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Use data to improve recruiting

Posted by Chad O'Connor  March 18, 2014 06:00 AM

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With more than 60 percent of US CEOs planning to increase headcount in 2014, making better use of data to hire top talent should be a key priority for employers. However, much of the recruitment technology available today falls short of businesses’ needs, contributing to persistent skills gaps and stunted business growth. What’s needed is a fresh approach that fuses today’s advancements in data analytics with proven recruitment approaches of the past.

Evolution of Recruitment Technology and Shortcomings
Over the last two decades, tremendous progress has been made in applying data-driven insights to the hiring process.

Beginning in the 1990's, pioneers in online job boards like Monster and Career Builder provided employers with a single channel to reach a broad and geographically-dispersed candidate pool. Still, the rate at which employers have successfully secured new talent via job boards hasn’t improved significantly over the last decade. According to research from CareerXroads, the rate of successful hires from job boards has remained at around 10% since 2002.

By the early 2000's, job search aggregators such as Indeed and professional social networks such as LinkedIn offered employers access to millions of potential employees, including valuable passive talent. Increasingly advanced search capabilities have allowed employers and candidates alike to find one another more efficiently. However, with well over 250 million profiles on LinkedIn alone, the time and resources required to pinpoint best-fit talent continues to challenge employers.

Additionally, inaccuracies in both job descriptions and candidate resumes have hampered the effectiveness of even the most advanced search tools. When a job gets translated to the black and white of a text description, nuances get left behind. Invariably, key skills get left off, leading to mismatches and low success rates.

More recently, there has been a proliferation of matching technologies created to connect employers with candidates using Big Data and advanced analytics. These technologies are increasingly effective at uncovering passive talent; however, inaccurate and incomplete data contained in candidate profiles and job descriptions continue to hamper their accuracy.

While these digital advancements and technologies have paved the way for significant progress, they have yet to fully harness one of recruitment’s most powerful resources: agency recruiters.

The Power of Search Firms as a Source of Hire
Close to 80% of companies rely on search firms to fulfill their talent acquisition needs – to the tune of $12 billion annually. However, very few companies are using data to make informed decisions about which of the more than 40,000 independent agency recruiters they choose to work with. The majority of companies (63 percent) currently find their agency recruiters through a cold call or sales pitch.

Connecting with a recruiter who understands the job requirements well and already has an established network of specialized talent from which to source is a tremendous opportunity for companies to improve their hiring efforts. Using data to identify the recruiters with a track record of success filling a specific position, then allowing that recruiter to leverage his or her proven expertise, diminishes misalignment between resumes and job descriptions which have rendered job search aggregators and job-to-resume matching technologies ineffective.

Furthermore, agency recruiters that specialize in a particular field have much higher placement rates. According to thousands of third-party agency placement records from the world’s largest applicant tracking systems, 91 percent of successful placements came from specialty recruiters. Additionally, in the highly competitive fields of technology, health care and sales fields, specialty recruiters become exponentially important.

In the face of growing hype surrounding new data-driven recruitment technologies, it’s important to remember the proven power of human insight. The best solutions will leverage both, to connect employers with the most powerful talent networks.

Allyson Holbrook is VP of Marketing at Scout, offering a proprietary data analytics platform that helps companies fill positions faster and helps third-party recruiters get matched with more of the jobs they’re best suited to fill.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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