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Data, data everywhere but...

Ed Allnutt, MD EMEA at Xref

We’re not sure what the question is but the answer almost certainly involves data analytics. The problem is that everyone now seems to be a self-certified data scientist with an apparent deep understanding of statistics. As Anchorman’s Brian Fantana famously said: “They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.” It may be a quote from a fictional character about a made up cologne (Sex Panther), but the point is valid; people believe statistics, often regardless of the quality of the dataset.

How does this link to human resources and recruitment? Chances are if you have ever worked in recruitment - especially agency side - you know all about KPIs, conversion rates and percentages. That being said it still surprises me how many people think a 10% reduction of a 20% fee means a 10% fee and not 18%; worth a try I suppose. Dig a little deeper past these stats and there is so much more that most recruitment businesses and internal teams could do with the data they are collecting, often unknowingly.

From the very start of the recruitment process there is data such as where and how did the candidate apply? This helps to decide where best to focus future efforts and advertising. For businesses that have to proactively source talent, how and where did your resourcing team initially find candidates? Again this helps to focus effort and maximise resource efficiency. As an organisation or recruitment team do we know whether the candidate found us or did we find them? Was there a pattern to when we were looking or when they were searching? How did they choose to make contact? Lots of data is generated at this initial stage of the process.

Fast forward through the process a little. You think you’ve found the right person. They’ve passed all of the assessments, checks and tests you’ve thrown at them - plenty of data generated there too. Surely the hard work is over? Get the offer out! But wait, you know that you need to keep that candidate engaged to prevent them from dropping out, a counter offer or being poached by a competitor at the eleventh hour. You’ve also got to start that arduous process again from the beginning for your next critical vacancy. After all you’ve got numerous jobs that need filling. How can you make it easier and more efficient this time around? Ask yourself, what did I learn? Often we overlook the huge amount of information the recruitment process unearths and how much this can help us focus our efforts.

If an internal recruitment team had access to the right data and learnt from each hire surely they make a huge improvement to their own efficiency? If over the past 12 months you’ve hired 20 people into your IT department or perhaps 200 into your call centres, that’s a lot of data. Answers to the following questions are just part of the data we should be collecting and using to focus our recruiting efforts.

Where did they come from? How did they find us? Where did they study? Where did they work? Who did they work with? Who were their references? Who did they tell about us...?

Individually, it’s easy to see the relevance of the questions above but the power of their combined answers, correctly applied, is possibly game changing.

Take referencing, this is often an afterthought or overlooked as an activity that generates insightful data. It shouldn’t be this way. Businesses using state-of-the-art online referencing platforms have 24/7 access to a range of insightful data. They can quickly identify which companies they tend to hire from, which universities they may have attended and much more. Being able to identify not only multiple instances of the same previous employer but also of referees offers huge value to recruiters. If you’ve had the same person act as a referee for several hires surely they should be the first person on the ‘go to’ list for that next hire. How was the referee treated during their experience of providing a reference for your business? Was it positive? Were there any soft selling opportunities missed?

No doubt the growth of data business within the HR and recruitment tech scene will continue over the coming years. If the answer we seek to our business challenges is within data analytics, all we need to do is collect the relevant data and then figure out what question we need to ask...

Picture (top right) courtesy of Pixabay

Picture (above right) Ed Allnutt, MD EMEA at Xref

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