Is "How's my hire going?" impossible for your company to answer?

hows_my_hire_I was at a recruiting conference last week with about 50 in-house recruiters from all kinds of companies, large and small. After talking with people for a few hours, I realized they all had something in common.

Most organizations do not use data to drive recruiting. At all.

Can you name a department where companies routinely make more decisions, with more value attached to them, based on as little information as recruiting? You can't—it doesn't exist.

How bizarre is that? Companies are making nearly every important recruiting decision based on gut feel and habit instead of using actual data.

Don't believe it's that bad? Ok, let me ask you a few questions:

  • What are the most efficient ways of finding candidates?
  • How many candidates is the right number to interview?
  • Which of your recruiters is the most effective?
  • Do your job ads perform better or worse than your competitors' ads?
  • Does your company do a good job of interviewing candidates?
  • What are the most important skills and personality traits you should look for in candidates?

Pretty much every company has trouble answering those questions. It doesn't have to be that way!

Throughout the conference, I was involved in multiple discussions that focused on analytics and data in recruiting, but not a single company could clearly define what they were trying to measure or how to go about doing it.

Recruiting data is a huge subject area, so I will just focus today on what I consider the baseline question for data-driven recruiting:

"How's my hire going?"

It's amazing how bad most organizations are at answering this basic question. Most of the time, hiring managers have no visibility at all. Until they've hired someone, all they know is that they haven't. Getting a sense of progress or any insight into the process is nearly impossible for them.

To solve this, you should demand a regular weekly report from your recruiters for each open job. This report should answer in a plain, readable format three simple questions: What happened last week? What is the current status? What is coming up next week?

"What happened last week" should show a quick summary activity and results - how many new candidates, how many interviews conducted, how many candidates we advanced/rejected, etc.

"Current status" should show a summary of the pipeline (how many candidates in each stage) and call out anything that needs immediate attention (offers needing approval, for example).

"Upcoming next week" should set goals for the coming week and list important events that are scheduled - offers going out, in-person interviews scheduled, etc.

This report should take 10 or 15 minutes a week MAX to produce, and is a baseline requirement for a well-run recruiting operation. If a recruiting team cannot produce this simple report on a weekly basis, they are failing a basic standard of professionalism.

Keep it simple. You don't need a complex 97-point algorithm to solve basic reporting needs.

People get very hung up on jargon and trends ("Big Data for Recruiting", anyone?) when in fact, it's very simple. You don't need to start with "analytics" - just answer a few straightforward questions once a week, in a clear, useful report.

In this way, recruiting can learn a lot from agile software development. Concepts like "big visible charts", Kanban boards, burndown graphs, and the like have become standard practice there. These ideas, while not a panacea, have largely solved the major roadblocks to bringing visibility and clarity to programming teams.

Go forth and report, my friends.

Daniel Chait
Co-founder, Greenhouse

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