From recruiter to super-recruiter: why harnessing hiring data is key to maximizing your performance

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Contributor: Juliana Barela

If you work in talent acquisition, you’ll want to be the best-performing recruiter you can. To get results for your company. To impress your boss (and board). To boost your career. And for your own professional pride.

So what makes a high-caliber recruiter in today’s industry? And how do you become one?

I read an interesting quote on the topic earlier this year, from Julie Coucoules, the Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Glassdoor.

Commenting on a survey of 750 talent acquisition professionals, she said the best recruiters were those who had “evolved into part-sourcer, part-marketer and part-technologist,” and knew, “how to use data to understand and generate quality leads for open roles.”

The description, “part-sourcer, part-marketer and part-technologist” stood out for me. Who are these hybrid, super-recruiters? How and where did they evolve?

They sound like an exclusive, elite cohort found only in the top search firms, Silicon Valley start-ups and Fortune 100 employers.

But, in fact, there are recruiters using data in sophisticated ways for businesses of all sizes, all over the country. With the right tools in your hands, there is nothing stopping you from ‘evolving’ into a data-savvy ‘sourcer-marketer-technologist’. Here are three key points to consider.

1) Embrace the potential in data

It’s an acknowledged truth that HR professionals and recruiters can be daunted by data. There is just so much of it. Algorithms sound complex and scary to most of us (there aren’t many statisticians or math graduates in the profession’s ranks).

Moreover, HR has always been seen as a people business. Employers (and candidates) may prefer a more subjective, intuitive approach to hiring – even though the stats say that data-informed hiring delivers better results.

The good news is that you don’t need a high-level of analytical acumen to access data. Software can now give you all the information you need, without you having to manually prepare it. In effect, software is a shortcut to analytical expertise. At the same time, software can’t do the ‘human’ job you do as a recruiter. You can focus on making sense of the analyses, and on using your insight and experience to determine what actions to take.

2) Invest in the right hiring platform

This moves us on nicely to my second point. The early generations of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) were little more than automated response handling services. Today’s intelligent hiring platforms put a far more sophisticated suite of sourcing, screening, assessment and candidate management tools at your disposal.

If you’re looking to invest in a technology solution, look carefully at the data features on offer to ensure they will empower your sourcing activity.

So, for example, through user-friendly dashboards, you can evaluate and interpret real-time sourcing data. That enables you to see instantly which attraction channels are working, and more importantly, which are not. You can react rapidly, shifting your sourcing focus or spend accordingly.

3) Use data to make smarter decisions

Data is an invaluable resource in establishing role requirements. At Korn Ferry we draw on data to build highly-effective ‘success profiles’ – for use in identifying, screening and assessing candidates.

The latest AI screening tools (available on some hiring platforms) can even do the job of identification and screening for you – analyzing candidate potential not just from resumes, but from chatbot conversations, assessments and performance data.

By measuring candidates this way, you save time in shortlisting and build a stronger shortlist too. The Harvard Business Review published research showing that that using an algorithm increases the ability of recruiters to find the best qualified candidates by more than 50%.

50% is an impressive figure to improve your ability by.

There are further benefits downstream. Attrition rates have been shown to decrease by 35%, performance increased by 20%, and revenue per employee improved by 4%. Those are the sorts of numbers that will get your CEO excited.