How HR Uses Data to Recruit Talent

Use Data to Supplement Human Factors in Recruiting Talented Employees

HR data can help you recruit the proper candidates for your job.
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Many people go into a career in Human Resources because they enjoy working with people—not with numbers. However, it’s important for HR to use numbers to find and recruit the best candidates. HR data, appropriately used, can make a significant impact on your business and your ability to recruit.

You may think that recruiting good talent is all about relationships—and relationships are essential—but data can make your recruiting process better.

Using Your Internal Data to Help You Recruit Successfully

Most businesses have an HR Information System (HRIS) of some sort. You may also have a Human Capital Management Solution (HCMS) that gives you even better data. Regardless, you know how many employees you have, and you know what your turnover and growth look like.

If you’ve been growing at a steady pace over the past few years, you can predict how many people you’ll need to hire in the future. Tie that in with your turnover data, and you can figure out approximately how many people you’ll need to hire in the next year or so.

This data can help you plan and fill your talent pipeline. Remember, because good recruiting is about relationships, you want to build relationships with potential candidates in advance. This doesn’t mean posting fake job descriptions or interviewing people when you have no available positions; this means building relationships with potential employees through networking.

In this way, when you do have available positions, you have a slate of people who may be interested. Additionally, you get a good idea of what skills are out there, so you can look for gaps within your company and say, “Hey, I know we can get someone to do X, which will help grow our business.”

More Internal HR Data That Can Help You Recruit Successfully

Another source of internal HR data that can help you recruit effectively is internal survey data and exit interview data. What do your employees value? Are you providing that?

Why are people leaving your organization? Are they leaving for more money, promotional opportunities, or because your management team is ineffective? This information can help you determine what programs and policies work and which need fixing so that you can make your company more competitive.

Remember, perks are often locally based. Google may have fantastic perks and benefits for employees, but if your business is 2000 miles away, you’re looking at a different situation entirely.

Using External Data That Can Help You Recruit Successfully

How do you know that your salaries are at market rate? How do you know your vacation policy is competitive? You use data, of course, to make comparisons. Salary surveys, benefits surveys, and even looking at Glassdoor.com, can help you determine what benefits and opportunities make your business shine in the eyes of your potential employees.

Recruiting top talent requires you to know what market rates for salary are competitive. You can’t rely on your best guess, nor can you depend on a candidate’s preferred salary. She may say she’s looking for a salary of $75,000, and you may give her that, but if the market rate for the position is $90,000, you can bet she won’t stay with you for long. Plus, she’ll leave with a bad taste in her mouth. So, it's critical to make sure that you know your data when you recruit and hire employees.

Using data from your clients can help you do a better job of recruiting. What do your customers like and what do they hate? You want to look at this data and then hire people who will fix your customers' problems and perfect your strengths as an organization. If you ignore this data, you may focus on the wrong candidates who bring the wrong skills.

Data for Evaluating Candidates

HR has always looked at the schools the candidate attended, the degrees they achieved, and past jobs for their experience. All of this is data, but so much more data is currently available. HR can use aptitude or skills testing to make sure the candidate can do what she says she can do.

You can look at the skills that were demonstrated by previous successful employees and match them with the skills of your candidates. Using the data you have available can make it easier to figure out which candidate will be a better fit for the role.

An HR Data Caution

Data is awesome, but you are still working with humans. You may see that a benefits survey shows that most people in your field like to telecommute, but the star candidate sitting in front of you makes it clear that she prefers to work in an office setting. Ignore the candidate's need, and you may lose out on an employee who can help your business grow.

Using your applicant tracking system to sort through hundreds of resumes may make you think that you can find the perfect candidate who checks off every data point. You might, but it’s doubtful. Instead, remember that the good enough candidate is better than no candidate at all.

After all, you are still Human Resources and still need to look at the human side of the equation, even if you do enhance your recruitment role with data.