Data is a powerful way to measure performance and is present within most modern recruitment strategies. The growing popularity of applicant tracking systems (ATSs) has made it easier for those who do academic hiring to access data from their hiring process. However, not all universities have made this investment or use data to influence and adjust their overall strategy. There are other ways to get access to data without investing in an ATS, and this can be achieved through using partners or designing your own process.

In this piece, we’re going to outline the 6 benefits of a data-driven recruitment strategy, as well as provide you with a downloadable guide full of valuable insights (and a free template) so you can start tracking your recruitment data and using it to your advantage. 

So, here are the top 6 benefits of data-driven recruitment:

  1. It increases candidate quality

Every recruitment team wants to find the best candidates on the market, and using data can help you increase candidate quality in two main ways. Firstly, you will be able to see clearly how many candidates you’re interviewing to make a hire, and secondly, you will be able to identify how many candidates make it through your interview process. 

This will show whether you are screening candidates properly, thus increasing the quality of your hires.

  1. It improves the candidate experience

Although hiring the best talent should be every institution’s goal, the candidate experience should be at the top of your priority list, too. Candidate experience not only shapes how your university or research institute is viewed by other institutions, but it can also affect whether candidates choose to accept the role you offer.

Candidate experience is crucial within academia, as highly sought-after candidates won’t just accept a position because it provides great career opportunities. A lot of the time, an individual will have to uproot their life to take a new position, so they’re interviewing you just as much as you’re interviewing them

Although still considered new within academic recruitment, candidate feedback forms are an interesting way to improve the candidate experience overall. They often work on a simple 1-10 scoring system, which can allow you to see unanimous high or low scores in a particular area. 

You can use this candidate feedback to improve or maintain parts of your hiring process. For example, the forms may show that candidates want to talk to HR or the international office during the interview process to understand the relocation services your institution offers international employees. 

 

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  1. It improves processes and keeps teams organised

Recruitment can be stressful, regardless of whether you’re managing the whole process yourself or as part of a search committee. If you are managing the whole process yourself, data such as what interview stages are due to be complete, or what paperwork needs to be sent are simple but powerful data points to keep you organised. 

Tracking these data points is equally as important when serving on or chairing a search committee. Having committee members log their progress in a centralised document, such as a spreadsheet, will help you stay organised.

  1. It decreases your time to hire

Academic hiring is a notoriously long process and it’s not unusual for it to take months, or sometimes years to fill a vacancy. Tracking how many interview stages candidates are going through (and how long it takes them to get to the end of a process) could help you spot bottlenecks or opportunities to speed up the process, even by just a few days.

Don’t be disheartened if your time to hire doesn’t go down overnight, though – filling a research vacancy is a marathon, not a sprint! Instead, use this data point as a point of reference to come back to once a year and see if some positions have been filled quicker than others, or, where you may have rushed the process. 

  1. It decreases your cost per hire

Hiring is expensive, especially if you choose to advertise beyond your university’s careers page. A data-driven recruitment approach might show you that certain advertising channels are inflating your cost per hire without delivering promising candidates. For example, advertising in a local paper or academic journal is costly, and the ROI of this exposure is difficult to measure. By tracking the sources of your candidates and hires, you can see which channels give you your money’s worth. 

You may find that certain advertising partners or job boards are consistently yielding the best ROI, meaning you can become laser-focused with your budget, rather than putting it into multiple “pots” instead!

  1. It removes some bias from your process

Although data doesn’t allow you to remove bias completely from the hiring process, it allows you to focus on facts and figures rather than opinions and intuition. If you are conscious about Diversity & Inclusion, tracking, for example, the number of female vs male candidates will allow you to see potential bias, as well as overall trends in female applicants and female hires. Universities are naturally keen to increase the representation of women in all academic roles, so you can use this data to then align your interview process accordingly!

In conclusion, a data-driven recruitment strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. Instead, it can be three or four points you measure that will undoubtedly benefit you in the future. 

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