Become A Data-Driven Recruiter – Surviving Looming TA Layoffs In 6 Simple Steps

I’ve found the best way to survive the looming wave of recruiter layoffs is to become data-driven.

Why? Because being data-driven allows an individual recruiter to successfully land better-performing new-hires faster and with fewer mis-hires. And surprisingly, it’s even possible to be data-driven as an individual recruiter, even if you work at a TA function with little access to data.

This shift towards being data-driven, with its superior results, will cause you to become highly requested among hiring managers. And that will be important because the current insane demand for recruiting and recruiters won’t go on for much longer. So don’t get caught off guard. Because in many industries, the current candidate shortage has already begun transitioning into an oversupply of candidates.

After 4 decades of working in recruiting. I can assure you that this shift in demand will surely mean that painful recruiter layoffs are on the horizon. I have found that the best way to become the “last recruiter standing” is to create the most visible business impacts as a result of being a data-driven recruiter. 

Yes, Individual Recruiters Can Be Data-Driven, Even In A Department That Is Not

Fortunately, you can become a data-driven individual recruiter, even within a recruiting function that is not data-driven. That is because most of the basic data you need to improve your recruiting decision-making can be gathered by an individual recruiter. 

Once you shift to a data-driven recruiter. You can then use new-hire performance information (the most important data point) to determine how to dramatically improve your results at each recruiting step. Five major steps that must become data-driven are 1) the most powerful candidate attraction factors, 2) the best sources for finding qualified candidates, 3) the most effective candidate assessment approaches, 4) the most powerful candidate selling approaches and 5) quantifying the business impacts from your hiring.

Part I – This Foundation Step Groups New Hires By Their Performance Level 

You can determine which new hires became top performers without using any sophisticated math. It is relatively easy to have hiring managers in a survey rate the performance of each new hire (high, average, or weak). And with this fundamental information, you can use that performance rating to determine which recruiting approaches you used (i.e., sources, interview questions, approaches, etc.) most accurately predict whether a candidate would later (on-the-job) become a top-performing or a poor-performing new hire. 

How to use “the rehire question” as a measure of new-hire on-the-job performance

The easiest way to identify the top-performing new hires in a job family is to survey the responsible hiring manager after the new hire has been on the job 3 to 6 months. In this survey, you simply ask the hiring manager:

“If that same position opened up again today, would you, without hesitation, rehire the same person?  or would you want to evaluate other applicants during the second chance opportunity?”

Those new hires that the manager wouldn’t hesitate to immediately rehire would be classified as high-performing hires. And those new hires that the manager would rethink their rehiring would be classified as weak performers. Next, you would want to check to see what recruiting and selection factors (i.e., interview scores, degrees, experience, etc.) those in the top-performing group had but that the other hires in the lower-performing group didn’t have. You can find more details on this hiring manager survey method for identifying top-performing hires here.

Part II – Identifying Which Recruiting Approaches Best Predict New-Hire Performance 

After you know which new hires are rated as top performers. You can then determine which individual recruiting and selection approaches best predict whether a candidate would become either a top performer or a weak performer. So data-driven individual recruiters must gather their own data in each of the five following recruiting areas. 

1) Identify The Top Attraction Factors For Your Top Performers.

It’s obvious that you can’t hire a top-performing candidate unless you first successfully attract them by highlighting their attraction factors in the recruitment advertising and job postings for this job. Using the right attraction factors for each job family is critical for success. Because the factors that attract the best performers are significantly different from the factors that attract the average or average applicant (e.g., top performers want performance-based pay, whereas average candidates want equal and guaranteed pay). Fortunately, it is relatively easy even for an individual recruiter to identify the top attraction factors of their best-performing hires. 

How to identify the attraction factors used by the best-performing new hires 

You can easily identify the top candidate attraction factors by first electronically surveying all top-performing new hires in a job family. Simply ask these top performers to list (in ranked order) the top five most influential attraction factors that they used to select the organizations that they applied to. Use this ranked list to create a master list of the attraction factors that had the most impact on your best new hires. And once you know the most powerful factors. You should then use these “top candidate attraction factors” in your future recruitment materials and pitches for this job family. And, of course, you should avoid highlighting any attraction factors that had little impact on your best candidates. Because that shift alone will provide you with a significantly higher volume of quality candidates that are likely to become top performers. 

2) Identify The Best Sources For Convincing Top Performers To Apply

Even when you highlight the most powerful attraction factors in your recruiting materials. They will have a minimal impact unless they are seen or heard by the top candidates. And that means that you must identify the best sources for finding your most desirable candidates. 

How to identify the most effective sources

Identifying the most effective sources simply requires an electronic survey of each of your top-performing new hires. Those sources might include employee referrals, niche job boards, boomerang rehires, or even large job boards. And by asking the best new hires to name the specific sources that actually convinced them to apply for your open job. You can then use this information to create a ranked list of the most effective (and the least effective) sources among those that you actually used. In the future, if you focus your sourcing only on the most effective ones for convincing top performers to apply. That will once again increase your volume of high-quality candidates that were compelled to actually apply.

3) Identify The Most Effective Candidate Assessment Approaches

Even if you successfully attract them and get them to apply. You won’t end up hiring the very best performers unless you only use the most effective assessment approaches to screen in top candidates. And for screening out the weak ones. This is critical because in too many cases, candidates who would have turned out to be top performing new hires are screened out prematurely for many irrelevant reasons. Like ineffective interview questions, bad body language, or insufficient (but unnecessary) credentials. 

How to identify the most/least effective candidate assessment approaches

The process of identifying the most effective assessment approaches requires a little work on the part of the recruiter. Start by requiring assessors to assign a numerical performance score (with 100 being the best) to each major assessment area. Those key assessment areas often include resume screening criteria, interview scores, reference check scores, and technical/psychological assessment tests. Then require each assessor to assign a separate numerical score to each assessment step. Obviously, each assessment area where the top-performing new hires earned high numerical scores (85% or higher) should be continued to be used. However, those individual assessment approaches that didn’t successfully predict future top-performing hires (or are those that even had a negative impact) should be either modified or dropped by this recruiter.

4) The Most Effective Candidate Selling Approaches

No matter how effective all of your existing recruiting and assessment processes are. You won’t end up actually hiring the best “in demand” candidates. Unless you also utilize the most effective finalist selling approaches. So it is critical for each recruiter to identify the most powerful selling approaches that effectively convince finalists to say yes to your offer. 

How to identify the most effective finalist selling approaches

The most effective method for identifying the most compelling selling approaches is to electronically survey previously offered finalists in this job family. This group of finalists would include all of those that turned down your offer, as well as those top-performing new hires that ended up accepting it. In the survey, simply list the individual selling approaches that you utilized in your offer and in your discussions with the finalists. And ask each finalist to rate the effectiveness of the selling approach from A to F. Then, in the future, focus on only using the most convincing A or B-rated selling approaches that were highly ranked by either your top finalists or your top-performing new hires. 

5) Report your quantified business impacts

The last action step is widely reporting the quantified business impacts of your hiring. This is critical because both executives and hiring managers are almost universally in love with “the language of business” (i.e., dollars). So if you want to get and maintain their dependence on you, you will need to put an estimated dollar amount on the business impacts that result from your effective recruiting. This can best be done by focusing the quantification of your recruiting results on jobs that are already measured. Because when you report that you have improved business results through better hiring in these jobs. Executives can easily see and understand your dollar impact.

How to identify the dollar impacts generated by your recruiting 

Of course, everyone intuitively knows that high-performing new hires will produce more value than average new hires. However, if you want to prove this to skeptical executives, you need to have recruited at least a handful of new hires in a job family where individual employee performance is already measured and quantified in dollars. This can best be accomplished by focusing on recruiting for jobs where the performance of each new hire is already measured and quantified in dollars on a regular basis (i.e., sales, revenue generation, business development, collections, customer returns, or in jobs that can create significant cost reductions).

The first step is to identify the jobs that you recruit into which employee results are ready quantified. Next, you must calculate the average dollar amount that was generated last year by the highest-performing, the average, and the lowest-performing groups of new hires during their first six months on the job. And then, you compare last year’s average results in these three performance groups. With the average result amounts generated by new hires in each performance category during their first six months of this year. You then compare the improvement in the results between this year’s and last year’s new hires to determine how much the quantified results of your new-hires in this job family have improved.

For example, if the average top-performing new-hire salesperson this year improved their sales (over last year) by $100,000 during their first six months. And if you hired six of them this year. Your improvement in your business impacts would be $600,000. And if your salary as a recruiter was only $75,000 per year. With that ROI, you have earned longer-term job security!

Another way to improve your job security as a recruiter is to demonstrate that you excel at filling the most difficult-to-recruit high-priority jobs. And that you are an expert in both metrics and assessing and implementing recruiting technology. You can learn more about surviving the upcoming mass recruiter layoffs here.

If you only do one thing – the simplest way to reveal your impact as a recruiter is to simply show recruiting leaders that as a result of hiring manager surveys covering new-hire performance. The percentage of your new hires that were rated by managers to be top performers went up at least 10%, when compared to last year’s percentage. 

Final Thoughts

During the upcoming business downturn and the tight budget times, every individual recruiter should be focused on how they are generating a much higher percentage of better-performing hires. As well as how they are using data to continually improve their hiring process. And finally, they should show executives how they have worked with the CFO to accurately estimate the actual dollars of business impacts that have recently been generated from their improved recruiting. Because by demonstrating to both hiring managers and executives that you should be their first choice in recruiters. So that even during times of highly restricted hiring, you will likely be the very last recruiter standing!

Author’s Note 

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About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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