You want the best talent? Get the data!

The talent landscape is always reinventing itself, often quickly. Add some globalization and hyper growth, like Spotify is in, and I feel like half of everything I used to “know” suddenly turns useless from one day to the next. So I need data. New data. Reliable data. I love data.

You need reliable talent data to make great decisions

There are many ways of finding talent, which is the most effective? How much time should you invest on different activities as a recruiter? You can’t know for sure without data. You can guess and use your experience and intuition to make pretty good decisions. But to really know, and be sure to make great decisions, you need data.

Not all decisions are super important. Sometimes it doesn’t matter much which way you go. But without basing decision processes on good data rather than intuition, you won’t know which decisions that matter and which ones don’t. So basically, we need data in order to know where we need more data. And where we don’t.  

In order to really find the right talent, we need to optimize our work for cost and time, so we make sure we use our time and efforts where it really matters.

The big decisions are the ones about processes and methods

Finding and choosing the best candidate is central to us. It’s what we do. But in order to get there, to make sure we have the best possible conditions for doing our job really well, we need to be very systematic and organized about the processes and methods that back us up and paves the road.  So this is the first area where you need to leave the gut feeling behind, get talent data, and challenge your “truths”.

For example, where do you choose to publish your job ads and how do you know that’s the best place? The market will brag to you about exposure and click rates, but it’s only your own data that can tell you which channels give you the best turnout. Click rates mean nothing if the actual conversion rate from click to hire into your company is low.  

Do you know where your recruitment process bottlenecks are? Do you know exactly what is slowing you down or why sometimes fantastic candidates just seem to slip away? It could be bandwidth for interviewers or the people correcting the tests that you get back. But it could also be you don’t spend enough time sourcing candidates. Or maybe it’s the on-sites that consume too much time. And why are candidates dropping out or rejecting offers? Is it just because the process is too slow, or are there other reasons?

There are so many factors influencing the recruitment process. I say: measure those factors! Get on top of the process, start predicting and mitigating those bottlenecks so you can decrease time to fill and improve the candidate experience.

Data can also guide you on the macro level

Big decisions around company growth and where you look to acquire companies also get easier and better with good data. Don’t make your company lead team rely on just their gut when they take big decisions! Sometimes a long hard look at measurable factors like talent density, university landscape, competitor landscape, and labor laws will surprise you and prove your gut feeling wrong.   

As a Talent Acquisition expert, you own your data. It’s vital that you understand it, translate it, and apply it to your specific situation so you can help your organization take the right recruiting decisions based on it!

So, where do you get all this data?

This is a list of some metrics that are helpful to keep track of:

  • Configure your Applicant Tracking System so it gathers the data you need, and make sure you measure what is relevant to you. Track your funnel, hires, time to hire, referrals, candidate diversity etc. This is where you find most of the data you need to identify bottlenecks in your current recruitment process design.
  • Use Google analytics or other tools to measure your career site (if that’s your recruiting epicenter!). Understand the traffic, your audience, and where your visitors click through. Which sources feed traffic to you? Which of them are the most efficient in terms of actual hires in the end?
  • The tools you invest in must be also measured for performance and give you data. Using a sourcing tool? What value does it bring you? What would happen if you spent twice as much or not at all on that specific tool? And how much action are you getting through your LinkedIn or Glassdoor company pages? Maybe one is much more efficient than the other. Would you know it if it was?
  • Work with the rest of HR and gather more data. The HR system is a gold mine, the Compensation and Benefits crew will have important records, and the employee survey results are always useful.
  • And once your hires are in the door, how are they working out? Which ones get promoted and which ones leave quickly? Knowing how your hires behave as employees is key to improve the quality of your hires and really get great at finding the right talent for your company.


But remember: Don’t use the right data in the wrong places

In a global organization, you have to be extra careful. You can’t run Talent Acquisition in exactly the same manner in different places, when the conditions vary from one place to another. Sweden is not the US and the US is not Japan. Nowhere near.

Data from one place may or may not be applicable somewhere else. But if used correctly, your data will tell you in which areas you need a common practice and in what areas you need local ones. Data will narrow down the choices and make them easier to make.

As a Talent Acquisition expert, you own your data. It’s vital that you understand it, translate it, and apply it to your specific situation so you can help your organization take the right recruiting decisions based on it!