Data-Driven Recruiting: The Modern TA Approach

Data-driven recruiting may seem like an obvious concept to talent acquisition pros today:

That’s what the approach entails. But establishing such a strategy doesn’t happen overnight.

Rather, it takes a concerted team effort among recruiting leaders, talent specialists, and other hiring stakeholders to build a productive and predictable data-driven recruiting process.

As Research Innovations Director of Talent and Community Erin Fristoe shared during Ascend:

  • “You have to build it, have that practice built into your team, and have conversations regularly, sharing metrics and being transparent. Those are all really important parts of building muscle memory.”

Odds are you and your recruiting colleagues already have a lot of candidate and performance data in your TA tech stack. But ask yourself: Do you truly make the most of that data today?

Why developing a data-driven recruiting process should be a high priority for your talent team

While HR uses its own distinct data set to bolster its core metrics (e.g., decreasing the turnover rate and number of ‘bad’ hires made, tackling issues with onboarding), it’s vital for TA teams like yours to to improve metrics in each stage of their recruitment funnel:

  • Examine insights related to sourcing prospects and the application process at large to determine where adjustments can be made to get more qualified candidates ‘in the door.’
  • Inspect your candidate engagement data to learn what cadence and schedule of nurture emails (and perhaps texts) lead to the most conversions (e.g., opportunities created and advanced).
  • Review your interviewing technique to see if changes need to be made to get more prospective hires to accept offers (and even prevent them from withdrawing from consideration).

These are all clearly critical areas to focus on. But elevating your team and individual output in said areas is much more difficult when data isn’t infused into your decision-making.

The modern, data-driven approach for recruiting teams — accumulating (and, ideally, centralizing) data and taking action on their TA (and even HR) analytics — is a forward-looking, insights-centric approach to improving hiring speed, efficiency, and quality.

Here’s the simplistic version of data-oriented talent acquisition strategies we see Lever customers execute (and optimize) to achieve headcount goals and meet hiring quotas:

  • Step #1: Find candidates for open and future roles, based on historical data that denotes which sources and source origins lead to the highest-scored candidates and highest-quality hires.
  • Step #2: Engage each prospect them with individualized, well-timed messaging, in the form of automated nurtures — also regularly enhanced based on campaign-performance insights.
  • Step #3: Interview individuals of interest who respond to nurture emails in a structured manner — one that, at the end of the process, factors in feedback data from interview panelists.
  • Step #4: Use the insights gleaned during this entire process to decide which job seekers should be extended offers and which should be tagged and archived to potentially revisit later on.
  • Step #5: Rinse and repeat. Regularly revisit hiring dashboards that show progress (or lack thereof) with pipeline growth, offers, postings, DEI, and other essential recruiting areas.

In short, data-driven recruiting is far and away the preferred choice for today’s talent teams.

Why? Because they know relying on ‘gut instinct’ and sourcing mass quantities of prospects, regardless of quality, isn’t a viable or sustainable means to discover and hire top talent.

what is data driven recruiting

The starting point for your data-driven recruiting strategy: Upgrading your tech and processes

Gallup research from 2016 found “[t]argeted, data-driven recruiting, complemented by scientific interviews, is vital to a hiring strategy that positions companies for long-term success.”

Fast-forward to today, and this is still very much still the case for talent orgs worldwide.

That said, if you think every talent acquisition team with a data-driven recruiting strategy has perfected the approach (i.e., hires only the best of the best all of the time), think again.

As Renewal by Andersen Director of Talent & Culture Christina Schmit shared during Ascend:

Translation? Developing a data-driven recruiting and hiring process isn’t a one-time task. It’s an ongoing initiative. You’ll never reach ‘peak’ performance (however you define it) when it comes to taking advantage of your talent analytics to augment your acquisition efforts.

Consider these three Lever customers which have utilized their unified recruiting data to strengthen their short- and long-term talent acquisition efforts and improve their principal TA metrics — and how they continually adapt and evolve their approaches as needed:

  • Cogent Biosciences sped up time to hire/fill markedly by evaluating its full-cycle recruiting data in Visual Insights, our out-of-the-box talent acquisition analytics offering. This faster hiring — compared to when it relied on its legacy applicant tracking system — led to growth in other key metrics, such as job offer acceptance rate, and helped the business meet its hiring quotas in record time.
  • KPMG New Zealand balanced its need to accelerate hiring and desire to build more meaningful relationships with prospects by embracing LeverTRM. With our platform, KPMG NZ has been able to identify bottlenecks with its hiring process through in-depth data analysis. This enabled its TA org to rectify those issues accordingly and provide a better candidate experience to engaged talent.
  • Nortal wanted to drive down its hiring costs. That meant reducing its reliance on its recruiting agency — and taking ownership of it’s talent acquisition efforts top to bottom. LeverTRM-generated insights helped the talent leaders at Nortal make the case to their C-suite to ditch dependence on agencies and move all recruitment efforts in-house, which has led to faster and high-quality hiring.

The common thread among these businesses’ data-driven recruiting programs is twofold:

  • Their talent specialists all have access to their own candidate and performance data and know how to use those actionable insights to elevate their work (e.g., revisit where and how they source prospects, pinpoint problems with filling roles for certain teams or departments).
  • Their talent leaders have a holistic view of each recruiters’ activities. In turn, they can use that knowledge to address any issues with their recruiters and/or offer advice on how to optimize their efforts. For example, they can recommend a different nurture cadence (i.e., number of touchpoints featured in a campaign), if they notice clicks and applications from nurture emails are low.

Bottom line: By collecting high-quality data (not necessarily a high quantity), focusing on data hygiene and integrity (i.e., keeping your recruiting database ‘fresh’ and eliminating dated and irrelevant data points), and implementing clear-cut processes around taking action on that data, you and your talent team are set up for greater success with executing your daily recruiting activities and realizing your long-term hiring plans and growth goals.

Watch our data-driven recruiting roundtable from our 2021 Ascend conference to learn how three Lever customers use analytics in LeverTRM to elevate their talent teams’ performance.

Further reading