“Data” and all of its associated phrases (Big Data, Data Visualisation, Metadata…I could go on) have been at the top of every Recruitment buzzword list for a while now. If used properly, Data has the potential to turn the Recruitment Industry entirely on its head. The traditionally subjective recruitment model is no longer fit for purpose in an era where we can easily access a goldmine of data to make evidence based decisions. Recruiters have a colossal volume of information at their fingertips, and that’s all well and good for the technically-gifted among us, but the question is, what does Data actually mean for the Recruitment Industry and how can we harness its power?

The problem is that we’re at the risk of just frivolously throwing the term “Data” around without fully comprehending what information within the vast, ever-changing sea of available data is actually useful and how it can be manipulated to produce meaningful insights. Historically, Marketing teams have taken ownership of data analysis, but as times are changing and all Recruiters are in theory marketing themselves as a “mini-business” so the accountability falls on them to also understand the data that could make or break their success.  

We’re bombarded with information from multiple sources including social media, online networks and our own databases. LinkedIn, Twitter and GitHub offer a feast of information and platforms like TalentBin, 3Sourcing and uberVu via Hootsuite help to make social analytics understandable in layman’s terms. Recruiters can gain insight in to candidate behaviours – when, where and how people are interacting with content and adverts as well as monitoring click-throughs from social sites to discover where their traffic is coming from. Simply having a presence on social media platforms isn’t enough to be ahead of the curve, Recruiters need to access and analyse the data to improve candidate engagement and create targeted attraction strategies.

Another issue is the actual quality of the data supplied to us by candidates. People are increasingly reluctant to volunteer certain types of information and sources of data like dropdown menus are often inaccurate.  Candidates are far more concerned about if their CV lands in the hiring manager’s inbox, rather than whether they’re spelling their location correctly or accurately identifying where they heard about the job – they don’t come to your careers page to provide you with data. To this end, Recruiters can’t just rely on the polished metrics print-out provided for them by their swanky ATS system, because it’s not ever going to be as up to date or accurate as other sources of information.

Recruiters need to be aware of how people are engaging with them, and not just on a basic level. We need to be asking questions - Who has retweeted your content? What time are people most likely to open your email? Which job boards are the best candidates using? Who has looked at my web advert but NOT applied? Once you start to drill down in to this information, that’s when tangible results will start to manifest themselves. Software like Broadbean automates multiple online job posting, and allows performance measurement on where applications are coming from. We’re also faced with the problem that many of our data sources don’t “speak” to each other, making it difficult to collate all the relevant information in a digestible way.

Most social media platforms have their own, albeit quite basic, analytics that are easy for anyone to use. There are literally hundreds of tools online that can help to understand other sources of data – SideKick by Hubspot, for example, is a fantastic piece of software that allows you to analyse how people are engaging with your emails. This kind of information allows the user to create an accurate profile of their audience, and adjust their approach accordingly.

Tackling this type of information isn’t purely a job for Marketing anymore - Recruiters should start taking responsibility for understanding the data that affects them, and utilising it to develop tailored methods of attracting and engaging the best talent. Data drives everything in the recruitment process, and used properly is can cut cost, time and effort in the hiring cycle - and make your jobs that little bit easier! 

Feel free to let us know your thoughts or how you make sense of your own data on Twitter @burnssheehan.


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