People Analytics For Recruitment: A How-To Pocket Guide

SHRM identifies people analytics for recruitment as one of the top recruiting trends of 2016.

Popularized by the Google people analytics team and with dozens of people analytics conferences around the world, it looks to be a trend that’s here to stay.

When it comes to recruitment and talent acquisition, Aberdeen’s talent acquisition survey recommends that HR “prioritize analytics” and “invest in innovative technology options.” 

The adoption of people analytics for recruitment holds the promise that the recruitment function can become even more valuable and strategic within a company.

To help you along, I created this handy pocket guide on how to use people analytics for recruitment.

What is people analytics for recruitment?

People analytics as the use of data and data analysis techniques to understand, improve, and optimize the people side of business.

People analytics have become ubiquitous in HR due to two main reasons:

  1. Innovations in data analytics technology and software in general
  2. Pressure for all departments (including HR) to move away from reactive instinct-based decision making to proactive data-based decision making

According to Deloitte, 75% of companies believe that using people analytics is “important,” but only 8% believe their organization is “strong” in this area.

The focus on big data will challenge HR leaders to build a people analytics team, bring together multi-disciplinary skills, and develop a long-range plan to “datafy” HR.
– Deloitte

This gap between what companies want and what companies are doing when it comes to their people analytics for recruitment represents a huge opportunity for recruitment to take advantage of and become industry leaders.

People analytics for recruitment provides multiple insights

  • Candidate sources: systematically measure where your best talent came from to allow you to more strategically allocate recruitment marketing spend.
  • Quality of hire: analyze which candidate characteristics (personality, skills, knowledge) make for a great hire for a specific role at your company.
  • Shortlisting candidates: use software to assess candidate characteristics objectively to identify the strongest candidates to move forward into the interview stage.
  • Cost-per-hire & time-to-hire: prove your ROI by calculating the money and time saved by adding automated people analytics to recruitment instead of manual hiring processes.
  • Workforce planning forecasts: proactively identify and predict the best times to ramp up or cut back on recruitment by assessing turnover and market conditions.
  • Workplace diversity: measure and increase workplace diversity through analyzing your demographics and assessing where bottlenecks exist.

5 tips on using people analytics for recruitment

  1. Find a people analytics champion. Implementing people analytics for recruitment needs organizational support. Find someone with the right authority to champion the cause and greenlight the resources (time and money) required to implement people analytics into your recruitment process.
  2. Start with one problem you want to collect data for (e.g., turnover). Is there a quick and easy win? Starting with a small test reduces your risk and creates fast proof-of-concept and potential ROI.
  3. Build (or buy) people analytics expertise. People analytics requires someone with existing familiarity with statistics or someone who’s eager, willing, and able to learn how to use people analytics software. People analytics expert Mark Berry recommends partnering with the right vendor:
    Rightly positioned and properly executed, partnerships with vendors will pay a multiplier several times greater than the return on investment in your own technology.
  4. Leverage internal resources when possible. For example, a colleague in IT can help you with data collection and cleansing or an analyst from another department can assist with data analysis.
  5. Create an actionable plan based on the results. What insights do the results of the people analytics test you created tell you? Based on these results, come up with a plan that addresses the problem you were trying to solve in the first place.

The future of people analytics

People analytics has the potential to improve HR beyond recruitment and talent acquisition. This is crucial because when HR departments can work together strategically throughout the employee lifecycle, that makes your job as a recruiter that much easier.

In the near future, people analytics will be used in HR decision making including:

  • Employer branding: measuring what attracts and resonates with job seekers
  • People development: proactively offering development opportunities to help retain employees
  • Employee satisfaction: analyzing which departments and managers are underperforming and creating interventions in real time
  • Retention and promotion: automating identifying top performers and which workplace incentives will make them stay
  • Compensation: analyzing competitive market rates to attract, motivate, and retain employees
  • Succession planning: identifying high potentials and providing developing opportunities to build your talent pipelines from within
  • HR budgeting decisions: efficiently allocating spend on the highest ROI activities and software

The takeaways

In the coming decade, people analytics will completely transform HR including recruitment and talent acquisition.

As Sarah Brennan, founder of HR Tech Blog, states:

For too long HR has gotten a pass on lacking analytics because it’s a ‘people person’ job or the technology to do it wasn’t affordable. In 2016, neither are valid.

People analytics for recruitment is showing itself to be a huge boon for recruiters.

Recruitment departments will quickly learn and adopt people analytics as a tool to more efficiently source candidates, reduce time to hire, and accurately identify the most qualified candidates.

The end results of people analytics for recruitment will include valuable downstream benefits for quality of hire and employee retention.