A New Phase in Talent Recruitment: The Data-Driven Approach To Hiring

A New Phase in Talent Recruitment: Data-Driven Hiring

The recruitment of new employees is a delicate task that can cause a lot of grief for a company if not done right. With 74% of managers saying they have made a bad hire before and an average cost of $14,900 per bad hire in a company, it is imperative that some sort of change be made to traditional hiring processes to make them more effective.1 And this change comes in the form of data-driven hiring.

Data is taking over in a lot of industries like marketing and sales as the primary engine driving decision-making processes, and the recruitment of new employees is no exception. With insights derived from collected data, recruiters can ditch the traditional method of hiring by intuition and actually evaluate candidates based on cold, hard facts. 

In this article, we'll be taking a look at what data-driven hiring is and how it works, the benefits of data-driven recruitment, and best practices for making data-driven recruitment work for you.

what is data driven hiring

What Is Data-Driven Hiring?

Data-driven hiring is an objective, data-based approach to recruitment that relies on data and metrics beyond what is gotten from interviews and CVs to make objective hiring decisions. Data-driven hiring brings a level of efficiency to your recruitment process that allows you to eliminate all elements of guesswork and human bias, replace them with information gleaned from collected data and use this unbiased information to inform your selection of the right candidate.

This new approach towards employee recruitment has set HR teams across industries abuzz and with the aid of new HR technologies like the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that has become a workplace staple for HR teams, the collection and collation of the data needed to feed this new hiring process are made much easier.

How Does Data-Driven Recruiting Work?

Data-driven hiring aims to redefine recruitment. As opposed to traditional methods of interviewing a candidate and following your "gut instinct," recruiters now opt for the clean, formulaic approach of data-based recruitment that eliminates all bias and guesswork from their candidate selection process. And it does this in two ways. 

First, data-driven hiring uses data and insights collected along the entire hiring process to evaluate candidates. This data comes from regular sources like CVs and interviews but also from other sources like the candidate's social media, the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), past employers, etc. And all this data is analyzed to identify the candidate that most fits your recruitment needs. 

Second, data-driven hiring turns the searchlight on your own recruitment pipeline, tracks selected metrics that indicate the efficiency of your hiring process, and uses collected insights to improve the process. For example, by tracking the sources of applicants coming in, you can determine the ad channels that work best for you and ditch the ones that are not bringing in applicants. 

Benefits Of Data-Driven Recruitment

So, now that we know how data-driven recruitment works, let's take a look at some of the benefits of this new approach toward hiring.

benefits of data driven recruitment

Improved Hiring Quality

Taking on a new hire is an investment. And to get a full return on this investment, you need to make sure you are investing only in candidates of the highest quality. Data-driven hiring helps improve the quality of your hires in quite a few ways. 

For example, you can gather data on all the top performers currently in your organization and the sources from which they applied. Comparing this data across different sources (job boards, social media), you can identify which source produces the highest quality of applicants. 

Also, by setting up mental ability tests and simulated work samples for candidates to work on, you can measure "intangibles" like the ability to focus, team spirit, etc, and compare this with data on your top performers to see which ones you should be looking for in your candidates.

Finds Candidates Faster And More Efficiently

Data-driven recruitment does more than just add data to your hiring process. It also helps you trim away all the excess steps that are clogging up your recruitment pipeline. Data on the applicant sources yielding the most high-quality candidates helps you eliminate the sources yielding low-quality applicants. Using data to evaluate your candidates also makes it easier to quickly identify the ones that will not be a good fit and drop them off. Most importantly, data-driven recruitment strategies allow you to move candidates through the recruitment pipeline at a faster pace by identifying all the choke points where candidates usually drop off and simplifying or eliminating them.

Less Hiring Costs

Another form of excess that data-driven recruitment helps you trim away is extra costs. If a particular source isn't yielding candidates, the data shows you so you can stop spending money on that source. The quality of candidates hired is improved, reducing the occurrence of bad hires and eliminating the cost that comes with it. 

Also, by simplifying your recruitment process and moving candidates down the pipeline faster, you reduce your time to hire which reduces overall costs. 

Creates A Better Experience For The Candidates

In a highly competitive hiring landscape where the best candidates are sought after by multiple companies simultaneously, simplifying your hiring process and improving the candidate experience is simply not optional. Just as much as you would not like to go through several hoops to get to a candidate's CV or resume, your candidates also appreciate a simplified application process. 

Using data insights allows you to identify the blockages in your recruitment pipeline that are causing candidates to drop off and remove them. And it also allows you to identify the parts of your hiring process that candidates are sailing through with ease and bring that to the forefront of your process.

Best Practices Of Data-Driven Recruitment

So, what are the steps you need to take to shift your hiring process into a data-driven gear?

Recruitment Dashboard

A recruitment dashboard is your center of operations, your Overwatch. Investing in a recruitment dashboard gives a centralized view of your recruitment data and the KPIs you are tracking.

From this dashboard, you can quickly spot trends and patterns and respond to them in a timely fashion.

Identifying Data Sources And Selecting Relevant Metrics

To kick your data-driven recruitment process into gear, you need to start by identifying relevant data sources and metrics. There is a wide range of possible data sources and trackable metrics, so it is quite easy to get lost in irrelevant details. To avoid this, you need to identify your overall goal for your hiring process and then come up with some KPIs that are relevant to your overall goal. Some possible metrics to track include: 

  • cost per hire
  • time to hire
  • application conversion rates
  • source of applicants
  • Candidate feedback
  • quality of hires, etc.

Once you know which metrics/KPIs you want to track, then you need to list out the sources where you can find the needed data to track these metrics. Everything outside these metrics and the data sources needed to track them should be filtered out.

Collect All Data Efficiently

Data collection, especially if done manually, can be very tedious and time-consuming. To improve this process, consider investing in automated data collection software. You may already have some software in your recruitment stack capable of collecting data, like the Applicant Tracking System. If so, make use of it. You can also consider simple data collection methods like surveys and online forms.

Keep In Mind Data Limitations

As much as we would like it to be, data is not omnipotent, and it remains subject to interpretation. Data only shows you the "what." It is up to you to determine the "why." Also, if human-generated data is part of your metrics, you should be prepared to subject such data to deeper scrutiny than that generated by the software. People aren't as objective in collecting data as software.

Compare The Before And After, And Act Accordingly

Data is only useful when you act on it and you can only know the results of your effort by comparing the past and present states of your hiring process. Did you improve the process? Did you get candidates of better quality than before? How much better is the candidate experience according to feedback from the candidates? 

The answers to these questions tell you where you are doing well and where you need to improve. And again, once you have this information, act on it.

data drive recruitment best practices

Choosing The Best Data Hiring Tool For Your Business

The biggest factors that contribute to your choice of a tool for data-driven hiring are the size of your business and your hiring needs. Typically, small businesses with a low number of hires per year can get away with using a mix of HR tools and manual efforts to collect and use data. The larger the business gets, however, the more systems have to be integrated into your recruitment stack. 

This usually leads to the formation of data silos as your multiple systems are unable to communicate with themselves and you have data collected in multiple formats. This indicates that more might not be better in this situation. What you need is a single multifaceted tool that can provide you with multiple functions from analytics to data collection and monitoring of your KPIs, all in one centralized location. Opusuna is one such solution.

Their bias-free talent assessment and team-building tool helps you predict people's behavior and measure the effectiveness of your teams. It also provides you with crucial, work-relevant information that ensures you are only interviewing the right candidates that fit your needs. With Opusuna's behavioral insights and actionable data, you can:

  • Get a better quality and shorter list of candidates faster. 
  • Improve your hiring process
  • Focus on training people that are dedicated and will produce results
  • Reduce the risk of making bad hires and bad promotions

Opusuna uses a forward-thinking approach to teamwork grounded in behavioral science research and observation to provide actionable insights that are totally free from all forms of bias including age, gender, race, etc.

Moving Forward With Data In Talent Acquisition

As the world slowly awakens more to the myriad applications of data, it is inevitable that a host of industries begin to abandon traditional methods and take on data-driven initiatives in exchange. In the world of talent acquisition and recruitment, the ability to build an objective data-based profile of a prospective candidate is a game-changer for HR teams. Data-driven recruitment is helping companies and talent teams improve the quality of their hires while spending less. 

Candidates are having better recruitment experiences and the time to hire is shortened considerably. This is the result of a hiring process fueled by data and actionable insights. And this is what your hiring process could be like if you switch to a data-driven approach. So what are you waiting for?


  1. Nearly three in four employers affected by a bad hire, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey. Press Room | Career Builder. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://press.careerbuilder.com/2017-12-07-Nearly-Three-in-Four-Employers-Affected-by-a-Bad-Hire-According-to-a-Recent-CareerBuilder-Survey