Gut instinct or data-led recruitment? It depends if you want the skills to succeed

June 27, 2019

In Spencer Johnson’s book, ‘Who Moved my Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life’, he argued that, ‘while in the past we may have wanted loyal employees, today we need flexible people who are not possessive about the way things are done’. Even though the book was published in 1998, this message resonates even more so today.

Technology is transforming roles, and requiring people to possess a new set of skills to carry out the new positions required by post-digital era organisations. The question for HR is… how can they create a flexible talent pipeline, especially since the skills required for the future relate to jobs that haven’t even been created yet, and contending with the fact that people no longer feel loyalty to an employer. The answer is… through a talent pipeline driven by data insight.

The future landscape of the labour market

In our latest research report, ‘The insight edge in talent acquisition’, 31% of business leaders state that not improving data and insights in talent acquisition activity will lead to them losing out on securing the best candidates and increased recruitment difficulties - in the current marketplace gaining talent is fiercely competitive. So, business leaders understand how important using data is to their talent acquisition, but what are they doing about it?

If HR teams start to act now and begin to build talent pipelines using their data and its insights, this will enable them to nurture relationships with the right candidates until it’s time to hire them.

HR’s transformation to a strategic function

Long gone are the days of being able to rely on candidates applying organically when a job advert is posted, the talent you need is passive – currently in a role but could be swayed for the right opportunity. HR needs to be proactive, finding those candidates and opening up a dialogue. The role of recruitment has changed with HR becoming a strategic adviser for the business, workforce plans now need to align to the wider organisational future strategies.

The shift to target, nurture and eventually hire the right people from traditional short-term sights of filling current vacancies is occurring as over half (54%) of HR leaders from our research stated they base recruitment decisions on detailed gap analysis and hard data, yet there are still many businesses that are yet to do so. With 46% of organisations still relying on their ‘instinct and gut feel’ when assessing and forecasting the skill gaps and strengths, this is concerning and not a viable strategy for the future success of a business if they want to win the war for talent. 

Data the enabler

Robert Wilde, CEO of Volcanic, the leading global provider of recruitment technology argues that ‘data is the single most effective decision-making tool’, and this is most definitely the case if HR teams utilise the market insight, workforce trends and skill gap analysis that data can offer. Data allows HR to create, target and engage with carefully curated talent pools for specifically defined skill sets, aligned to future business plans. Our Decision Support Tool is our own in-house developed data insights solution. We deep-dive, decipher and provide you with the necessary information and analysis of your workforce, allowing you to focus on making smart strategic and tactical decision making across hiring and workforce planning.

No matter how data is retrieved, for a pipeline to be filled and continually flowing it is humans who will nurture and build the relationships with the prospective employees. Data can enable HR to add further value to their role and be confident in their hiring decisions, knowing that they are supported by hard evidence to justify actions and have the ability to report and measure on the progress of their talent pipeline, evaluating where funnel fall-outs occur most and how to plug them through targeted talent acquisition strategies.

As HR becomes a more commercially minded function their operations and processes will need to transform too; relying on gut instinct and a hunch is not enough and certainly not justifiable in the boardroom. Through data, the recruitment arm of HR can align to business and workforce planning strategies. Delving into the data goldmine they sit on in their own company, HR can understand their workforce capabilities and shortfalls, the wider labour market trends and forecast accurately to proactively build their talent pipeline through nurture campaigns with those skilled passive candidates whose loyalty lies with no one. But through measurable targeted talent acquisition strategies, you can make your next hire with the confidence they will provide the skills your business needs, now and in the future.

If you would like to discuss your data challenges and how we can help support you in taking a data-led approach to talent acquisition, get in touch with us today and we'll put you in contact with one of our talent experts.

Access the full research findings from 'The insight edge to talent acquisition' here.

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