Data-Driven HR: How Big Data And Analytics Are Transforming Recruitment
2 July 2021
Recruitment is undergoing a lot of change thanks to data and analytics technologies. Automation is becoming a bigger factor in intelligent recruitment. New tools are emerging to help HR teams identify and assess the best candidates. And platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor give every employer, no matter how big or small, access to valuable big data.
I firmly believe that those HR teams who can seamlessly work with data are the ones who will recruit most successfully in the coming years. Let’s look at just a few ways data can help improve your recruitment activities.
Understanding and boosting your employer brand
A strong employer brand will make all the difference in your attempts to keep employees happy and attract the best talent into the company. One Risesmart study found that 84% of employees would consider jacking in their current job to move to an employer with a fantastic reputation – even if the salary bump wasn’t that big. So how can data and analytics help you develop a strong employer brand?
First and foremost, you need to know what you want your employer brand to be. What do you want your company to stand for? How do you want employees to feel about working for the company? What makes you different from other employers? Having identified this, data and analytics can tell you whether this brand image actually chimes with reality.
You can, for example, conduct sentiment analysis on interview and survey responses and social media posts to establish how successful your employer brand really is. Or, if your company goes through major changes, like a big restructure, you can measure employee sentiment before and after the changes to assess the impact on your brand.
Short, anonymous pulse surveys can tell you how likely employees are to recommend the company to others. Crucially, instead of taking the temperature once a year in a big staff survey, or asking the question in exit interviews, pulse surveys allow you to ask employees once a week, one a month or once a quarter to get a stronger sense of how they’re feeling throughout the year.
However, employer brand isn’t just about keeping your current employees happy; it’s also about how attractive your company appears to outsiders, including ex-employees. It makes sense, then, that a Severance and Workforce Transition Study showed that more and more companies are mining social media and employer review sites like Glassdoor after laying off an employee. In addition, feedback from anyone who has left the company voluntarily will also give helpful insights into people’s perception of your brand.
Focusing on the best recruitment channels
Most businesses use a combination of recruitment channels, typically including newspapers, headhunters, social media campaigns, online job sites and LinkedIn searches. With a range of recruitment channels to choose from, it’s important to have a clear understanding of which channels deliver the greatest return on investment, so you can focus your time, energy and budget accordingly.
The beauty of data is that it allows you to test your recruitment channels and measure their success rate in much more accurate ways. So, rather than focusing on obvious indicators like how many CVs you get in response from different channels (which only tells you quantity, not quality), you could look instead at more valuable indicators like how many offers were made to candidates from particular channels. Or you could assess your most successful employees in particular roles and pinpoint which channels they came from.
The point is to target your recruitment so you’re reaching exactly the kinds of people you want to attract. A good example of this comes from Marriott Hotels and its impressive social recruiting strategy. Marriott Hotels has the largest recruitment page on Facebook, with more than 1.2 million likes and thousands of people interacting with the page each week.
The page obviously lists available jobs, but it also beautifully demonstrates through photos and videos what it’s like to work for the chain. The company actively encourages constant engagement through likes and comments – and this is a two-way street, with Marriott responding to comments. Everything is designed to attract the classic ‘people person’ to Marriott’s employer brand and show the company off as a desirable place to work.
Identifying and assessing talent
Many HR professionals or hiring managers would probably admit that they make appointments based on gut feeling. But data and analytics are helping employers take the guesswork out of recruitment, and find more suitable people who will stay happy and in the position for longer.
Employers in every industry are turning to data, and tools such as Evolv and TalentBin allow them to crunch data in more ways than ever. Tools like this allow employers to find the best person for any given job based on their skills, interests and actions. In addition, big data and AI tools are increasingly being offered by vendors like LinkedIn to sift through candidates’ profiles and identify the most suitable people for a position. Which is just as well considering that 52% of talent acquisition leaders state the most difficult part of recruitment is identifying the right people from a large pool of applicants.
When recruiting a new candidate, personality and fit are just as important as skillset.
So, as well as thinking about the skills, qualifications and experience that are ideal for a specific position, you’ll also no doubt think about culture, fit and personality attributes. All this can be assessed accurately these days. It’s relatively easy to use analytics software to sift through potential candidates and find those with data points that best fit your ‘shopping list’ of ideal attributes – in just a matter of minutes. Of course, the final hiring decision will always come down to a human, but data and analytics can save a lot of time by narrowing the field down from maybe hundreds of candidates to the most suitable 10 or 20. This automation of certain processes frees up the HR team to focus on other activities.
JetBlue Airlines gives us one great example of data analytics being used to find the most suitable candidates. Previously, the company had focused on ‘niceness’ as the most important attribute for flight attendants. Then, after carrying out some customer data analysis with the Wharton Business School, JetBlue was interested to find that, in the eyes of their customers, being helpful is actually more important than being nice – and can even make up for people being not so nice. The company was then able to use this information to narrow down candidates more effectively.
Read more about how data and analytics are transforming recruitment, and other HR functions, in my new book Data-Driven HR. It’s packed with real-life examples and practical ways HR teams can deliver maximum value in our increasingly data-driven world.
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