The Complete Guide to Data-Driven Recruiting & Recruitment Analytics

by Mike Tannian on May 24, 2022

Learn how your government agency can use data-driven recruiting and recruitment analytics to reduce your costs and time to hire.

Article Highlights

Until recently, most hiring by both public sector and private sector organizations was just a patchwork of guesswork and gut feeling. So, it’s no surprise why 75% of all companies have made at least one bad hire. Bad hires can cost $15,000, but losing a good hire (say, because of a long hiring process) can cost as much as $30,000.

HR professionals have recently gotten bullish on data-driven recruiting, using recruitment software to help identify top talent, remove unqualified candidates, and fill positions faster.

Data-driven recruitment can reduce the guesswork of many hiring managers. Rather than trying to read 100 résumés, spending just a few seconds on each one, recruitment software can immediately identify the candidates who meet the initial criteria. These AI-based recruitment solutions can help you figure out if you're meeting diversity goals in your interview and hiring process, or if there are shortcomings to address.

Recruitment analytics software can revolutionize your organization's hiring efforts, saving you as much as $4,400 and 21 hours per job filled. That's important when you have 20 positions to fill in a single quarter.

That’s why we’re going to show you the benefits of data-driven recruiting and how it can help you achieve your business goals, make informed recruiting decisions, and streamline your recruiting funnel.

What is Recruitment Analytics?

Recruitment analytics is data measurement and analysis for the recruiting industry. The analysis helps your recruiting team understand the success of your recruitment program, spot any bottlenecks or trouble areas, and adjust the different touchpoints of the customer journey based on informative insights.

With recruitment analytics, you can measure important recruitment metrics like:  

  • Candidate experience 
  • Number of qualified hires
  • Recruiting costs 
  • Time to hire 
  • Time to productivity

Importance of data analytics in recruitment

Other industries and fields, such as manufacturers, sales departments, wealth management firms, and even baseball teams, measure their performance metrics on a daily (if not hour-by-hour) basis. They look for patterns of outstanding performance, dips in productivity, and sticking points that keep them from achieving optimal numbers in all functions and departments.

So, it makes sense that we should use HR analytics in recruitment, too. After all, you need to know that every step in your recruitment process is working properly.

According to HR Today, "78% of large companies rated people analytics as 'urgent' or 'important.'" But at the same time, only 7% of those large companies say their organizations have "strong" HR data analytics capabilities. Using HR data analytics can help you reduce employee churn, identify skills gaps, and reduce both the time to hire and cost to hire.

How to Use Data in Your Hiring Process

Using data in hiring and recruitment does so much more than just tell you whether they meet all of your hiring criteria. Analyzing your data can help you improve your entire recruitment process and give you insights to things that it might otherwise be difficult to figure out.

Here are some ways you can leverage data-driven recruiting.

    • Forecast your hiring goals. For example, knowing your average number of job applicants can tell you how many you need to hire one employee. You can benchmark your average applicants and then know if you're meeting your goal for that position.
    • Establish your hiring budget. You can see which job platforms deliver the highest number of qualified candidates. This can tell you whether and where to increase your budget. You can also see how long your time to hire is and how many hours your staff uses on a single job placement. Then, you can use that information to justify hiring more HR staff or find new ways to streamline your hiring process.
    • Reduce unconscious bias. Examine your diversity selection ratio for candidates and new hires. Make sure you're not letting biased thinking or disadvantaged recruiting practices filter out qualified veteran, BIPOC, and female candidates or keep you from meeting your organization's diversity goals.
    • Find areas of improvement and efficiency. Are there sticking points where your time to hire is being affected? Are your cost-to-hire figures on the rise? Will candidate assessments help you find more qualified candidates more easily? With  recruitment data analytics, you can perform A/B tests on your recruiting strategy to see which elements are working – and which need work.
  • Create new programs and initiatives. Share data and findings with management via your recruiting metrics dashboard to advocate for new programs and initiatives, like an employee referral program or recruiting at HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities). With your recruitment analytics software, you can show the indisputable figures of your organization's performance and show where you need to increase spending, reduce postings, and launch new initiatives. Then you can show how those efforts are succeeding.

How to Choose the Right Recruitment Data

Of course, there may be dozens, if not hundreds, of data points to analyze in your pile of recruitment data. In fact, thanks to the data collection technology today, it would be surprising if you didn't have mountains of data to sift through.

Fortunately, the AI-based recruitment data software can process it, but you want to be selective about the kind of data you're actually examining. You can start by assessing and creating your HR/recruitment goals, which can help you determine which recruiting data is most important for your organization to measure. Here are a few data points to consider including on your recruitment analytics dashboard.

  • Application completion rate. It's one thing to bring in a lot of visitors to your jobs portal and to a job posting. But how many people actually completed an application for the position? How many of them abandoned the process after they started, and at what point did they stop? If your application is too long or complex, qualified candidates will quit the application — as many as 60% of them will quit once they realize it's long and complex.
  • Applications per posting. Tracking the number of applications per posting helps you determine when the talent pool is large enough to schedule interviews. According to our own research, that's an average of 25 job applications for public sector job postings. This measure can also tell you how well a recruitment ad is performing and whether you should post the job on other boards. This way, you can make sure you're promoting the role properly on social media and see whether the salary is enough to encourage applicants.
  • Cost per hire. Hiring staff isn't free, and it certainly isn't cheap. There's all the time your staff spends sourcing candidates, reviewing résumés, conducting interviews, paying for job postings, and conducting background checks. On average, it can cost as much as $4,425 to hire for a single position. If you need to hire 20 people in a year, that's $88,500. It's important to know the cost per hire so you can measure how much you've saved by using an applicant tracking system or candidate relationship management software.
  • Time to hire. The public sector's time-to-hire is three times as long as the private sector's, which can be a problem when you're competing for the same top talent. You'll frequently see your top candidates get scooped up by private sector organizations. And other candidates may get frustrated and quit the recruitment process. If that happens enough times, you're left to choose from the remaining talent, including some slightly-under qualified candidates. A long time to hire can also have a negative effect on the candidate experience, which they may report to family and friends.
  • Source of hire. Which job boards and platforms deliver the most qualified candidates? Which ones are more likely to deliver the most new employees? For example, GovernmentJobs.com is 177% more likely to deliver a qualified hire than Indeed.com. Knowing your best sources of candidates will tell you where you should spend more of your job posting dollars and where you can cut your spending.
  • Candidate experience. It's important that you offer a positive candidate experience to applicants, as it can affect the kinds and quality of candidates you attract and whether disqualified candidates might apply for another job at your organization later on. It can also affect your organization's brand reputation, which can have an impact on your effectiveness in your community. (Or if you're a private corporation, it can affect your profitability.) Finally, a poor experience can drive top candidates to abandon the process and accept other jobs, even for less money.
  • Offer acceptance rate. Many job seekers receive different job offers, so tracking the offer acceptance rate can show you how competitive your offers are compared to other agencies and corporations. If you have a low acceptance rate, you may need to reassess your hiring process and offer packages to candidates. The salary and benefits may be low, the job perks may be lacking, or maybe your brand reputation has problems. 
  • Quality of hire. Having a great acceptance rate or time to hire doesn't mean anything if you regularly make a bad hire or hire unqualified candidates. Quality of hire can be measured both subjectively and objectively, through manager interviews and by tracking employee KPIs. In fact, tracking KPIs from the start date to the time a new employee starts regularly hitting their goals is known as…
  • Time to productivity. A good measurement of the quality of hire is how long it takes them to learn the ropes and begin hitting their productivity goals.
  • First-year retention rate. As many as 56% of all new hires leave their jobs within a year; 40% leave within the first six months. If your first-year turnover rates are high, you may need to lengthen your onboarding period. Also, make sure your job descriptions align with the daily responsibilities, and that your company culture aligns with the organizational brand reputation.

Benefits of Recruitment Analytics Software

Leveraging data as part of your recruiting strategy benefits both your agency and your candidates’ recruitment experiences. With AI-driven recruitment analytics software, organizations can analyze mountains of historical data and current records to find patterns, problems, and areas for improvement.

Get help from an ATS or HRIS

Recruitment data analytics is not something you can do on your own. It takes special software to manage all those algorithms and metrics, which is why it's usually part of applicant tracking software (ATS) or a human resources information system (HRIS). 

Recruitment data is rolled up into the regular ATS or HRIS, where candidate data can be compared to employee data. You can also use them to spot things like potential hiring needs and employee dissatisfaction and departures or compare candidate skills to employee criteria.

Key recruitment analytics features and benefits

  • Dashboards. To easily visualize and understand data, it's important to have recruitment analytics dashboards to highlight important data points and provide comparisons between key metrics. Not only do they pull together the important, must-see metrics into a single place – an effective recruiting metrics dashboard will also help you track progress to goals.
  • Reporting. Reports are not the same thing as analytics. Reporting tells you what happened; analytics tells you why. But you need to know what happened before you can determine why. Reports collect and translate data so you can understand it. But not all analytics tools offer easy-to-understand reporting, and it's important that you are able to make your reports understandable to your managers.
  • Standard Reports. Rather than building all of your reports by hand, recruitment software has standard reports that you can customize for your own organization. They're created to be explanatory and visually appealing, ideal for sharing with management to keep them abreast of your recruitment efforts.
  • Predictive Analytics. An important metric in data-driven hiring is predictive analytics. These are not just about reporting what has already happened – they can show you what's about to happen, the positions that are about to open up, and whether a candidate will be able to perform in a role.
  • Friendly User Interface (UI). Most software solutions have a user-friendly interface that makes operation easy and intuitive. It helps even the newest users operate the software easily and without a lot of extra training or delays.
  • Pass point Analysis. Your software should also perform pass point analyses to make sure candidates have the requisite skills to do the job. A pass point is the score on an assessment or series of assessments that shows a person has the critical skills to succeed on the job. Keep in mind that your pass point shouldn't be so high that it rejects otherwise-good applicants or so low that you include minimally-qualified applicants.
  • Industry focus. Was the software built for your industry? Do the makers understand your industry and the special nuances and requirements? The public sector has a lot of red tape and specific requirements about how recruitment has to operate to stay compliant, so you want software that will make it easy to stay compliant and report the results of those efforts.

HR recruitment analytics from NEOGOV

Not all recruiting analytics software solutions are created equal. Each has its own features and benefits, but NEOGOV added three key features exclusively for the public sector in order to help them improve their processes and DEI initiatives.

Our three integrated, cloud-based modules – Recruit, Develop, Manage – can be accessed all from one centralized platform.

The Recruit module helps you attract new candidates to your organization through our own website, GovernmentJobs.com. Recruit also helps you post job openings to different job boards so you can source more quality candidates, and makes it easy for you to increase your exposure by boosting the job postings that aren't driving enough new applications.

In Recruit, you're even able to see the applicant flow and job posting health in real-time. And you have the ability to analyze recruitment timelines to identify opportunities to reduce your time to hire.

Insight, one of Recruit's key features, offers user-friendly reports and dashboards that offer data visualization and analysis. This feature comes with 90 standard reports, advanced ad-hoc reporting, adverse impact statistics, and dashboards to help you make more informed hiring decisions. 

The Develop module helps HR teams build a more capable workforce. It automates annual and probationary employee evaluations, allowing your HR team and department heads to identify skills gaps and areas of improvement in their employees. NEOGOV offers several development tools and customized training programs that support employees and maintain organizational compliance.

Develop's Perform feature allows for continuous communication with employees by providing manager feedback and goal tracking through email notifications, mobile or desktop journals, and scheduled and recurring check-ins.

You can also use Develop to analyze data and identify bottlenecks in the evaluation process and track the status of performance reviews across managers and departments.

Finally, the Manage module ensures that public sector HR teams stay organized and compliant. Manage centralizes employee data, payroll, and benefits, and streamlines form-based processes.

Final Thoughts

Data-driven recruitment is the wave of the future in human resources, both in the private sector and the public sector. Of course, the public sector has several issues to overcome, as it takes much longer than the private sector to fill positions. But by leveraging the right HR software and recruitment analytics, your organization can improve your application conversion rate, increase the diversity of your talent pool, and shorten your cost and time to hire – helping you close this gap and attract and retain top talent. 

To see how you can set your organization on track with data-driven recruiting and other public sector HR solutions, schedule a free demo with our team today.

Mike Tannian

Mike Tannian is the Head of Content Marketing at NEOGOV. With a talented team of writers by his side, he aims to produce content that delivers real value.