How Data-Driven Recruitment Changes How We Hire

Finding top talent is critical in today’s competitive environment. The difference between a top performer and an average one can be a staggering 400 percent difference in productivity! This is huge for any company, especially when you look at the long-term benefits of top performers on the team.

Compare this to bad hires and the costs associated with them. There are the actual costs of hiring that individual, but there are also costs to the loss in productivity, team morale and opportunity. A bad hire in a junior position can easily cost a company $50,000 – a fraction of the damage done for senior roles.

Therefore, it’s paramount for recruiters to make the best decisions about the best candidate for a position. If hiring managers don’t know why they’re not finding, attracting and hiring the right people, it’s impossible to fix and improve this process. This is why so many recruiters have turned to data-driven recruiting.

In this article, I will give some examples of how data-driven recruitment is changing how we hire people.

"If hiring managers don't know why they're not finding, attracting and hiring the right people, it's impossible to fix and improve this process. This is why so many recruiters have turned into data-driven recruiting. "


When it comes to pre-hiring, there are certain key things you can do to elevate the recruitment function to the next level.

Predictive Turnover Analytics

Often, recruiters are trying to fill positions in a reactive manner. A key employee is leaving, after which a recruiter will try to find a replacement as soon as possible. This type of reactive recruitment is always lagging and is costly in terms of opportunity and loss of productivity.

Knowing how your workforce will change over time will help you become a more proactive recruiter. By analyzing turnover risks, you can predict which positions might be at risk. Taking steps to ensure you’re well prepared, you will reduce the costs of employees leaving. This, in turn, will prove your own value to the company.

Recruitment Sources

Next, data-driven recruitment helps you find the best recruitment channel. Oftentimes, recruiters spend a lot of money and time at recruitment sources that don’t yield the best candidates. Using recruitment metrics such as costs and effectiveness comparison, you can choose the right recruitment source for your company.

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Data-driven recruitment can not only help you with pre-hiring, but also with the hiring process itself.

Assessment Tools

Hiring managers used to assess whether a candidate had the right personality and intellect; they relied on their gut feelings to assess whether the candidate was the right fit for the position. However, these gut instincts have been shown to be unreliable predictors of success.

Candidates often exaggerate on their resumes and give hiring managers a false indication of the intelligence and experience a candidate really has. Assessment tools such as automated scoring and screen questions, and IQ and personality tests are a great way to see whether the candidate has what it takes for the role. This type of data-driven recruitment reduces the time it takes to hire a person and increases the level of fit between a candidate and the position.

An advanced approach to calculate the benefit of recruitment tools is the utility analysis. This helps to calculate the ROI of using different selection tools.

Improved Interview Questions

Even though assessment tools can greatly increase the effectiveness of your recruitment functions, there will always be conversations between the hiring manager(s) and the candidate.

These conversations are often riddled by questions that have a bias associated with them or don’t showcase the true potential of a candidate. Luckily, there are numerous data-backed questionnaires available that will allow you ask the questions that matter - the type that are unbiased, to the point and reflective of the skills needed to perform well. This type of data-driven interview will allow you to better assess a candidate’s fit for the role.

An even more interesting practice is tracking answers of interview questions with the performance of the hire. If successful hires answer certain questions regarding drive or culture similarly, this could indicate you’ve found a good performer when a candidate gives a similar response. According to Laszlo Bock, Google’s qDroid uses this system to filter out the best from the average candidates.


So, you’re predicting when key employees are most likely to leave the company, and you’ve identified which recruitment source to use to hire a replacement. During the hiring process, you used assessment tools as well as science-backed interview questions.

You’ve hired a suitable candidate. Now what?

Now it’s time to come full circle in your post-hiring process.

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Success of the Hire

After you’ve hired someone, you want to make sure your data-driven recruitment actually paid off.

  • Is the candidate performing up to standards?
  • Is he/she a good fit for the company?
  • How long is he/she staying at the company?

Answering these questions through a data-driven performance management system allows you to assess the effectiveness of your recruitment. If you’ve found your new hires are not performing as well as you’d hoped, you may need to tweak your hiring tools. Similarly, if your new hires are leaving quickly, the markers identifying good fit may need to be adjusted.

Perhaps you’re asking the wrong questions or your assessment tools aren’t accurate. Look at the high-performers in your company. From a data standpoint, why are they high-performers? Is it their IQ, their motivation, or rather their skills and experiences? Whatever it may be, tweak your hiring tools accordingly to make sure your next new hires become top performers in your company.


Due to the intense competition for high-potential people, recruitment functions must continuously improve to keep up with demand. Understanding where and how you can improve your recruitment process is vital to your success. Making decisions on gut feelings only gets you so far; whereas, data-driven recruitment can elevate your recruitment function to the next level.

Making decisions on gut feelings can only get you so far, whereas data-driven recruitment can elevate your recruitment function to the next level.

The recruitment process is a treasure trove of data that, when mined carefully, reveals important information on whether a candidate will be the right fit. Analyzing this information and acting upon it will enable you to stay a step ahead of your competition.

With the ever-growing role of technology, a lot of these functionalities can be done through the use of relevant recruitment tools. These tools can help source candidates, select the best ones and onboard new hires faster. Adopting high-performing technology will lead to better decisions.

Enabling data-driven recruitment in your company is within your power. Good luck with the rest of your recruitment journey!

Author's Bio

Erik van Vulpen is the founder of Analytics in HR (AIHR). He is a writer, speaker and trainer on people analytics. Erik is an instructor for the HR Analytics Academy and has extensive experience in the application of HR analytics.