The moment of matching a perfect candidate to an open position can be very rewarding, like fitting two puzzle pieces together. It is task-oriented and goal-centric. But, while that final goal is obvious, and while your talent acquisition team may already contain dedicated individuals passionate about what they do, there are a lot of markers along the path where the efficiency of the process can be optimized—from excellent sourcing to long-term employee retention strategies. Investing in data-driven approaches in HR can empower and shape the talent acquisition team by creating a more efficient, intelligent process. Essentially, metrics enable smarter goal-setting, which can both improve performance outcomes and create more dynamism.
Step 1: Collecting Data
The first step in a data driven HR approach is to collect data that supports your organizational goals. Collecting the right data, and good quality data is an important balancing act. You don’t want to invest time in collecting extraneous data, and you can develop a more robust data collection system by investing in technology that suits your needs (while keeping the data collection process streamlined.)
Quantifying the steps of the hiring process takes time and becomes more meaningful as you collect more data. For example, one part of the hiring process that you don’t usually associate with data is the interview stage. At first glance, the interview appears to have little to do with numbers. However, tracking the process over time, you can quantify how many days in the hiring process are devoted to conducting interviews or discover the interview-to-hire conversion rate.
Lastly, it’s important to consider that there are two types of interrelated data: data that helps you track the efficiency of your hiring process (like time to hire metrics) and data that helps you become more efficient in the future (like discovering your best source of hire).
Step 2: Making Meaning of the Data
This first year of data may not be meaningful. The data-driven HR strategy is a long-term investment, and you’ll want to initially establish a baseline upon which your talent acquisition team can improve. Keep in mind that part of the process is tweaking the process, and some numbers are only meaningful when you can get an aggregate view, connecting the dots between data points. What if you don’t need the numbers for the interview-to-hire conversion rate? Or what if that information is only meaningful to you when you connect that rate to the quality of hire? You can track these two data points over time and ultimately answer the key question: How many interviews do you need to conduct to get a quality hire?
Going beyond the initial step of data collection requires a bit more insight into how to make the data useful to you. For example, many data driven HR organizations use ATS tracking software to help talent acquisition teams organize applicant data for a single job. This applicant data can be valuable when you keep track of top-tier and second-tier candidates; a vast collection of quality applicant data can be used as a sourcing pipeline for future vacancies, which can ultimately help make future candidate searches more efficient.
Step 3: Crafting Strategy
Crafting strategy with the aid of data is simply smarter. In terms of budgeting and time management, the data can help guide the talent acquisition team to understand what’s working and what’s not. Where does your hiring process lag? Do you have issues in certain departments within your organization? Are you managing candidate experience well? Are your job ads performing well? Which candidate sources lead to the best quality hires? Once you have the metrics, you can craft better data driven HR strategies based on the numbers, setting micro-goals for different points in the hiring process exactly where you need to improve.
Step 4: Optimizing the Process
The balance between time invested in job campaigns and value added from new hires can give you insight to develop long-term strategies that harmonize quality and efficiency. There is no point in decreasing time to hire at the cost of quality of hire (which will have your talent acquisition team needing to fill and refill the same vacancies). When you connect the dots between time to hire, quality of hire, and source of hire, the metrics can help increase the efficiency of the talent acquisition team. They, in turn, can benefit from awareness of the process. Keeping data on how the team improves the process year to year helps continually improve efficiency.
The journey from data collection to optimization takes place over a long period of time. As you can now see, putting in the effort to set up a data driven HR process is worth it to ultimately grow your organization through one of your most vital resources: your talent.