3 Principles for Data-Driven Recruiting

January 24, 2013

Data in recruiting seems to be on everyone's minds these days. In fact, we recently recommended that if you make one professional resolution in 2013, it should be to embrace data-driven recruiting.

On the Talent Acquisition team here at LinkedIn, we've tapped into the incredible data available on our site to source more effectively, educate our hiring managers, and build trusted advisor status with our business partners. I thought I'd share three fundamental principles that helped us become more data-driven.

1. Get to know your market first
When my team begins any search, they start by understanding more about the talent they're looking for. Think of it as similar to the process a business leader, strategist, or entrepreneur would take when trying to understand the size, dimensions and dynamic of any addressable market they are considering entering with their business. Building this step into our sourcing process has been essential in our mission to embrace data. Here are some of the data points the team pulls to build a talent pool:

  • Supply of talent. How many professionals fit the criteria for this role? My team starts with a broad search in LinkedIn Recruiter and filters by key facets (location, years of experience, company, experience in specific industries, etc.) from there to understand how much talent is out there.
  • Demand for talent. Are a lot of other companies hiring for this type of role? We'll take a look at job postings on LinkedIn – for example, if we're hiring for software engineers in San Francisco, what percentage of total job postings in the Bay Area are for software engineers? This tells us how much competition we'll have recruiting for this position. These talent pool reports created by our insights team are also incredibly helpful for assessing in-demand roles like software engineers and technical salespeople.
  • Interest in our company. We recently announced a new feature in Recruiter – the ability to filter searches by those people who are following your company. This is a great tool for my team, especially given 71% of followers have an interest in careers at companies they follow: it lets them know how many warm leads they have within the talent pool they're sourcing for. Also, take time to understand how connected your company's employees are to the supply of talent you're looking for. Connectedness matters: the more connected your employees are to the target talent pool you want to recruit, the better your chances for successful sourcing.

2. Set expectations with hiring managers
I always tell my team: never show up to a meeting with your hiring managers without data. It helps you avoid the time and frustration of searching for a "purple squirrel" that doesn't exist in the market. Data also allows you to take a more consultative approach with hiring managers: if their initial set of criteria doesn't yield a significant talent pool, ask them which criteria are need to have vs. nice to have. Does removing a skill or attribute open the pool back up? What about other areas that may have a larger pool – is relocation an option?

In educating your hiring managers with data, you're setting their expectations on what kind of talent you'll bring to them, how long it will take, and what challenges they can expect. Data helps you build credibility with your hiring managers, and will give you the ability to influence the business and strategically consult with business leaders: you'll move from order taker to talent advisor.

3. Help your business partners plan for the future
As ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky famously said, "skate to where the puck is headed, not to where it's been." Work with your business partners to understand what talent they'll need in the future, and get to work on building those pipelines. You don't need to plan for every possible scenario (2-3 is enough) or every role (focus on the 10-15 most critical) - but the key here is bringing your talent pool data to bear when having these workforce planning conversations. Ultimately, I want my executives to come to me when they're thinking about potential growth areas for the company to get my feedback on what markets are best – and that comes back to having the right data, and bringing it to the table at every opportunity.

The digitally connected world we live in today has availed us in the field of Talent Acquisition a clear path to up our game, become advisors, and differentiate ourselves from those slower to change by influencing and leading hiring managers, teams and searches with data. Let's all seize the opportunity.

Learn more about how LinkedIn Recruiter can help you analyze and connect with your talent supply.

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