The “which came first?” question is age old but lately I haven’t been thinking about it in terms or the chicken or egg, but in relation to recruiting and how it evolved to where it is today. You can’t think about the current state of recruiting without considering the thing that drives so many of our actions and helps those outside our profession understand what we do: analytics. It’s not only become a way for us in the to track and measure how we’re doing but also to help our organization’s executives see the value we bring as well. But when it comes to analytic recruiting, which came first – recruiting analytics used to measure our efforts or analytics in recruiting used to guide what we do?
Rising to the challenge
As with any aspect of the business, it’s vitally important to be able to prove the value, worth and even cost savings that HR and recruiting provide. Specifically with recruiting,
the challenge is to provide business leaders with actionable information that helps them make decisions about investments, marketing strategies and new products. But where does HR fit in since much of what we do isn’t easily linked to dollars and cents? Fortunately, while HR may not be about the numbers, recruiting is perfect for the analytics game. Analytics in recruiting are a viable way to quantify the cost and the impact of recruiting and hiring programs and even HR processes. By looking at analytic, we can measure the success, or failure, of initiatives and show business leaders what worked, what didn’t and what the next steps should be. They also enable companies to track year-to year-trends and changes to critical variables. HR and recruiting is about much more than just recruiting analytics, but the numbers provide a way for organizations to measure the value of the time and money spent on HR activities.
Before it all began
Analytics as a measurement tool are nothing new – they’ve always been a way to evaluate, prove and plan. However, they haven’t always been used so heavily to measure recruiting efforts. Recruiting has grown and evolved into more than just job postings. We have more ways to reach candidates, build relationships and create candidate pipelines. Most important to this conversation, we have earned the recognition in our organizations and with that came the expectation of providing analytics just like every other department in the company.
But if you think back to before that all began, when recruiting was low key and seen as more of a cost center than a revenue generator, recruiting was still driven by numbers. Recruiters may not have been providing robust reports to executives and may have had far fewer tools with which they could measure, but it was still all about the numbers. In fact, recruiting has a history of being sales focused, evaluating measurements like number of calls made, prospects engaged, conversions produced and even employees retained.
From the very beginning, recruiting has been about analytics. This simple fact proves that we’ve been using analytics in recruiting far before we started using analytics to measure recruiting. So in the question of which came first, the answer has to be analytics in recruiting. Recruiters have been using metrics and analytics to demonstrate their sales effectiveness since the beginning of recruiting. Now we are expanding its use to help others become aware of the value of recruiting and further guide our strategy and vision.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.