With the threat of an economic downturn looming, recruiters are looking for ways to recession-proof their businesses. On Episode 105 of the Talent & Growth Podcast we spoke to Rassam Yaghmaei of the Recruiters InDa House podcast about how we can use data to our advantage in this uncertain climate. 

What are the challenges facing TA in this market? 

Investment is shifting from a focus on hiring people and building teams to coordination, sourcing, recruitment, programme management, hiring, diversity, etc. What’s going to happen in the next year is a focus on hyper-specialised recruitment firms offering a more holistic approach to talent. We’ve also evolved into coordination professionals, team leaders, sourcing managers, programme managers, TA programme managers… a whole group of leaders who created their own value by creating expectations. We’re back to basics, so if you don’t have all the information, you don’t have the documentation, you don’t have an inspiring manager for this or that, it’s up to you to go and make it happen. I feel that a lot of the people have lost that view. We’re going to have to be prepared to be flexible in the next year, and use data to support what we’re doing. 

How can we use data to be as effective and influential in our roles as possible? 

Data has often been seen as a sales metric. That’s changing, because you need to understand how many client interviews and prospecting actions you need to make, or how many candidates you need to send to a client to get a deal or invoice done. Data is actually a business-oriented tool, it’s not limited to sales. Data is key to marketing, it’s a tool to understand how to get your message across, how to be in more social interactions with people etc. 

Business leaders and hiring managers didn’t necessarily think that data could be adapted to recruitment, or that recruiters could have these deep conversations about upcoming trends. They’re surprised when we come and say “This is a problem, this is how we’re going to measure it over the next weeks, here’s the data.” Data is the future for recruitment because it’s led to great conversations with the business we work with. Recruitment teams and business leaders now want data on every executed job, like “How many open positions and offer rejections do we have, and what’s our average time to hire?” 

KPIs for recruitment need to go beyond the results. Sometimes you need super detailed metrics of “How many female level two engineers in Brighton did I have in the past six months that did the level two interview?”. That’s very granular, so it doesn’t give us a real sense of why we need to look at it. At the end of the spectrum, we’re only looking at applying the funnel and analysing conversion ratios on every job. Looking at your whole process and analysing every interval shows you where the ratio of conversion is from stage to stage. That shows you where you can change the discrimination ratio of phone screenings or highlight that the client wants less tests to be sent after phone screenings because they want you to filter more candidates out at that stage. It’s all about optimising your process. 

If you identify the super detailed metrics that you want to look at, they can show you where you can do better. It gives you better conversations on the executive side as well, because you can show your leaders why you’re only at 50% of the target or why we had this amount of rejections. That’s what we’ve been looking at regularly, because in your meetings, you’re going to say these numbers, and you can already have an action plan, because you know somebody’s going to ask “Okay, so what are you going to do about it?”. 

Do you think there’s any data that’s looked at too much, or is there anything that people aren’t talking about enough?

When we talk about data and recruitment, people often think there’s something going wrong. Most of the time, people will associate those issues with the top of the funnel, and that sourcing has to be the problem. The assumption is that we need to source more people, send more outreaches or write them better. Our leaders will think that we’re not looking at the right talent pools, aiming for the right companies, or haven’t understood the role well enough. The truth is that 90% of the problem is elsewhere. Most of the problems are further along in the process, where my hiring manager isn’t trained to interview people well, our salary brands suck, our process is too long, etc. All those conversations are hidden because it’s so easy to say sourcing is a problem, and much harder to admit that our brand is shit and we need to work on a big marketing campaign or work on communication. 

Data is great because it opens the conversation, and proves where your issues are. If you look into conversion ratios, you can say, “We’ve seen 50 candidates on site, and only two have gone into the final interview. Is that a good conversion? What’s going on there?” That is really the role of a recruiter. We’re becoming far more strategic and actually addressing the issues in the company in a holistic way. We can use data to provide an insightful business solution in different areas of the process.

To hear more about the future of recruitment and how data will play a role in its success, tune into the full episode of Talent & Growth here