The Beginner’s Guide to Data-Driven Recruiting

Technological advancements have expanded sourcing strategies for recruiters, yet finding the perfect hire has never been more difficult. Here’s our best guess as to why:

  • Recruiter overload. Popular job search platforms like LinkedIn are oversaturated with recruiters. Candidates are inundated with messages from recruiters and often ignore them.
  • No centralized candidate source. Candidates are spread out across multiple platforms and channels, making it difficult for recruiters to target ideal candidates in one place.
  • It’s a candidate-driven market. Due to increased hiring, qualified candidates have endless job opportunities. This puts candidates in control of their career decisions and allows them to be selective.

One way to remove the guesswork and hire better candidates faster is to implement a data-driven recruitment strategy.

Data-driven recruiting is the process of using employee and candidate data to inform your hiring decisions. Here, I break it down into three steps.

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Gather your data. Start by gathering all employee and candidate data from your corporate contact database related to successful placements. The goal is to tie these data back to a specific job title.

For example, if you’re hiring a marketing manager, look at the resumes of marketing managers you’ve placed in the past, interview professionals who currently work in that specific role, and talk to other recruiters for anecdotal research. Pay close attention to these particular data points:

  • Demographic information
  • Work and education history
  • Skills, certifications, or coursework
  • Personal attributes
  • Career goals
  • Objections

Analyze your data. By now, you should have piles of data at your disposal. The goal is to identify trends, shared traits, and commonalities. Start with these questions to guide you. Remember, don’t just guess — look to your data for answers.

  • What channels does the ideal candidate use to search for jobs?
  • Is your ideal candidate currently employed?
  • What are their long-term goals?
  • What are their key motivators?
  • How do they spend time when they’re not working?
  • Do they have any specific hobbies or interests?
  • What specific skills do they possess?
  • How does the ideal candidate respond to stress?
  • Where did they go to school and what did they study?
  • What experience does the ideal candidate have?

Once you understand your data — it’s time to organize it in a way that’s easy to understand, access, and apply. Enter, job candidate personas. Candidate personas are semi-fictional profiles that represent your ideal candidates.
Remember, a candidate persona isn’t a job description. While candidate personas and job descriptions may match up in some ways—in other ways they’re vastly different. For example, just because the ideal candidate aspires to make $80,000 a year doesn’t mean they aren’t the perfect fit for a job that pays $65,000 a year. Perhaps their lofty salary goals show ambition and drive.

Apply Your Data. Once you have your candidate personas, it’s time to put them into action. Here’s how:

  • Job descriptions. There’s a massive disconnect between what candidates want to see in a job description, and what they actually say. Using your candidate personas, write job descriptions that speak to your candidates’ goals and motivations.
  • Channel selection. It’s not enough to post your job descriptions on job boards and hope for the right applicants to come in. Armed with your candidate data, post your jobs where your candidate is most likely to find you.
  • Employer Brand. Examine what your candidates value – and work to build a brand that supports that vision.

And there you have it! Your guide to data-driven recruitment. Use these candidate sourcing tips for recruiters to drastically improve your hiring process.

MORE: How big data is changing the staffing industry

Sam Holzman
Sam Holzman is the content marketing specialist at ZoomInfo, a B2B contact database.


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