4 Reasons You Need Data-Driven Recruiting

Do you remember Blockbuster, Kodak, or even Nokia?

Let me guess. You haven’t heard these companies in quite some time.

These companies each lacked innovative and creative ideas because they were comfortable with their current status in the market.

We all know where these companies are today.

For Blockbuster, Kodak, and Nokia, this lack of urgency to innovate and update their systems ultimately led to their downfall.

This same concept goes for employer branding. If you are using old-fashioned recruitment processes, there is a high chance you will end up wasting your time and resources, interviewing unqualified candidates. This not only will negatively affect your brand sentiment and employee morale, but it will cost your company time, money, and resources.


It is not too late to make a change. Yes, 2019 is coming to an end, but the shift to implementing data-driven recruiting is still reasonably fresh in the market. Using data on candidates to create recruitment strategies has proven to make the entire hiring process from start to finish remarkably smoother, cost-efficient, and more accurate than the traditional methods.

So let’s get into the juicy details.

What is Data-Driven Recruiting?

Data-driven recruitment is the process of optimizing the candidate’s journey from awareness to consideration by leveraging data on the candidates you want to recruit.

This data-driven recruitment process could take the form of external or internal data collected on candidates. While many Fortune 500 Companies have an abundance of internal data available on their candidate process, that doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to make strategic decisions that will yield better results. When we apply a data-driven mindset to recruiting, identifying which campaigns and channels are producing the best hires becomes much more manageable.

But even if you could understand which channels or campaigns the good hires came from, how would you optimize them? How would you know what content to continue producing on that channel year after year?

As candidates are changing, so is the data! By analyzing that data, you get to know more about your candidates and which ones, in the end, become your employees. Having that data is an essential strategic asset in your recruitment process.

To help you fully understand the benefits of using a data-driven recruiting, we’ve compiled a list of 4 benefits of implementing a data-driven recruitment strategy.

1. Improve Quality of Candidates Applying

The hiring process can become very tedious and overwhelming when you have to handle 100 ́s of job applicants for one position. But what if you could remove the unqualified candidates from the list?

By tailoring your talent communication strategies on all your career channels with data collected on candidates, you can improve your chances of attracting the right candidate the first time around by targeting their needs and preferences.

There is no need for an outside staffing and recruiting agency when you have all the information on what the candidates want. Curating your talent communication strategies on your career channels to appeal to your desired candidates will drastically improve your chances of hiring the right candidate over and over again.

Hiring the very best employees time and time again will significantly improve your company’s performance, both short-term and long-term.

As an employer, if you can understand which channels your desired candidates look for career-related information, then you can create a strategy that guides the very best candidates down your funnel. Data-driven recruiting can make that happen.

Within the HR sector, we also see the rise of ambassador marketing programs. Using your network to find new employees has many benefits. People find job postings from their network more trustworthy, which, in turn, has a positive impact on the number of applications a company receives from their job posting.

2. Reduce New Hire Cost

With the right set of data, you will be able to optimize your best hires by channel. A study by LinkedIn has shown that companies with a stronger brand see a 43% decrease in hiring cost.

To start to reduce new hire costs, focus only on the variables and channels that lead to the best hires. On the flip side, you also need to eliminate as much waste or churn as possible throughout the process.

Once you have collected data on candidates and your hiring process, the next step is to identify which channels are producing the best hires — focusing your recruiting efforts on these channels. By trimming the fat in your traditional hiring process, you will be able to save money on the channels that are not producing quality hires.

After you determine which channels your ideal candidates are on, it is crucial to create customized content that is attractive to them. By providing content that candidates value the most, you will be able to guide and prioritize what changes you need to make on your channels. And, more importantly, how you can position yourself as an employer in the marketplace. If you prioritize and tailor your content to your ideal candidate, you will increase your chances of hiring the right candidate the first time around and ultimately decrease long term costs associated with bad hires.

3. Decrease Hiring Time

From the moment a candidate recognizes your company as a potential employer to the point when they finally click the apply button, is called the candidate’s journey. To optimize your candidate journey, maintain a smooth and time-efficient hiring process.

Candidate Funnel
Awareness – Social Media Channels/Review Platforms
Interest – Career Opportunities/Work Culture
Consideration – Career Website/Offer to Candidate
Application – Mobile/ATS/Applying Online

Once you have defined your funnel, it’s vital to have the right measuring systems in place. Using a data-driven approach in your hiring process will allow your team to create a candidate funnel that optimizes the needs and preferences of your desired candidate during each stage.

Communicating clearly with your ideal candidate allows them to work their way through the funnel more quickly.

Your content from throughout the candidate journey should tell a story that resonates with qualified candidates and leads them further down the funnel. In doing so, hiring the right candidate will occur much quicker.

4. Improved Candidate Experience

Attracting and converting your desired candidate requires a flawless candidate’s experience.

It’s not only important for a company to create the ultimate employee experience, but also a fantastic experience for your recruits. Even those who don’t make the cut should still be treated as if they were one of your employees from the start.

Going back to the candidate funnel of awareness, interest, consideration, and application, there are many steps you can take in each part of the funnel to ensure that candidates have a positive experience.


Social media has become one of the most important ways to attract and nurture candidates. It has changed recruitment for good. To provide guidance in the jungle of channels and where you should focus your efforts, utilizing data and external surveys will assist in making these strategic decisions. By delivering content that showcases your workplace and what being an employee at your company is like, you will give candidates a definite feeling of acceptance and desire to be there.


To properly get a candidate interested, they have to see something they like about the company. By tailoring your strategies to the candidates’ needs/preferences, you are thereby providing appealing content that would spark further curiosity in applying to your company.


The Career Website is the heart of the candidate experience, where you can showcase your organization and really stand out. It’s often the place where decisions for or against an application are taken, and where making an impeccable offer should occur. In this stage, you should hold nothing back about your company and play all your cards.


The application process is crucial, from a job ad to application submission. What causes dropouts and is your ATS provider keeping up with the latest developments are the questions to be asking. Staying updated and current is vital to finalizing the application process. No one wants to apply to a company that looks outdated, boring, and slow.

Still not convinced?

Whatever your company recruiting methods are, the age of data-driven recruiting is already here, and it’s not going anywhere.

Remember, when I mentioned Blockbuster, Kodak, and Nokia? Don’t be them. Be better, and stay on the offense!

Companies will only continue to evolve the hiring process by finding new and innovative ways to hire qualified candidates more efficiently, thus making it harder for companies who lack this to survive. There are plenty of different strategies you could derive from using data on candidates. Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Recruiting Analytics: Reducing Your Hiring Timeline

As a recruiter, it can be difficult to manage a large number of candidates and the data that comes along with it to make your department more efficient and in tune with the candidates you attract. The deeper you dig into the data the more your actual recruitment practices fall by the wayside. So, in order to make sense of all of the data and all of the information within the candidate files, you need the right tools to get the job done. Your recruitment department needs an intuitive recruiting platform.

Aggregate Data from Recruitment Software

Applicant tracking systems, human resource information systems, and the like are all invaluable tools for the recruitment field. While these are wonderful applications for recruiters, they often don’t communicate to produce the data recruiters need to improve their processes.

While an ATS is vital to the recruitment process, 54% of recruiters are not completely satisfied with the capabilities of the platform. Adding a supplemental program that aggregates the data from recruitment software like an ATS into one digestible piece of information takes a large portion of the administrative burden off of recruiters. Adam Ward (@wardadamp), Recruiting Lead at Pinterest, said:

“As recruiters, we can download the data we need, manipulate in a way to show leading indicators for clients and hiring managers. That puts everyone in a better position to make sure we’re getting the best talent.”

Analyze Candidates

Big data is a concern for many organizations as the growth of information explodes. Careful insight into who you recruit can play a big part into the success of company hiring decisions later on. Diversity is a growing buzzword in the recruiting space, and with the EEOC and OFCCP tracking statistical significance, it’s vital organizations pay attention to candidate data. Because data analytics can be very complex in human capital management, it is essential organizations prepare their recruiting departments have the right tools and personnel in place. McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the U.S. alone will be 1.5 million data analysts and business managers short of being able to use this information in merely 6 years.

Evaluate Recruiting Costs

What better way to assess the effectiveness of your recruitment practices than evaluating the cost? It sheds light into areas in which the department can save money and time. The current average hiring time is about 25 days. That means extra time hiring, which ultimately means more money in recruiting. If that amount of time doesn’t agree with your recruitment goals, you need a tool that accurately helps you decipher the data that tells you how much you currently spend and where you could save. John Burleson (@jwburleson), Marketing Content Manager for Randall-Reilly, said:“Recruiting drivers is more than just getting enough applications to find the drivers you need. Your campaigns need to be as efficient as possible. Breaking down your cost per hire by channel can give you a better idea of where your most qualified applicants are coming from, even if it is primarily from one source. It can also help you identify which tough points are effectively driving these qualified drivers to apply for your positions.”

“Recruiting drivers is more than just getting enough applications to find the drivers you need. Your campaigns need to be as efficient as possible. Breaking down your cost per hire by channel can give you a better idea of where your most qualified applicants are coming from, even if it is primarily from one source. It can also help you identify which tough points are effectively driving these qualified drivers to apply for your positions.”

The effectiveness of the recruiting department is ranked on how quickly they attract candidates and how precise their efforts are. To gather this information, you need a platform that collects this information from each of the recruitment systems your department uses. Acting as a medium, this platform will communicate with these systems to analyze and interpret important information for recruiters. What does this platform need to be effective? It has to be able to gather information and analyze it, as well as track recruitment effectiveness and evaluate the cost of recruiting.

Are you ready to take the administrative burden off of your recruitment team?

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6 Strategies To Improve Hiring Using Data

Bringing in the right human resources can make or break the success of an organization. Making good hiring choices increases productivity, and improves a company’s bottom line. Making poor hiring choices can lead to costly mistakes, high turnover, and a damaged professional reputation.  With such high stakes, is it surprising that so many organizations continue to make hiring decisions based on informal interviews and “gut feelings.” Using objective data points in the hiring process has been proven to help companies make better hiring decisions (Schmidt and Hunter, 1998). Here we discuss six ways you can incorporate data to improve your hiring process.

1. Measure Your Recruitment Effectiveness

Do you know your applicant-to-hire ratio? How about the diversity of your applicant sample? Monitoring the selection process from the time an application first arrives, to offer acceptance, will help you understand how your recruitment process is functioning. Consider the following diagram:



*From Cascio, W. F. & Aguinis, H. (2011). Applied Psychology in Human Resource Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

While this diagram focuses on the number of candidates necessary to get from a lead to a hire, this model can be used to measure applicant diversity, recruitment source, and many other recruitment statistics. Understanding your recruitment yield pyramid will help you identify gaps and develop strategies to recruit the right number and right kind of candidate.

2. Choose The Right Assessments

Incorporating a testing phase into your hiring process provides objective data useful for comparing candidates based on their qualification and fit for a job. However, not all tests are created equal, and they will not all be equally effective in all situations. Use data about the organization and the job to choose the right test. A job analysis, the scientific process of defining a job, will allow you to identify the duties, requirements, and critical competencies for a specific job or group of jobs. This information can be used to choose assessments that best match job requirements and will be predictive of later job performance.

3. Measure The Whole Person

It’s tempting to think that if you hire the smartest person or the one with the highest GPA, that person will turn out to be the best employee. However, there are many aspects of a person that create success. Just because someone excels in statistics does not mean that person will be able to present work to clients, and just because someone can negotiate deals does not mean that person excels in identifying problems and building solutions. Measuring a plethora of important qualities will help you understand candidates from a more complete perspective, and allow you to differentiate between many potentially strong candidates to find the best fit for the job.

4. Monitor The Effectiveness Of Your Selection Program

After you implement a hiring process, don’t “set it and forget it.” Track and adjust your process over time based on data. Gather data on hired employees including performance, sales, and turnover, and other job-relevant metrics. Combine this outcome data with predictor data like test and interview scores to adjust the scoring on your hiring process over time. This will allow you to maximize the number of qualified hires and minimize the number of unqualified hires.

5. Measure ROI

The cost of a bad hire is high. Lost productivity, mistakes, and the cost to recruit, onboard, and train a new hire can far surpass an employee’s annual salary. The Society for Human Resource Management created this worksheet to help organizations quantify exactly how quickly these costs add up. Designing an effective hiring process may have an up-front investment, but that investment is small compared to the return of a strong hiring program. By comparing hiring data to critical metrics for success, you can demonstrate the financial impact of a good hire. Consider the following example:


By implementing a test designed to predict sales performance (choosing the test based on relevant data) and comparing test scores to sales over the course of one year, you can objectively measure the financial impact of the testing process to the company’s bottom line. The positive effects of a data-backed hiring process can far surpass the set-up investment.

6. Create Development Programs Post-Hire

For many selection measures, the results can be used to inform future training and development. This is particularly true for the use of work-focused personality tests, which give insight into traits like ambition, persistence, social-boldness, flexibility, teamwork. This information can give managers a head start to understand the strengths and weaknesses of new employees, and incorporate that information into development plans from the start.

Together, these strategies create a hiring process incorporating data at all points from application through hire. Using data to support and inform hiring will help you identify gaps, hone in on ways to hire and develop the right people, and give you the ability to show the impact of a strong process to the company’s bottom line. These six strategies provide a start to using data during the hiring process, and can open the possibility of using data throughout the employee lifecycle. 

About the Author: Erin Wood works as a Talent Measurement Consultant at Performance Assessment Network (pan), where she focuses on developing, implementing, and validating programs for employment purposes. She holds a master’s degree in I-O Psychology from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis.

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