Recruiters Need to Drive Talent Acquisition Into the Future—Here's How Data Can Help
Recruiters: When was the last time you stopped and thought about why you do something the way you do?
Often, you don't usually pause to think about the "why" because talent acquisition is often viewed as an administrative function. The status quo is to keep the gears turning—candidates come in and you make hires.
But this static approach isn't doing you any favors, says Kyle Lagunas, research manager for the emerging trends and technologies in the talent acquisition and staffing practice at IDC. To keep bringing in the best candidates—which is getting harder by the minute in a candidates' job market—and have a larger impact on business goals, Lagunas says recruiters must do more.
We sat down with Lagunas to find out how recruiters can drive talent acquisition into the 21st century. He explained the importance of data in streamlining the hiring process and empowering recruiters to have a more strategic role at their organization.
What's the biggest problem in recruitment today?
Kyle Lagunas: Talent acquisition is in a period of transformation. Historically, it's a largely administrative function, and it's resourced like an administrative function.
Unfortunately, the capacity for evolution and transformation is undermined by the way we measure success. We limit it to efficiency and productivity, but these aren't words that get people energized or empowered to innovate. In this highly competitive environment, being efficient does not equate to being effective.
What's the key to solving this problem?
Lagunas: Data is a huge part of it—recruiters just haven't risen to the challenge yet.
Recruiters know they need to be more data savvy, or have a stronger data culture. But adopting that culture is a big challenge. Data has to be core to how they do their jobs, instead of the annoying box to check off at the end of the quarter when their director wants a report.
How can recruiters drive change with data that's already at their fingertips?
Lagunas: This question is important. Suddenly, recruiters are being asked to do much more. They're expected to be experts in candidate experience, employer branding, recruitment marketing, etc. But while the scope of the work has expanded rapidly, again, the way we measure success has not. Most of what they do is a shot in the dark. There's a lot to do to scale up data analytics.
I tell recruiters to start by measuring what you can with the tools at your disposal and at your current bandwidth. Once you get a sense of what you can consistently measure and report on, then move on to measuring what matters. What matters to you is a good start, but you can also talk to business colleagues, hiring managers and marketing teams. Find out what data matters most to them and how you can iterate it within your own function.
How will data evolve specific areas of talent acquisition?
Lagunas: Look at candidate experience. I see this as the foundation of modern talent acquisition, and it's something recruiters should've been held accountable for a long time ago. When data informs your strategy, it helps execute on a vision. You see what triggers drive desired outcomes instead of anecdotally saying, "Our candidate experience is pretty good."
Data also helps the hiring manager experience, which is important. Producing better reports and more consistent reports is one part of it. But then there's the ability to say to your hiring manager, "We're working on it. We have a few candidates so far, but my analytics predict we can get some stronger candidates."
That communication builds credibility. Suddenly you're speaking like a business colleague instead of an administrator. Data does more than transform the way we recruit—it transforms the way recruiters are viewed within the organization.
What are the long-term benefits of doing data-driven recruitment?
Lagunas: Data helps you understand what's working and what's not. It helps build a strong business case for investing in the things that work and helps move away from the things that don't.
Moving into the future and navigating this new world of recruiting shouldn't be guesswork. You can do it with confidence and with expertise, because you know what moves the needle. Without data, there can't be any meaningful conversations about what you're doing and why, and how it's changing.
You can say, "We have a growth plan for 2019, but looking at our pipeline now, we can tell we're going to miss our target for this new position. " When you can speak the language of business, you can get access to the resources you need. It helps make a case for investing in the right tools.
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