What Is Data-Driven Recruitment? Why Use It?

by Sarah Reyes

Data-driven recruitment allows organizations to make better hiring decisions if used the right way.  Thanks to technology they can now collect data on their candidates and make it available later. But then, there is still a lag in how they use data.  

It is why recruitment teams should learn how to use data-driven recruitment to their advantage. As when used properly, this can help in picking up the slack as well as offer companies with insights into their candidate profile – their location, hiring cost, and who their candidates are.

Two in three employees reveal that even if they have accepted a job offer, they soon realize that the job does not fit them.  That’s why many of them quit within the first six months. This is bad for every organization.

Based on a CareerBuilder survey, bad hires affect 75% of employers and their companies. It’s a costly mistake.  Every bad hire is about $15,000 for its average cost.


Data-Driven Recruitment Defined

It means using stats and facts, informing organizations of their hiring decisions. This includes choosing candidates and making hiring plans.

The approach is data-driven through the use of techniques, data, and technologies in analyzing their talent pool and identifying their ideal candidates – those that have the right experience, skills, and mindset.

From the insights, recruiters can narrow down their selection so that only the best among the best remains for the next step.

More data will become available for use of recruiters and such will help them become more efficient and save costs. Performance management platforms, applicant tracking systems and other technologies can contribute to data collection and analysis.

Data-driven recruitment redefines the recruitment and hiring process because it makes all the important data available to the recruiter. In turn, they don’t just screen and look into resumes to make a decision.

Collecting and analyzing data for recruitment purposes include a wide range of sources, such as past jobs, social media, and online publications, to name some, while they also look into traditional hiring data.

Moreover, recruiters can always have access to data and look for trends and statistics; eventually, they can improve their recruitment process and speed it up. To give you a better idea, here are the top benefits of data-driven recruitment explained.

You might also be interested: 10 Reasons Why You Need to Switch to Virtual Hiring

No more gut feeling in hiring decisions

With data in use in the hiring process, hiring managers can make logical and objective decisions rather than gut-feeling and instinct-based ones. This reduces the chances of making a bad hire, which is costly.

Using data in making a hire, managers can eliminate hiring based on bias. For instance, they won’t have to hire just because an applicant is charming or gorgeous or they belong to the same school or perhaps have the same interest or hobbies.  

Now, hiring won’t be based on someone’s likeability and your gut instinct.  Using data, you can instead decide to hire or not based on variables – skills, experience, and personality fit. Nevertheless, it can cut any uncertainties that are involved in hiring. Thus, HR managers can be more confident in making a hiring decision.


Quality of hire improvement

HR teams can improve the quality of hire and ensure that only qualified candidates will be shortlisted or called for an interview. In this case, they can also save time and resources, while ensuring contacting only ideal candidates for the next steps in the recruitment and selection process.

With this, hiring managers will have peace of mind that only the best players will potentially work in the company, resulting in performance improvement of the organization. Making the right hires with data-driven recruiting is more likely than with a traditional hiring method. For example, in the traditional hiring process, candidates may be good in the interview stage, but that will not translate their good performance.

  • Good hire percentage: How many top performers are in each department?
  • Time to productivity: How long before a successful hire performs?
  • Source: What channels did the employees use to apply? Where do they apply from?
  • Turnover rate: How many of your new hires quit within six months?

Use the data collected for comparison and analysis. For example, you might discover that those that applied from “this source” are more productive than those that applied from “that source.” Or, are employees from referrals perform better or have a higher productivity rate?

In summary, improving the quality of work is every company’s goal. That is why you need important data and recruitment analytics on “who” to hire.  You need the time to get a clear picture of what makes the best hires tick, their profile, their location, and their common and shared qualities. Learn how to analyze the variables that are consistent with the best hires you made. Use those to your advantage going forward.

Time to hire reduction

Improving your recruitment strategy is integral especially if you’re having a worse hiring time.  Look into data and analyze it so that you’ll have a better picture of what’s happening. 

  • How long is your recruitment and selection process? For each step, how long does it take?
  • How long does it take to hire someone in your field?  
  • How do you hire? Are you using job boards? Are you using employment agencies?

For example, collect the data for the average time it takes to hire, and then analyze each step that is involved in the hiring process. Which of the steps is taking the most time? How can time be reduced in this step? Can this step be skipped?

Cost per hire reduction

Through data, you can reduce the cost per hire which will eventually save you money and resources. To start with, you need data like cost/hire/source as well as the average performance of the employee per source.

Analyze each source – social media, agency, careers page, and then the amount you spend on each hiring source and don’t forget to list the gained employees’ quality. Check as to which source is best for its price; then, consider spending more on that source.

You might also want to look into your recruitment process to reduce the cost per hire. You might need an online screening process, for instance, if you notice that your hiring team needs to interview 70% of the candidates in the initial interview alone.

In summary, a data-driven recruiting process can help you trim the fat that you’d normally spend on the traditional hiring process. It can save you so much money on advertising and resources and the HR team’s time.

Screening Tests to Reduce the Cost per Hire

  • Job knowledge tests:  This will help identify the potential hire’s knowledge about the job, helping employers gauge if the applicant has the skills and knowledge needed for the job and in turn eliminate unqualified candidates from the beginning.
  • Integrity tests: They measure an applicant’s integrity and reliability when faced with particular situations in the workplace. It will help you gauge the applicant’s suitability in your culture and shows if they work well with colleagues. 
  • Cognitive ability tests: This tests an applicant’s mental capacity for the job and helps you predict a candidate’s performance since they show knowledge in handling the different complexities involved in the job. 
  • Personality tests: This will help you test a candidate’s fitness in your company culture and if their personality suits the job. A few examples of these exams include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, The DiSC Behavioral Inventory, and The SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire
  • Emotional intelligence tests: They can help you analyze the relationship-building skills of potential hires.
  • Skills assessment tests: These tests can give you an overview of the hard and soft skills of the candidates. Some tests help you see the presentation, research, and leadership skills of candidates if you’re looking for these, too.
  • Physical ability tests: Such tests can help you see the candidate’s fitness for a job that requires physical work, such as police officers.

Using online screening assessment exams, you will be able to rate the hires by checking how well they perform in the tests wherein they receive a score. So, based on their score and relevance to your organization, you can sort the candidates and continue with those that do well.

In addition, pre-screening exams will be able to eliminate unqualified candidates in the hiring process. for example, these tests can help you choose the applicants that have the right skills while also eliminating those that do not. Thus, you can screen out unqualified candidates and proceed with the recruitment and selection process sooner.

Candidate experience

This is not just another buzzword in the HR industry, but it is as important in the hiring process as it is for your organization. Remember, top talents specifically, have more options because they receive multiple offers.

So in this case, they might just drop off the rest of the steps in your application process if it is time-consuming and tedious. They can easily move to another potential employer who offers a simpler and faster application process.

To improve the candidate experience and shorten the time to hire, look into your entire recruitment and selection process and then figure out which of the steps should be improved on. In this case, you will be able to make it easier for candidates to apply to your company.

Data-Driven Recruitment: Tips to improve candidate experience

  • Have a real and clear goal and purpose in hiring. What are the skills you need? What kind of candidate can fill your hiring need? To do this, coordinate with the hiring manager to write a clear job title and job requirements.
  • Make the application process easy. People are busy. No one has the time to undergo or complete a time-consuming and long process if there are other options out there, especially for qualified candidates. Improve your careers page and remove any unnecessary steps in your application process. If possible, use LinkedIn to offer easy applications. Offer timely follow-ups.
  • Improving communication is one of the pillars of a good candidate experience. You should reach out to applicants without delays.  Keep your candidates informed overall.
  • If possible, outline the hiring process early on in the job description to avoid candidate frustration that stems from them not knowing what to expect from the beginning. By setting expectations from the get-go, you can improve the entire candidate experience.
  • Be sure to outline what to expect from every step in the hiring process to keep it smooth and easy. In this case, they won’t be left guessing or wondering what’s next or if they need to follow up.
  • Go mobile because most searches today are happening on mobile phones, tablets, and other mobile devices.  It means you must optimize your job posts for mobile to avoid losing potential candidates. To start, you might also want to start optimizing your website for mobile especially if most of the job descriptions are on your website.
  • Importantly, make the application fun and engaging! It is one of the keys to improving the overall candidate experience. Make it short and engaging instead of the long static application form that applicants should fill in.
  • Eliminate the hiring bias. Use data-driven recruiting to prevent making bad hires due to bias in the application process. In this case, you will be able to hire someone based on their skills, talent, and knowledge other than their looks or similarities with you, for instance.

Provide applicants with a realistic job preview and your company’s culture. They want to know what it would be like to work with and for you. What kind of employer are you?  What is your company culture?  Why should they work for you?

Now, it will be easier to give candidates a clear preview of your company virtually. It will also be a good idea to give them a picture of “a day in the life of….” to show them what it is to work in your company. This is an excellent way to show your company’s culture, work environment, and values.



Data-driven recruiting also makes it a breeze to make predictions unlike in the past when it was guesswork. Now, you can easily estimate the amount to spend on recruiting and hiring new people into your team.

You can also use it to monitor the turnover rate yearly and check for movements in each department. Using this data, you can have a clearer picture of the recruitment budget. Using this information, you can also be sure that you will have the budget whenever you need to hire someone ASAP.

In summary, you’ll be able to identify the different trends and patterns that suggest any future situation using data-driven recruiting.

It will also help you predict any potential vacancies as well as the labor cost involved in filling those roles. In addition, you can check for and track the turnover rate and when people are leaving your company.

Incorporating data into the hiring process

Select the right data and metrics. Aside from the quality of hire, you can also look into the time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, source of hire, job offer acceptance rates, and candidate experience score. Nevertheless, choosing the data to use depends on your company.

  • What do you want to know about the entire hiring process? ‘
  • What are the common hiring problems do you notice?
  • What data would help in building reports?
  • What does a successful hiring process look like?
  • Which source of hire or hiring methods do you trust but then are not proving their data effectiveness?
  • To become more productive in hiring, what data would you use or would like to use?

Collect data wisely with the use of software, like an applicant tracking system. Look for ways to collect data, such as using Google Analytics or surveys that will help you figure out issues along the way.

Long time-to-hire because of sourcing is one issue. You might want to consider diversifying the sourcing methods using a sourcing tool to reach out to more candidates. A slow hiring time can also be due to screening. Improve this by adding qualifying questions on the application form and preparing simple and effective phone screening questions before calling candidates.

Using data, you can also detect high turnover for your new hires. This will reflect the number of people leaving your company within the first six months working in your company.

Prevent this from happening by improving communication with the candidates. Ensure that they know what to expect and understand their duties and responsibilities. You must also communicate individual and team performance expectations before offering the job. As if you’d misinform them about their job, they might leave.

Start looking into your onboarding process and make it welcoming for new hires. You might want to send them a welcome email, give them meaningful work, and ensure they receive proper training.

Data-Driven Recruitment – Summing Up

Data-driven recruitment is beneficial for every organization because data can give hiring managers, recruiters, and employers a clear picture of what’s happening in the hiring process and how can it be improved to benefit the company for the long-term – save on recruitment costs, make the hiring process more efficient, and overall offer a great candidate experience. But then, data has limitations.

Remember, it won’t tell you why something is happening. You should still learn how to interpret the data gathered and make adjustments in the hiring process as needed.  Also, data cannot solve your problems. Instead, its use will depend on you. In short, what are you going to do with that data? Overall, use the data to evaluate past events and issues and to create a better hiring plan.

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