Every business has experienced a bad hire. Whether a business overcomes or repeats that mistake depends on the approach driving their hiring decision. Relying on intuition entrusts the process to coincidence, not science. But adopting data-driven recruiting strategies promotes consistent results across talent acquisition. Here’s how cutting-edge companies boost hiring outcomes and surpass competitors. 


Clear Your Biases

People are far from impartial. Preferences and prejudices outside of our awareness influence our decisions. Even your typical expert operates under biased assumptions. If you ask Philip E. Tetlock, political scientist and co-author of Superforecasting, “the average expert [is] roughly as accurate as a dart throwing chimp.” It’s a sobering reality, but one that emphasizes the importance of data in your decision making.

If you want to see greater objectivity in the hiring process, look no further than Google. In their own data-driven recruiting process, they work to be as objective as possible. Jeff Moore, Head of Staffing – Consumer Hardware at Google, suggests digging deeper to find more actionable improvements from your data.

Take their approach to a dependable recruiting metric like time to hire. Conventional wisdom presumes that hiring faster results in less falloff and a greater candidate experience. Yet telling recruiters to work faster might not be the solution.

To illustrate his point, Moore broke down the time to hire into components and focuses on phone screen to on-site interview. Then, he creates metric baselines and reviews the data. In his example, the data suggests that the interviews, not the recruiters, held up the process. Though the goal is the same, the focus of the resolution would be completely different. That example illustrates how important it is to enter data-driven recruiting with your biases checked at the door.


Leverage the Right Data

In Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future, authors Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson asserts the importance of data analysis: 

“Careful selection of the right data inputs and the right performance metrics, especially the overall evaluation criterion, is a key characteristic of successful data-driven decision makers.”

Simple enough. Now let’s apply that line of thinking to the hiring process. In our experience, they’re any measurable attributes of your talent acquisition processes and strategies for both good and bad hires. The answers to these questions stand out most:

  •        What was the time to hire?
  •        How long between the interview and offer made?
  •       What is the acceptance rate?
  •       What was the candidate source?
  •       What was the cost of each new hire?
  •       What are the qualities of good candidates?
  •        What about bad candidates?
  •        Why did good candidates fall off during the process?

Organizations that analyze these data points excel at identifying hiring process improvements. However, they need to actually gather that data in the first place. Data-driven thinking needs to take root in your entire organization. Both HR and recruiting alike need to gather and input quality data in your applicant tracking system. Otherwise, you’ll only ever achieve inconsistent and unreliable results.


Pursue Precise KPIs

Effective data-driven recruiting is responsive, reprioritizing data based on evolving needs and circumstances. Though data gathering is best when broad, data analysis reaps better results when it is defined. Your definition of success – improving hiring processes – requires a little reverse engineering to pinpoint the exact performance metrics.

You want what all companies want when it comes to your IT workforce: the best people for the role and your organization. From there, ask questions that gauge the health of those key performance indicators:

  •        What percent of your hires are bad hires?
  •        What is your attrition rate?
  •        What is the average tenure of your team?
  •        Are projects delivered on time?
  •        Have your IT projects had a positive impact on the company’s bottom line?  

Your answers can help keep your hiring processes evolving and ensure that what you track actually results in a better quality of hire.


Bring It All Together

These recommendations constitute a shift in your organizational mindset. Though it’s an essential one to make, it’s not always an easy transition. Organizations going through this transformation often receive better results when working with an analytics team or information technology staffing agencies that comprehend how to leverage data within the hiring process. Either way, using your data proactively can reduce your likelihood of bad hires and maximize the results of your talent acquisition.

Want to improve your data-driven recruiting strategies? Download “The TriCom IT Talent Shortage Guide” for these and other hiring tips.


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