrot to attract them to your company.
Market mapping: More often than not, many of us have assumptions about the salaries of people in particular roles, especially those in leadership positions. That’s a problem when you want to attract the cream of the crop. When hiring managers don’t research job market rates for roles, they may just pick a random salary number that seems right — and that number could be way off!
Hiring process: Some companies do not use data to draw conclusions about whom to hire. To solve this problem, you would need to design a company-wide interviewing process, replete with an interview scoring system, interview guides, and training for hiring managers on how to hire effectively.
Measuring the right metrics: You need to get your key metrics right and align them with your desired outcomes. These metrics include: how many interviews you held, how many placements you made, how many requisitions are open, average time to fill, average length of onboarding, and hiring manager and candidate satisfaction levels.
It’s important to measure recruitment metrics in conjunction with each other. For example, every business wants to measure time to fill, and many recruiters are incentivized to boost speed to hire. But what happens to quality or cost when you you incentivize speed? Is time to fill really the right metric to measure a recruiter’s performance? These are questions you need to answer before putting together a framework to drive data-based recruitment decisions.
Deep dives versus topline glances: Skimming through the numbers can present a particular view, but dissecting the data might help you uncover trends you wouldn’t see based on the overall story alone.
Recruiters Need to Wear Marketers’ Hats
Recruiters often reach for standard strategies and the familiar channels where they always source their candidates. Yet there should always be a point in the process at which you pause and ask, “Is this actually working?” You might realize the places where you post your job ads are great at sourcing receptionists but not quite at sourcing electrical engineers, for example.
Recruiters need to approach the process like marketers. You need to answer questions like:
- Who are we trying to reach?
- Where do they hang out?
- Where can we get their attention?
- How can we get creative, cut through our competitors’ noise, and stand out as a business?
Creating a Talent Acquisition Strategy When You’re Scaling Up
Make sure you have access to the tools you need to measure the key metrics you want to track. The main data you may want to track is where your inbound traffic comes from when you advertise.
You also need to track important dates: when did the candidate apply, when did they do their first phone interview, when did they get interviewed in person, when were they offered a job, when did they accept the offer, and how long did it take to get from each step to the next? Don’t just give your managers copies of resumes and ask what they think of the candidates. Train them how to hire.
An interview guide can be created to evaluate almost anything. Many interviews start with a basic “Tell me about yourself,” and the conversation turns to the person’s resume and the job profile. But you need to be specific about your questions. For example, if you need somebody to solve problems in a fast-paced environment, you need to ask problem-solving questions. That might be something like, “Tell me about a time when you had three machines fail at the exact same time, and your repair source was not available.”
Of Culture Fit, Diversity, and Inclusion in Recruiting
“Oh, they don’t fit into our culture” is a dismissive thing to say while hiring, especially if you don’t have your culture properly defined.
Culture fit is a convenient excuse not to hire someone who is perfectly qualified for a position in a lot of cases. You want to avoid that by adding values-based and behavior-based interview questions to the standard interview guide.
For example, if my organization values teamwork, I’m going to ask questions that allow a candidate to demonstrate times they’ve effectively worked as part of a team. If my organization values data-based decisions, I want to understand if the candidate has had experience using data to make decisions.
You need to plan out the interview process, the questions you ask, and the way you score interviews. The goal is to collect data at every stage and then base the hiring decision on those objective metrics.
While establishing your organizational culture, you need to consciously avoid bias. We all have unconscious biases, shortcuts our brains use to make decisions based on past experiences. But if you’re not using data to make hiring decisions, your brain may use its unconscious biases to draw the totally wrong conclusion about someone, based on irrelevant criteria like a word they use or a nervous tic.
If you set up your interviews to be values-based, behavior-based, or skills-based, you will be able to craft interviews that reflect your culture. You will also be able to more accurately assess candidate culture fit. This will also help avoid bias-driven decisions and open your talent pipeline up to a more diverse array of candidates.
We hope this post can guide you while you assemble a data-driven recruitment strategy in your organization. What better way to approach this strategy than with a user-friendly and intuitive tool that helps you gather all the candidate data you need? We strongly recommend you try Freshteam for 21 days (it’s free!). Freshteam is all-in-one HR software that makes a recruiter’s life much easier by automating up to 80 percent of your workload. We are quite sure you’ll like it!
This article by Freshteam is built on the original article that first appeared on the Freshteam blog.
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