The term Big Data is thrown around quite a bit in the world of human capital management, as advancements in technology make powerful data analytics tools more readily available for organizations of all sizes. The ability to track, measure, and collate myriad data points across the processes that keep your business running offers a unique opportunity to continually optimize and improve performance.

That is, of course, assuming you’re collecting and using the right data. In talent acquisition, performance measurements are often limited to efficiency. While this data is useful for planning budgets and managing time, it only begins to scratch the surface of much deeper process analysis.

I recently caught up with my friend, Chris Brablc, marketing manager of recruitment marketing platform Smashfly, to talk about the greater opportunity next generation recruiting analytics tools offer business leaders and their recruiting teams. I consider myself to be pretty tech savvy, but Chris schooled me on just how much value next gen tools like Smashfly bring to the table.

Measuring Efficiency vs. Gauging Impact

In the past, the amount of time and resources (including technology and man hours) required to do meaningful work in data analytics severely limited the number of organizations that even bothered to try.

This was especially true in talent acquisition, where reactionary recruiting methods placed greater emphasis on metrics such as time to fill, cost per hire, etc.

Now, however, the most effective recruiting organizations understand that efficiency metrics alone aren’t adequate tools for measuring performance in talent acquisition. As competition for talent has increased, more companies are investing in recruitment marketing and candidate engagement strategies and searching for ways to identify KPIs and measure ROI.

For many companies, “recruitment marketing” is limited to distributing job postings across various websites and tracking source channels. How many applicants are you getting for which jobs and from which sources? While this data helps justify budget allotment to your CFO, it hardly gives you any insights into metrics your CEO is most concerned about (quality of hire, time to proficiency, etc).

As Chris explains, “It’s difficult to collect and consolidate recruitment marketing data – and harder to make strategic decisions — with only a part of the picture.” That’s where recruiting analytics tools come into play. 

With Recruiting Analytics Tools, Big Data Isn’t Just for Big Companies

As I see it, there are two major value-adds for recruiting analytics tools. The first is most obvious: they track and monitor recruitment marketing data automatically and in real time – for companies of all sizes.

Automatically. 24/7. Without any help from your already busy recruiters.

Beyond core metrics, they track sourcing data so you know exactly where your most qualified candidates are coming from. They monitor the amount of time candidates are spending on your career site, and which search engine keywords are sending you the most traffic. They monitor the number of candidates searching and applying via their mobile devices. They monitor social media interactions and email campaign and advertising performance. They even gather candidate CRM and candidate experience data.

Data Does Not Equal Insights

The second value-add goes hand-in-hand with the first. A lot of talent acquisition vendors are offering more robust reporting functionality in their products – with an emphasis on user-friendly interface. From automatically generated dashboards for line recruiters, to deep reporting capabilities for leadership, the best products give users the functionality they need to translate data into actionable insights.

Lacking high-quality reporting capabilities, these tools would be little more than data miners. The strategic value of these tools lies in their ability to collate data and display it in a way that both baseline recruiters and company leadership can understand. With custom reports, companies can analyze past performance, monitor ongoing efforts, and plan for the future.

There are limitations to the ability of these tools to offer actionable insights. Many companies are still relatively new to the idea of recruitment marketing as a core component of successful talent acquisition, and many struggle to identify KPIs. Vendors in this space have their work cut out for them as they educate their client base in best practices and use cases.

Looking ahead, analytics and reporting tools have great potential in talent acquisition –in recruitment marketing and beyond. If there’s an area of recruiting analytics you’re particularly interested in, feel free to contact me: kyle.lagunas@brandonhall.com

Kyle Lagunas

As the Talent Acquisition Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, Kyle heads up research in key practices in sourcing, assessing, hiring, and onboarding - as well recruitment marketing, candidate experience, and social recruiting. Through primary research and deep analysis, he keeps today's business leaders in touch with important conversations and emerging trends in the rapidly changing world of talent. Kyle has spent the last several years offering a fresh take on the role of technology as part of an integrated talent strategy, and focuses on providing actionable insights to keep leading organizations a step ahead. Previously the HR Analyst at Software Advice, he is regular contributor on SHRM's We Know Next and TLNT, and his work has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Business Insider, Information Weekly, and HRO Today.

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