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  • Plusses and Potential Pitfalls in Using Recruiting Analytics

    January 14, 2020 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
    Two recruiters review recruiting analytics to inform their decision making.

    TAGS: benchmarks, spotlight

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    While analytics can be important drivers of recruiting success, there are practices to incorporate and pitfalls to avoid when using them.  

    Sean Rehder, a recruiting industry operations analyst, stresses checking analytics frequently and creating a series of “short stories.”

    “What the short story tells you is the week-over-week recruiter productivity,” Rehder explains.

    “I have been doing a weekly scorecard now for a few years at different companies because that's really where the truth is. It sets the tone for recruiters themselves, showing them how the company works and what they need to be doing on a weekly basis.”

    Matthew Scott, who leads talent acquisition at SailPoint, has a simple procedure: Don’t let the quest to obtain metrics get in the way of recruiters doing their jobs.

    “You have to be careful that the metrics do not create a lot of friction in the recruiters’ process,” he explains.

    “As a team leader, my job is to help these recruiters be successful. If I hire great recruiters, great things happen. I have to be careful not to get in their way. Do not give the recruiters extra tasks that they typically wouldn't do. Track metrics within the typical processes that they already have in place.”

    There are other pitfalls to avoid. Scott points out that he has experienced several organizations that run their business by metrics only.

    “They start to focus more on just the metrics themselves and everyone forgets about actually getting business done,” he says. “You've got to be careful about that.”

    Rehder agrees: “A good recruiting analytics program isn't about adding any more work; it's about using the systems and processes that are already in place.”

    Organizations can get caught up in the pursuit of transformative data that might not be easily attainable—or even exist—while ignoring those that can help them truly drive business outcomes.

    “I think they try to boil the ocean,” Scott says. “It's really tempting to think of all these really cool metrics that you could be tracking. But I think a lot of organizations find that the data is not clean enough to make it valuable. I think you need to start small, with simple, usable metrics.”

    Rehder explains that the metrics an organization tracks should ultimately answer important questions.

    “I have worked on dashboards in the past where there's a pie chart for this and a bar chart for that,” he says.

    “You can track when people look at dashboards because there are refresh rates. People look at it for a couple weeks and then it goes away. Rather than just showing milestones completed, the questions that the metrics answer should be something that staffing wants to know on a weekly basis. Keep it to the point and make it actionable so that staffing leaders can look at a metric and determine if an action needs to be taken.”

    Rehder recommends having five or fewer goals at any one time with defined deliverables attached to them.

    “If it's more than that,” he emphasizes, “there's too much gray area in recruiting and everything gets lost in that long story. When the metrics are a series of short stories, the staff leader sets the tone and maintains the team's focus and expectations.”

    In the end, success comes down to strategic execution, that is key decisions based on valuable data.

    “I find that a lot of the low-hanging fruit out there in the business world can be obtained through execution, and putting focus on blocking and tackling as a competitive advantage” Scott says. “With metrics, you can be cutting edge by having a sense of urgency, executing quickly, and continuing to move forward.”