Data image

Using external data to improve recruiting and retention

Nolan Gray Corporate Recruiting, Data

The term "big data" has been buzzworthy for several years now, but data sources only continue to proliferate as the years go by. Now firms are facing all new issues with data, especially information related to staff. Internal data can help companies figure out the best hiring sources, what types of employment backgrounds tend to yield success, and other attributes about the workforce that can lead to positive change.

Currently, many organizations utilize only internal data to improve hiring and other HR-related practices. What would happen if companies began to use additional information to inform their processes? According to Deloitte's "Global Human Capital Trends 2015," this is exactly what will begin to occur.

The next frontier in HR analytics will be to also harness information from outside the organization to improve operations.

"More than half of recruiters use social media data for recruiting."

Data sources
The most obvious external source of information for the recruiting world is social media. In fact, according to Deloitte, 39 percent of companies already use social media data to provide insight into recruiting, engagement and perception of employer brand. A recent survey from CareerBuilder also found more than half of companies research candidates using social sites, up from 43 percent in 2014.

Sites like LinkedIn are created with job seekers in mind and have a wealth of data about these candidates that could be extremely useful for employers. In fact, these sites' databases are full of employee information that is often more comprehensive than what companies possess about their own workforce. This is likely because users are able to update information as it changes, rather than waiting for a yearly HR survey to come through.

Job boards also have a wealth of information about job seekers, as well as corporate salaries and feedback these brands can use to gauge employee sentiment.

How to use external data
It's clear the data exists, but what exactly can companies do with all this information about current employees and prospective candidates? 

Candidate fit
One of the biggest ways companies already use external data is recruiting new talent. According to CareerBuilder, 60 percent of recruiters who use social media to research candidates are on the lookout for information that supports their job qualifications. However, companies can go beyond social media for this information. Some tools can even help recruiters analyze programmers' contributions to open source projects, allowing them to see their experience firsthand.

Big data analytics image Companies can gain insight into hiring from external data.

By harnessing outside information, companies can determine how to maximize the productivity of their employees. Deloitte pointed to Hitachi, which monitored employee locations using ID cards and discovered engineers that ate together in large groups were more productive than their peers.

Candidate retention is another area where external data can come in handy. For instance, a company may look at openings using job boards and see a correlation between the number of job openings for certain positions and a higher level of attrition as employees seek out those positions. A business might also analyze commute times or traffic to determine that employees who travel farther tend to quit more quickly than those who live closer.

There are many ways to use external data, and companies are just starting to learn what they can do. Here are three tips to get started:

  • Work with marketing: Deloitte suggested organizations work with their marketing team on initiatives to use external data because the department likely already possesses insight into the processes required to utilize this information.
  • Obtain the right tools: To effectively take advantage of this trend, recruiters need to invest in software tools that help them accumulate and interpret their data. Only by using the right platforms will data collection translate to smart decisions.
  • Be creative: One of the greatest things about comprehensive data sets is that they can reveal trends you weren't looking for. Be open minded in the ways you analyze the data to see what developments emerge.