Talent Circles

Monday, July 28, 2014

How Data is Driving the Optimization of Your Recruiting Strategies

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Smart hiring is the key to optimizing your recruiting strategies. Less is more, but in candidate targeting instances, more custom engagements is best. Using surveys and focus groups either with recent new hires or current candidates, we can better understand what appeals to our job seekers and how many “touches” they must have before they apply for our job posting or join our talent network community.

I strongly recommend surveying and meeting with these candidates in addition to using reports, metrics and analytics to further support or shed light on your recent findings. In order to be a successful HR department a practitioner must understand the necessity of optimizing practices. With the amount of data available for most business practices, it’s important for the practitioner to be on top of how different recruiting strategies are performing.

On a very basic level practitioners look at how many hires they’ve had as a direct result to a certain campaign or strategy. However, we’re not living in the early 2000s anymore. Not only should practitioners be concerned about how many hires they’ve received from a specific campaign, but how long that hire has stayed at the company, how well their performing, the cost to hire that candidate, and many more data points. Even in the past five years data has become a strong driver in how practitioners optimize their recruiting strategies.

With the type of information available they’re able to see which strategies perform the best overall, no longer just looking at how the amount of direct hires that had resulted throughout the campaigns lifespan. When coming up with your next big push in recruiting it’s important to follow these few steps to get the most out of the data that’s made available to you.

Have specific goals in mind
It’s important for a recruiter to start thinking from a strategic or ROI-based perspective and see what they can be doing to increase their effectiveness. Before you start recruiting via job boards, social media, or any other avenue it’s important to think strategically and know your specific goals for picking different mediums. Post and pray was the archaic method of recruiting and it no longer works because of things like competition, candidate experience, and employer branding.

Knowing the right questions to ask
Most companies will start hiring and not know the basics of what they want to get out of each recruiting campaign. It’s no longer enough to say, “I want 5 hires as a result of this campaign.” The type of information available to practitioners allows the conversation to switch to “this is how much it’s going to cost me to hire a candidate this way, can we hire for cheaper?” The HR department serves an important function, but they aren’t given the credit they’re due. Having cost-per-hire information allows them to tie their department directly to the bottom-line of the company essentially allowing them to get their foot in the door when it comes to having a seat at the table.

Learning to use specific data to project future business outcomes
Not every recruiting strategy is going to be a winner. Learning to use past mistakes and data from previous campaigns will allow recruiters to avoid the same mistakes twice. For instance, if there is a trend of employees who were recruited from job boards having an extremely high turnover rate, it could be for several reasons. Using the data to justify spending money elsewhere or fixing an internal problem will go along way when developing strong employees and an even stronger candidate pipeline.

Data will tell you almost everything you want to know when it comes to recruiting. Using data to optimize your specific recruiting strategies will save your company money and show your C-suite executives the importance behind the HR department. With all the new tools and information out there it’s important to invest in what will give you your best return on investment.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell


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