All stories

Don’t rely on guesswork for recruiting

With U.S. unemployment rates the lowest they’ve been since 2001, today’s hiring landscape is one of heavy competition and feelings that there is never enough talent. As top talent continues to be a hot commodity, the ability to attract and retain quality workers is the focus of most companies.

More companies are adding a people analytics discipline, using data to improve processes and decision-making in hiring and managing employees. Used properly, people analytics helps companies investigate why their hiring practices and resources are performing the way they are, instead of getting stuck on how they’re performing. An understanding of why can compel recruiting leaders to change their approach to outreach, communication and follow-up.

In today’s data-rich world, even the best recruiting is still a form of guesswork, no matter how refined. Bottom line, if you can’t provide a specific why, you are following a hunch and that isn’t good enough.

As a customer success engineer, I come across customers who think they have a grasp on what is and isn’t working, until it comes time to prove it. Some are even shocked when the insights that result from data analysis counter what they know to be true. You mean advertising you want a rock star to improve the team’s key metrics is not a good idea? It’s time to treat opinions as what they are, opinions, rather than what they aren’t, facts.

The good news? HR teams have the opportunity to make a huge impact on the success of their companies by implementing deliberate tracking and measurement processes. Here’s how to do it.

Define Success

Before you can even begin, it must be clear what you plan to measure. Outlining quantitative goals is the first step in defining success for your department. Do you want to have a fast time to fill? More diverse applicants? What does diverse even mean for your company?

This is an important exercise to go through not as an individual, but as an entire team. Get the right people in the room — talent acquisition, recruiters, D&I, etc. — to have a meaningful conversation about what success and progress looks like specifically for your company.


The next step is determining which metrics need to be tracked in order to show progress. For example, if faster time to fill is a priority, make sure that your applicant tracking system includes fields for a requisition’s posted date, hired date, and any holding time period. Each of these are important in determining an accurate time to fill.

Diversity top of mind? Get crisp on which diversity metrics matter to you and track those as well. Gender is one type of differentiation but others include race, age, disability, veteran status. Take a look at your current employee pool to determine where the gaps are and who would bring a new perspective that enhances the team.

Thoughtful consideration of what factors may impact hiring is also imperative. Job location, function, experience requirements, compensation and sourcing are just a few factors that can have an impact. Make sure to accurately measure these inputs as it is the foundation for the next and last step of the process.

Identify the why

It’s now time to investigate which inputs (e.g., location, function, etc.) have an affect on outputs (e.g., time to fill, diversity, etc.). Because you have already put in the effort to track potential factors and outcomes, this process is much more straightforward.

Through various statistical methods, it can be determined what is having the most impact on hiring — the why can be defined! Things like correlations and t-tests help people analytics teams pinpoint exact factors that bring about desired outcomes and eliminate guesswork completely.

The Textio way

Hiring begins the moment a candidate makes initial contact with a company, whether that is a job post or a recruiting mail. Textio knows that language early on in the candidate lifecycle has a profound impact on who is attracted to certain jobs and can predict who ultimately is hired to fill a role.

Customers share with us their hiring data, and Textio surfaces how language in their job posts and recruiting mails will make an impact. For example, too much passive language or an excess of exclamation points can deter applicants. We help customers answer the why and reshape their approach to writing.

Data-driven augmented writing is a reality with Textio at the forefront. Customers are seeing first-hand the impact Textio guidance makes to the applicant pool and can agree that 1,000 recruiters are no match for more than 350 million pieces of data. You would never leave a financial investment or business decision up to speculation, so why do that with something as important as company personnel?

The only way to get to the top of the talent game, and stay there, is to take out guesswork and replace it with reliable data. Without it, you leave plenty of room for the shop down the street who chose to listen to the data to pick up the candidates you want and need.

All stories
Get stories like these delivered right to your inbox.