Why the Best Recruiters Have Learned to Love Data and Technology

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May 3, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Recruiting is undergoing a technological renaissance. Veteran recruiters remember the advent of primitive databases that housed scanned images of hard-copy resumes, but the modern recruiter’s routine is infused with technology that helps them find and hire candidates faster and with higher success rates due to the ability to be precise in their approach.

Today’s best recruiters have embraced data to employ a precision approach to recruiting and hiring. But while 75% of companies believe using data and analytics in HR is important, only 8% feel like their organization is strong in this area. So what sets today’s best data-driven recruiters apart from the pack?


Using historical data to understand target candidates

The best recruiters look to data to develop insights on their ideal candidates and the market. Then they use those insights to inform their recruiting tactics.

The fact that we’ve been using tech in recruiting for many years now means we have a decent run of historical data to draw from, which can tell us more about the trends within the profiles of top-performing employees. With this data, we can answer questions like:

  • Where did they go to school, and what was their major?
  • What are their former job titles?
  • What roles have they progressed through over time?
  • What companies have they worked for along the way?
  • What other patterns and similarities do we see that may not be intuitive?

We can use data to develop in-depth candidate profiles and personas, to identify the top characteristics that predict culture fit and to pinpoint the recruitment sources that are giving us the greatest number of quality hires.


Taking a multichannel approach

The access we have to data has made people easy to find. Because people are easy to find online, the issue recruiters face is trying to capture the attention of candidates who are often overwhelmed by contact from recruiters in what is a very noisy marketplace.  The best recruiters have learned to use the data they have on a candidate to target them in a way that’s likely to stand out and get the candidate’s attention. This means understanding the target candidate is just the first step—getting the target to respond with interest is today’s big challenge.

Luckily, great recruiters know there’s data to help with this, and many of them recognize that they need to use their recruiting data the same way marketers use audience data to inform their work. These astute recruiters have taken a page from the marketing playbook by employing a multichannel recruiting approach for the greatest chance of a response.

By analyzing data from your ATS, career site, social media properties and all of the other relevant touch points throughout your candidate experience, you can identify and remove roadblocks at key conversion points. You’ll also get a more complete picture of your target candidate, which will help you step up your personalization efforts throughout the entire candidate journey.


Knowing how to leverage data for inbound and outbound tactics

Data-driven recruiters know how to use all of the data at their fingertips to continuously adjust their recruiting strategy and achieve the right mix of inbound and outbound tactics.

When inbound candidates come to you, the experience matters. Experiences need to mimic the experiences a consumer would expect from the world’s top brands. For example, your career site needs to be as seamless, beautiful and easy to use as the very best online retail experience you can think of. Insights gained from usability data and web analytics can help you optimize your candidate experience, so that each touch point is on par with your company’s highest priority consumer-facing experience.

One of the greatest values data offers is the potential for personalization, which gives you the opportunity to create an above-average candidate experience. You can use the data you have to serve inbound candidates the most relevant, personalized job postings and additional content specific to their location or field of expertise.

When it comes to outbound sourcing tactics, data-driven recruiters use the historical data they’ve amassed to fine-tune their candidate searches. For instance, if a notable percentage of your top performers came from a particular university program or previous employer, or if many of them held the same role at one point in their careers, you can use this insight to perform smarter, more targeted candidate searches. You can also focus your time on the sources that deliver the best hires and make your initial contact with candidates informed, personalized and human.

The recruitment industry is just beginning to scratch the surface of what big data has to offer. In coming years, new tools will unleash even more data capabilities. Those recruiters who beef up their data game today will be the ones leading the way into the future of precision recruiting.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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