Data’s Expanded Role in Recruiting
How Data Management is the New Secret Weapon for Today’s Top Recruiters
It’s Not the Interview, It’s the Data!
Okay, it still is the interview. You can’t be a successful recruiter if you’re incapable of engaging with candidates, seeing past their resume, sizing them up and positively influencing them. Never.
But the truth is, no matter how great you are at interviewing, it’s just not enough anymore.
Even Google, who famously invested in an ambitious 2006 study to create the perfect set of interview questions, had thrown the towel on most of them by 2013, including their infamous “brainteasers.” In an interview that same year with the New York Times, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, Laszlo Bock, said “…we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.” (He hastened to add, however, that behavioral interview questions were highly productive.)
Today, the new frontier in recruiting is data – and the new challenge is turning that data into actionable information.
Sure, we’ve always looked at “the numbers” to track the successes of our new hires – after the fact. We’ve also used data – like GPA’s, compensation histories and, in some cases, sales figures. But at the end of the day, our use of those numbers has traditionally been limited to our “tummy feel” reaction to an individual candidate’s performance data.
That’s not what I’m talking about here.
I’m talking about intelligence gathering and analysis that allows us to truly understand the success profiles for key roles and to identify the candidates who most closely possess them. The truth is, there is so much rich data available that we’ve barely scratched the surface of its usefulness. But more and more companies are using data to predict the successes of potential candidates – and make more demonstrably successful hiring decisions based on that.
If this sounds intimidating to you, believe me, you’re not alone. According a recent LinkedIn survey, fully 34% of respondents stated that the greatest barriers to using data were that they were either unsure of where to get it or unclear on how they’d use it once they did get their hands on it.
But I have a prediction: this time next year, that number will have shrunk dramatically. Here’s why.
First, new tools are emerging every day. I’m not just talking about vast, unwieldy mountains of data. I’m talking about a growing number of innovations that give organizations and recruiters access to rapid, robust analysis of that data. LinkedIn itself is already promoting its soon-to-be-rolled-out application, called LinkedIn Talent Insights that promises to provide “self-service” access to the kind of big data that could help identify the best fits for key roles.
In the meantime, however, you already have access to a goldmine of information. You just might be using it. The LinkedIn study found that, increasingly, companies willing to look for and leverage whatever data is available. And they’re working hard to slice it, dice and figure out what it means so they can get a better grasp on retention challenges, skill gaps, and offer strategies.
Where do they find this data?
They ask their employees! Do you conduct 360-degree reviews or gather other types of 360-degree feedback? If your answer is yes, what are you doing with all of that raw data after it’s used to examine each individual’s performance? What about employee surveys? Are you asking the kinds of questions – and applying the level of analysis to the responses – that allow you to examine retention-critical measurements such as culture fit and motivation? How important are promotions, job titles, compensation and other benefits to the highest performers within each role?
What does all of this mean for you? It means that, no matter how well or poorly you or your organization are using data today, isn’t nearly as important as your willingness to embrace it going forward. The days of succeeding on your instincts alone are drawing quickly to a close. The data exists and even if you refuse to leverage it, your competition will. More importantly, though, you should know this: it also doesn’t matter if you’ve never really seen yourself as “the numbers person.” Refuse to let the words “data” and “analytics” intimidate you. We’re still in the people business. You’re core skills are still necessary. Now you just need to show those numbers who’s boss.