Many factors impact the degree to which recruitment activities are successful, not least of which is how you harness the power of data. Recruiting data—about applicants, recruiting activity, and all related processes—can not only refine existing recruiting practices, but can also lead to novel ways of attracting candidates and filling positions. Considering the time and effort that go into recruiting, as well as the costs associated with making a bad hire, it makes sense to consider the many ways in which data can improve both hiring quantity and quality.

An array of analytics tools and resources can enable recruiting functions of any size to improve recruiting activities and achieve better results. Armed with data and analytics, you can make well-informed decisions and know exactly where candidates stand in the recruitment process. But data-driven recruiting is about more than implementing a new HCM (human capital management) platform. It also requires a careful selection of metrics, trusted partners, and other tools that position recruiting activities for future success. 

Choosing the Right Metrics 

In any discussion about HR analytics and data-driven recruiting, it’s important to cover what types of data and metrics should be measured. After all, recruiting data is only important if it can tell you whether or not certain recruiting actions are effective. Information about the rate of accepted offers, recruiting costs, and candidate experience ratings can provide important insights about the value of different recruiting activities. 

The list of metrics you choose doesn’t have to remain static, and it can grow or change over time as your recruitment activities evolve or shift in priorities. Some key metrics to track include:

  • Cost metrics: Cost per applicant and cost per hire
  • Timing metrics: Overall time to hire, time to complete background screening, and time to advance candidates from one interview stage to the next
  • Feedback metrics: Change in candidate experience survey scores and ratings from hiring managers
  • Conversion metrics: Applicants per opening, rate of candidate replies to interview invitations, rate of job offers versus acceptances, and pass-through rate (rate at which candidates move from application to hire)

With a defined set of recruiting metrics, you’ll begin to see patterns in recruiting activities and outcomes. From there, you can identify key areas for improvement as well as the tools that will help you increase efficiency, expand reporting capability, and make more data-driven decisions.

Types of Recruitment Analytics Tools

Many tools exist to help recruiters and business leaders track metrics and make sense of recruiting data. Tools for recruitment and HR analytics store and organize data, making it easier to identify historical trends and zero in on areas for improvement. Some of the most impactful HR analytics tools include:

Applicant tracking system (ATS)

On a basic level, the ATS stores candidate data and helps recruiters keep track of the applicant pool for each position. When you use its full functionality, the ATS can do much more than store data. It can be configured to screen and sort potential hires based on keywords and other parameters. The most comprehensive ATS platforms also integrate with other systems, such as background screening and onboarding platforms. Research shows that an ATS can dramatically change and streamline the recruiting process. In one survey of HR professionals, 94 percent of those surveyed said that recruiting software such as an ATS improved their hiring process. 

Background screening technology

It’s important to keep candidates engaged as they move through the hiring process, and the critical pre-hire stage is no exception. Background screening technology makes it easy for recruiters to request background checks, get status updates, and keep track of candidate background check results so that candidates don’t get lost in the shuffle.  Dashboard analytics provide a snapshot of overall screening program health by reporting on metrics such as turnaround time in relation to goals, overall turnaround time, and the criminal hit rate. Background screening technology also integrates with ATS platforms, and eliminates cumbersome communication (phone, email, fax) by streamlining the process into a single portal.

Candidate sourcing platforms

There are a wealth of platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed that help businesses source candidates, understand competitor hiring habits, and pinpoint passive candidates across geographies and job levels. Many platforms act as more than a vehicle for posting open positions. They can also use data and analytics to help organizations target candidates based on keywords and a broad range of candidate characteristics. 

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Social media

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have grown to be an important part of recruiting in the digital age. According to SHRM research, 84 percent of organizations use social media in recruiting and 9 percent are planning to use it in the future. In addition to its utility for posting job opportunities, many social media platforms also offer reporting capability that can reveal, for example, how candidate campaigns are performing and which candidates are clicking on job postings.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics can help identify which aspects of the company’s careers site are engaging the most candidates. The platform can also help to identify sections of the site that should be updated or reworked to attract more viewers and applicants. 

Survey tools

Survey tools collect feedback to help recruiters understand the candidate experience and how to make it better. Surveys can also be used to understand hiring manager needs and expectations and how to improve the partnership with them for greater success in hiring. Conducting surveys over time also allows HR teams to see how improvements to the recruiting process impact candidates and other stakeholders.

How Data and HR Analytics Improve Recruiting Practices 

Data and analytics highlight areas for improvement and reveal which recruiting practices deliver the most value. However, research shows that many organizations have a way to go in fully leveraging HR analytics and other tools in recruiting. A 2019 survey of HR and senior business leaders found that 46 percent are not using AI or analytical tools in recruiting and hiring. Whether you’ve been using data and analytics in recruiting for some time or are just getting started, it’s possible to realize the many benefits they offer, including:

Improved candidate experience 

Candidate data in the form of surveys and applicant metrics help to build an understanding of the candidate journey, including opportunities to make improvements that will keep candidates engaged. A great example of how analytics tools improve the candidate experience is in background screening. A positive candidate experience can erode when background screening takes too long; some candidates may even find another opportunity in the meantime. However, with the help of a dedicated and knowledgeable background screening partner, you can integrate background screening technology that streamlines background screening processes, reduces paper and email back-and-forth, and gets candidate background checks completed in a time-efficient manner. Your background screening partner can also regularly review screening program metrics with you and offer new solutions and insights along the way. 

Increased candidate quantity and quality

HR analytics provide more information about candidate behaviors and preferences, revealing which recruitment actions lead to better applicants. Acting on this information, you can not only attract more applicants, but you’ll also attract more candidates that are a strong fit for open positions. 

Better recruitment ROI

HR and recruiting analytics shine a light on which investments yield the best results. HR and recruiting teams can then dedicate more time and financial resources to areas that deliver the most value.

More insightful reporting 

Well-organized data yields reporting that drives improved decision-making. Regular reporting allows you to identify trends over time, including insights about what works and what doesn't work in the existing recruiting process.

Leveraging data and HR analytics helps to streamline existing recruiting processes and introduce new ones. Tracking and analyzing recruitment data can guide you towards the recruiting activities that deliver the most value to your organization and improve the candidate experience. With the careful selection of analytics tools, the right metrics, and reliable partners, you can improve recruitment practices and forge a clear path to achieving organizational hiring goals.

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