data drive recruiting

A Beginners Guide to Data Driven Recruiting

Written on April 27, 2020 by Jonathon Webley

Here at Agile Recruit, we have plenty of experience proving our value to organisations—positioning ourselves as strategic partners to companies of all shapes and sizes. One of the ways we do this is by using a data-driven approach to recruiting and building out a data-driven recruitment funnel which allows us to quickly earn the trust of hiring managers.

Data-driven recruiting is possibly a new term for some people, but the actual data and metrics we use for recruiting have been available for a long time. Data-driven metrics include time to hire, source of hire and offer acceptance rate. These metrics have not changed over the course of the past 30 years.

However, the way we use these metrics has evolved. As technology has progressed we have had to improve our decision making throughout the recruiting process. So, let’s take a closer look at some of these metrics and how they have changed:

Metric One: Time to Hire

Time to Hire, or TTH, is one of the most important metrics to recruiters in all industries and is based on the belief that the faster you can fill a role, the better. The quicker a candidate moves through the recruitment process, the better his or her experience will be and the more time you will have to fill other roles.

This is still true, to a point, but looking at TTH as a metric on its own does not really tell you anything anymore. All it does is tell you how fast (or slow) your recruitment agency partner is filling your roles – but it does not tell us how we can make the process faster.

To really understand TTH we need to break it down and look more closely at where we can optimise the recruitment process for speed. The TTH metric can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Application to Phone Screening
  2. Phone Screening to On-Site Interview
  3. On-site Interview to Offer
  4. Offer Extended to Offer Accepted
  5. Offer Accepted to Start Date

If you want to get a handle on a data-driven recruitment process, then you not only need to look at these steps on an individual basis but also an aggregate basis as well.

When we look at your recruitment steps on an individual basis we can figure out how many days your candidates spend on each phase (on average). This is generally known as the ‘Time between Phases’ (TBP). Once we have this baseline data we can then start to look at which phases are taking longer. This will help us identify any inefficiencies in the current process and where the opportunities for improving TTH exist.

For example, if your TTH is too long you may mistakenly believe that this is down to recruiters taking too long to schedule interviews. However, breaking the TTH down into examinable steps may reveal that the real delay is caused by screening interviewers not giving feedback quickly enough which prevents the recruiter from scheduling interviews.  If you skipped looking more closely at your TTH metric and the various reasons for the slowdown, then you may not have discovered the true cause.

Metric Two: Pass-Through Rate

Another long-used metric in recruiting is the pass-through rate (PTR) which measures the percentage of candidates who make it through each step of the recruitment process. This metric is useful to help us identify any problem areas which will be indicated by a disproportionate number of candidates dropping out of the process.

So, let’s say you were working with a recruiter who converted 1500 applicants into 50 hires this year – that would give you a PTR of 3.3%. However, if you follow the example above, you should be able to then break this down into the five steps identified above (application, screening interview, interview, offer and offer acceptance) and this will show you the conversion rate at each step. This way it will be easier to find opportunities to improve the recruitment funnel for your business.

Now you have some data that shows you what is going on, but we need to investigate a little more to find out why a particular number is low. For example, if your PTR from application to phone screening is low,  you need to discover how many applicants were screened and then brainstorm ideas on how you can improve this part of the process.

It is important to keep in mind that PTR only measures the past performance of candidates in your pipeline, and so it can be a misleading metric if you are looking at how to hit your future hiring goals – unless you understand the reasons why your PTR was the way it was. For example, your PTR in 2019 might have been low but it could be that your hiring managers switched their requirements a few times, or you had new interviewers on board. If this isn’t the case this year, then your PTR may improve its own accord anyway.

Metric Three: Quality of Hire

One of the newest metrics that we heard about is the quality of hire which maps recruiter performance to the performance of any new hires that they provide. Obviously, the intention behind the introduction of this metric is to be able to hold recruiters accountable for the performance of the people they hire, but the big problem with this metric is that it measures recruiters on a wider variety of factors that are out of their control!

Quality of hire fails to take into account a large proportion of the considerations that go into poor performance including:

  • Management issues
  • Team troubles
  • Culture problems
  • Leadership misfires

And so on. For this reason, we don’t think that quality of hire is really an accurate way to measure the performance of a recruiter.

So, what is the best way to use recruiting data?

#1 Analyse your past performance to improve your future performance

One of the most important ways to use recruiting data is to look back at candidate profiles to see trends within your hiring funnel and to help you to learn what a good or bad hire looks like. This not only helps us to source candidates more effectively but also target people you would like to hire more effectively. It can also give you insight into the talent you have already added to your team, and ensure it is the right talent for you moving forward.

Analysing your hiring data by school, degree, candidate experience, previous company type and so on helps identify patterns amongst your best talent and can lead you to compile a list of the key characteristics that make candidates a good match for your business. Using data like this is key to helping your team evolve its hiring process to attract top talent.

Agile Recruit uses hiring data in a thoughtful way in order to make the hiring process more efficient and easier for the companies that we work with. If you want to find out how we can streamline your hiring process please get in touch with one of our consultants today.