It seems hard to believe today, but when I started working in the recruiting industry in the late 1990s, people were still faxing resumes to companies for jobs that they found in newspapers. Those faxes were then scanned by hand into the recruiting software of the time, and reviewed individually by administrative staff for optical character recognition errors. Only then, about three days later, could a recruiter review the resume online.
The process was pretty revolutionary for the time, but still slow and fraught with errors. This was before the explosion of online job boards, which increased the volume of resumes that companies were getting exponentially. At that point, employers’ focus shifted from getting enough candidates to dealing with resume overload.
Since then, sourcing specialists have replaced HR generalists, online profiles have replaced paper resumes, and candidates are often the ones deluged by emails from recruiters who found them on a social network. While teams are handling a much higher volume of resumes, a shroud of mystery still hovers over the best way to market job openings and attract the best candidates. Enter the latest way to get a leg up on your recruiting competition (coined in 1997 as the “War for Talent” by McKinsey): sourcing analytics.
Analyzing Recruiting Spend
Today, corporate recruiting staffs have to deal with the problem of finding enough talent to fill their open positions and deluge of (often unqualified) resumes. The challenge is that companies are spending millions of dollars on advertising jobs and trying to attract good candidates, with no way to determine which methods are effective. Recruiters themselves call this the “post-and-pray” methodology.
Job boards are often reporting only on candidate traffic, leaving organizations to come up with their own way to measure whether they are actually getting hires from that traffic. The only way to capture solid analytics is to be very diligent about pulling candidates from every single source back through the corporate career site or talent community so that all the data is in one place. This is a relatively new idea, and a lot of companies are not there yet. But, for the companies that are, it’s like being a kid in a candy store.
This type of data is fairly standard for marketing departments, but very new for recruiters. With sourcing analytics, when a company runs a specific job marketing campaign, they can immediately se that it generated 200 applications, 30 interviews, 10 offers, and eight hires. Having this data is incredibly valuable and allows the companies to be very nimble with their recruiting strategy and their recruiting marketing dollars.
The Future of Recruiting
There are some industry experts who believe that LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social sites will eliminate job boards because they offer lower costs and higher performance. However, a closer look at the data inside of some of the companies using sourcing analytics shows that the story is more complex than that. Some of the smaller job boards are producing very good results for some hard-to-fill positions. Meanwhile, social networks are increasing their prices (and adding features) to capture more of this job marketing revenue, but vary widely in their ability to deliver top candidates for key jobs.
As candidates continue to apply and companies continue to recruit, more companies will realize that having good sourcing analytics is not just a competitive differentiator, but a necessity for finding, attracting, and engaging the best talent.