Leah Daniels
Leah Daniels

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – How I Found My Religion in the Form of Data-Driven Recruiting

December 14, 2016 at 05:43 PM — Post

For reasons unknown, last weekend I was pondering the reading of my youth, and I was struck by the challenge Judy Blume presents in her book ‘Are you there God? It’s Me Margaret.’ I’m fairly certain that every woman between the ages of 10 and 15 read this book… which was essentially a right of passage into adulthood (at least it was for me). In case you are not familiar or were never a 15 year old girl, the overarching theme asks, how do you personally thrive in a world with competing religions? In the story, Margaret’s mom and dad have different religions and she is searching for a simple answer to which she should choose to follow.

I am much older now and it’s been a long time since I last read the book, but navigating various ideas, philosophies and fads throughout both personal and professional careers remains, for most of us, a consistent challenge. Since beginning my career working with recruiting organizations, I have seen many challenges in the processes that Talent Acquisition leaders experience when making recruitment decisions – some are minor and some are major philosophical shifts in the business’s landscape.   Use data to deal with talent acquisition challenges.

Stick with me on this…

In the book, the problem Margaret faces is that not only are her parents of different religions, but she has frequent exposure to her grandparents, who are faced with an interfaith marriage. Her coming of age is dictated by varying sources of biased information mixed with her own insecurities of what she knows, feels and wants to do.

In the world of recruiting, when I think of the new year just around the corner, I’m reminded of all the excitement of planning and budgeting for 2017 – and I think about all the sales pitches, renewal notices, price increases and exaggerated information that I will get to digest in my quest to figure out what I need to make my recruiting operation run smoothly next year.

So what do Margaret & December have to do with each other?

One of the toughest parts of recruitment planning is that there is no crystal ball – you cannot always know who will leave, what roles will open, where exactly your growth will accelerate.  Through regular analysis and maintenance of data, you can develop a relative idea, based off last year’s churn in various departments, of the current years expected growth, etc., to help you shape part of the picture of what the upcoming year will look like.  

But in talks with your vendors, looking at this data is crucial in evaluating and making decisions.  Recruiting tools are varied: generalist job boards, niche job boards, recruiting associations, colleges, technical acceleration programs… and the list goes on.

In addition to this, each of these solutions have either specific or general audiences, and very different consumption models: organic, duration-based, slot-based, subscription-based, pay per click, pay per lead, or pay per applicant. Sorting out how much of each source you need is nearly impossible without clear, accurate data around which sources performed the best.

Each of these sources is both a ‘religion’ and an ‘influencer’ in your decision.  And as a buyer, you are always coming of age.  You will continue to understand the market better overtime, and learn something new each year as your vendors share their developments, new technology solutions, and continued innovation.

But, as a Hiring Manager, this problem trickles down to your individual recruiters – where should they post their jobs? Which board will produce the candidates you need today for that hard-to-fill job?  Should the recruiter use the one that worked last time or is there another option?  Should they use two different boards?  There is a tricky balance of spend versus return; something that is hard to predict before you have sent your job into the universe that is the interwebs.

Put your faith in data-driven recruitment. The catch: it doesn’t need to be this complicated. The key to knowing what you’re looking for is to accept that you can’t possibly know where your top candidates are going to be, but that technology can.  When you start watching how data moves, what candidates are applying to what kinds of jobs on which boards, you can make calculated decisions on where those candidates are most likely going to be living at that very moment in time– and you should put the job in front of those candidates.  

You, my friend, are Margaret. And like her, you have vendors who have loud voices, big numbers and somehow manage to twist your knowledge (cough, grandmother, cough). You are seeking a religion that is simple. You understand that your job is special, needs to find its perfect candidates and that data allows you to see your recruiting performance in a broader, more accurate, and also much easier picture frame.  You can and should put your faith in a new recruiting religion: data-driven recruitment.

Download Appcast & SmashFly’s Benchmarking Kit for Data-Driven Recruitment Marketers.