I have been working with data companies like Horsefly's CEO, Will Crandle, over the last three months to try to properly understand labor market insights, and what is actually useful to recruiters when it comes to filling roles. I know that there continues to be a lot of talk about how recruiters are, or could use data to perform better, beyond adopting a rinse and repeat approach to hiring. We understand and acknowledge that data in decision making is important, as we try to move from reliance on “gut feel” based on experience, to something a bit more provable.
The problem, though, it seems, is not a lack of data, but an excess of data. There is lots about. Most recruiting technology comes with a dashboard that contains graphs and charts that can be exported, chopped up, combined to try to understand what is going on with our hiring, and this glut of data makes it difficult to understand what is actually going on here. To give you some context, Horsefly alone tracks over one trillion individual data points, from sources such as job boards, government reporting, LinkedIn, etc.
To navigate this a bit better, I have been tracking active searches on Horsefly LMI (Horsefly Labour Market Index), to understand what the users are searching for, and had lots of conversations with recruiters about what questions they were seeking answers for, and why these particular data points are important. There are very different answers for marketers, and heads of TA, that lie in strategy around delivery, (particularly around locations linked to availability), and in marketing around pitches or performance reporting for RPO. I will cover more of these user cases in later posts. In this post I will be concentrating on day to day data, and how interpretation of this data is being used in anger by recruiters. What are the data points that matter?
Understanding this begins by recognising what is, and what is not in a recruiters sphere of control. Whilst they may have some influence over hiring strategy, (and having relevant data points to bring to these discussions certainly helps gain influence with those who hold the decision making power), what is mostly needed is tactical data. The kind of data that helps a recruiter understand just how they are going to fill the roles they are being charged with filling, and to have some kind of defence against unreasonable expectation, or KPI’s which are more pipe dreams than realistic asks, especially when talking to hiring managers, and their own bosses.
This can best be summed up as the “fillability” of every role. Getting a realistic understanding of the complexity of filling individual roles, in order to set realistic expectations, and to have some real ammunition in discussions around availability, competitiveness (particularly around salary and benefits, experience expectations, the most likely job titles and the skills mix that will form the basis of a search, and the availability of people with these skills in any given location. Where recruitment leaders are looking to understand the macro data (big picture), recruiters need the micro data job by job.
What i’m seeing is that when recruiters are able to access the data relating to “fillability”, they are able to exert a lot more influence over hiring managers over setting expectations over things like time to present and what impact adjusting salaries, experience requirements or other demands will have on finding talent to fill roles. Managing expectation and reality checking KPI’s from leadership puts the recruiter back in control. What I'm also hearing positive stories about is that those recruiters who present data in this way, and engage with the leadership of their organisation in a strategic way, are the first in line for leadership opportunities, supported by positive feedback from hiring managers.
The challenge recruiting teams face now is developing the underlying knowledge and skills to interpret labor market insights, and translate the numbers into cohesive arguments with hiring managers and leadership. It's one thing to turn up with a bunch of graphs and data points, and another to communicate what they mean in real terms. To this end, Horsefly are rethinking what customer success means, and are currently building a team of coaches to help understand what these insights mean, and will be launching the Horsefly LMI Academy to help develop the necessary understanding.
Watch this space.