It’s certainly a challenging time for recruiters and talent acquisition teams. It’s no understatement to say that we are living through unprecedented times, which is probably why you’ve heard that exact phrase repeated across news networks, social channels, and blog posts over the past weeks, months, even years. But that is because it bears repeating. For the first time, there are more job vacancies than unemployed people. There’s a candidate shortage, with 79% of companies in the UK struggling to recruit new staff this year.

So, what next for HR leaders and hiring teams? How can they compete to attract and recruit the best talent in the current landscape? As we have discussed previously, marketing methodologies are increasingly being adopted by recruitment teams to build strong employer brands and position their organisations as attractive workplaces for candidates and potential applicants. But beyond branding, recruiters can emulate marketers in another way to boost the hiring process: the use of data analytics to drive decision making.

The strategic use of data has been crucial for marketing, sales, and product departments across businesses for years, helping them to deliver campaigns, results, and actionable insights. For talent acquisition teams looking to hire in a candidate-led market, the time to prioritise recruitment analytics is now.

With an Applicant Tracking System, there is a wealth of data and analytics that can be leveraged to improve the recruitment process, providing insights across numerous key metrics that can help businesses with everything from reducing cost-per-hire to building a consistent talent pipeline. Let’s look at how employers can take these analytics to make better, data-driven decisions and improve their recruitment strategy.

What are Recruitment Analytics?

Before we can dive into the potential that recruitment analytics have in impacting the hiring process, we must define what they are.

Recruitment analytics are the discovery and analysis of patterns for sourcing and hiring candidates. This essentially means the use of data to provide an explanation for the patterns that exist within your recruitment process.

An example of recruitment analytics would be to look at how many new hires make it beyond their probation period. A high number of leavers before passing probation could highlight problems with your onboarding and training or reveal issues with how you advertise and describe roles. It could also point to problems with the selection criteria for applicants. Only by analysing the data could you pinpoint the exact reason why so many new hires did not make it through their first few months. This is the value of recruitment analytics.

These analytics can answer a number of different questions regarding the hiring process, including:

  • What is the average cost-per-hire for a given department?
  • Which channel brings in the best candidates?
  • What stages of your recruitment process are most efficient?
  • What do your best applicants have in common?

The use of data analysis – or analytics – enables businesses to capture and interpret large amounts of data to drive business decisions and strategy. By properly implementing analytic techniques, decision-makers are then armed with insights that can impact the hiring process by helping recruitment teams understand things such as applicant conversion rates and uncover areas that need to be improved.

Embracing analytics is necessary for organisations looking to compete for the best talent, enabling data-driven decisions to optimise the hiring process and improve candidate experience.

The Benefits of Recruitment Analytics

Improved Efficiency

Analysing candidate data can help organisations to pinpoint bottlenecks within the hiring process and provide a better level of candidate experience. For example, is it taking hiring managers too long to respond to applicants, or is it taking too long to schedule interviews once the selection process is complete? Utilising analytics will allow companies to better understand how they are performing against their recruitment KPIs, help businesses to streamline workflows, and eliminate inefficiencies.

Reduced Recruitment Costs

Removing those inefficiencies will also allow businesses to reduce their overall cost-per-hire. Spending less time naturally means reducing the internal costs associated with recruitment. It will also allow organisations to focus on the channels that produce the best results. It may be that certain external recruitment agencies, social channels, or job boards are not producing the best candidates. With this data, recruiters can divert spending away from areas where they are seeing little return on investment, allowing them to recruit smarter and more cheaply.

Better Quality of Hire

Making data-driven hiring decisions means understanding what top candidates have in common, allowing organisations to identify them more quickly. It can also enable businesses build out criteria based on skills, experience, and location, allowing them to develop a more consistent talent pipeline with candidates who are better matched to the open roles available.

Improving the overall quality of hires for your business can also help to reduce turnover and improve retention.

Increased Diversity

Building a more diverse and inclusive workforce is the goal for many organisations, but without the right data, it can be difficult to benchmark current levels of diversity and track progress over time. By using recruitment analytics, employers can better understand which areas of the business are lacking diversity and enable them to break down demographics such as gender or sexual orientation at every stage of the recruitment process.

How to Get the Most out of Your Recruitment Analytics

Track the Right Metrics

Outside of critical metrics such as cost-per-hire and time-to-hire, there are numerous other recruitment metrics that can be beneficial for businesses to track.

Depending on the areas an organisation is looking to improve in the hiring process, source of hire, application completion rates, or first year attrition rates can also be extremely valuable, helping organisations understand where top candidates come from, the touchpoints during the application process with the highest level of drop-offs, or retention rates for new hires.

Tracking against different metrics will allow organisations to optimise the areas that need improvement and monitor their progress and make the requisite changes.

Collect the Right Data

Even armed with copious amounts of data, it may have no impact on your business or the hiring process if it isn’t relevant or right for what you are trying to achieve.

For instance, if you want to best understand where your best candidates come from, you can’t just collect data from one source. That would tell you very little about the other candidate sources, and at best, would only confirm the biases of the person collecting the data.

Equally, collecting data over only a limited period could skew any findings, failing to help you identify trends over time, entrenching short-term decision making.

The skill in analysing data comes from understanding what data to collect and how to apply that data to make the relevant changes.

Visualise that Data

Collecting all the necessary data on recruitment can be overwhelming; it can be difficult to interpret all the data you have and understand what to do with it. Without reporting dashboards to help you make sense of all the analytics, hiring teams run the risk of drowning themselves in data.

With Hireserve ATS, businesses gain a wealth of reporting tools to enable data visualisation. Dashboards allow talent acquisition teams to easily track the metrics most valuable to them and bring their data to life to gain more easily actionable insights.

Such a dashboard enables businesses to create engaging and accessible models for analytics, gain insight into their data patterns, and easily report against the metrics they are tracking.

Interpreting data can be challenging, and without the right tools to help businesses visualise and report on that data, it can usually end up gathering dust – becoming another worthwhile initiative in theory that teams simply do not have the time or ability to progress.

Plan for the Future

Utilising analytics, hiring teams can begin to prepare for the future based on the data they have collected. For instance, recruiters can estimate how long it will take to hire for a certain role, or how much it is likely to cost based on the time and cost associated with recruiting for similar positions previously.

Data can also be used to identify talent gaps and what positions will need to be filled to boost performance in certain teams.

Not everything can be planned for, as we have seen time and time again over the past few years, but data analysis can help to soften the blow of whatever challenges are lurking just around the corner.

If you want to learn more about how Hireserve ATS can help unlock the value of your data, book a demo today.

About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.