It’s a Brave New World: Predictive Analytics and the Future of Talent Acquisition

Emily Crookston

Does this sound familiar? Your firm is hiring, so your recruiter reaches out to several qualified candidates. Your talent acquisition team pours hours into pushing candidates through the recruitment pipeline — reading resumes, setting up interviews, wining and dining your top picks. Finally, you find the perfect match and make a strong offer. Sure, she has multiple offers, but you bonded with her over your mutual love for the Patriots, so you’re confident she’ll come work with your team.

But that’s not what happens. Sure enough, your top candidate has chosen a position with your closest competitor. You go back to your shortlist, but those candidates have moved on to other opportunities. Now, you must start the entire process over again. There must be a better way!

Yes, there is — smart companies are channeling this kind of pressure into an opportunity to embrace new technologies and develop new employment models that leverage the resources available in the open talent economy. Together, predictive analytics and platforms designed to effectively funnel talent where needed are powerful drivers in the future of talent acquisition.

It’s no secret that we are living in a candidate-driven hiring market. So, how can companies position themselves to take advantage of the latest data-driven tools revolutionizing recruitment?

The Role of Analytics and Data Science

First, understanding this potential goldmine is crucial to putting it to work to optimize your firm’s hiring strategy. Predictive analytics is becoming increasingly important to talent acquisition efforts. Sophisticated analytics teams are more often being asked to prioritize recruiting workflows, optimize workforce planning, evaluate recruiting sources, assess quality of hire and make recommendations about how to use pre-hire assessments most efficiently.

In addition, the accelerating pace of technology means that there is an overwhelming set of available solutions for any number of specific recruitment challenges.

Other emerging technologies include:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Machine-to-machine learning
  • Robotic process automation
  • Natural language processing

Many websites also use chatbots to help guide candidates through the application process with adaptive and sequenced questioning. This both saves HR staff from having to field calls coming in from job candidates and results in more accurate pre-screening results.

As well as these cognitive technologies function these days, there is no reason to waste human hours on tedious HR tasks. If you are currently using an older platform that can’t adapt to emerging technologies, it is time to invest in something that will meet your needs.

The benefits of analytics and data-driven talent strategies do not end with freeing up human employees to spend more time working within their zones of genius either. Imagine being able to predict the job performance and longevity of your next hire. The signs are there if you know how to look for them.

Eliminate Useless Search Criteria

The prototype for your ideal employee already exists. What prevents you from sorting actual candidates accurately according to reliable criteria based on this ideal employee prototype? Simply put, hiring managers sometimes rely too much on intuition, implicit bias and other assumptions. But enough data exists within your organization and through public and private resources to transform your job search process from intuition pumping to reliable, repeatable formulas.

Certain data clearly is not a good gauge of a candidate’s future performance, but other data will absolutely distill candidate performance into the right list of search criteria. Data-driven platforms and services are providing better search criteria than ever before. There are analytics companies that specialize in evaluating your top performer and turning her soft skills into a powerful metric which you can use to predict whether a candidate will be a strong fit.

The goal of platforms and services making use of predictive analytics is not only to make the hiring process easier by eliminating unreliable steps, but also to increase employee retention. Many analytics companies boast increasing employee retention for their clients by upwards of 67 percent or more. This is especially relevant for companies wanting to understand how to keep millennials, 74 percent of whom report planning to leave their jobs within the next three years.

Improve Hiring Assessments

Another place where predictive analytics are useful is in evaluating and reevaluating your hiring assessments. Unreliable data sets can be as bad, or worse, than no data at all. Case in point: consider employee engagement assessments. Asking employees to report personal benchmarks, job satisfaction and evaluate themselves tells department heads almost nothing.

Without understanding the margin for error, it’s impossible to compare responses or draw any consistent, data-driven conclusions. And if you try to trace backwards from these assessments to what makes employees in your company happy, you introduce another level of inconsistency based on your own assumptions about the responses.

The same holds true for hiring assessments. If your recruitment process isn’t clean, your results won’t be dependable. The first step is separating verifiable data from what’s unsubstantiated. Essentially, doing this better than anyone else is what made Google into a household name. But when they applied predictive analytics to their own hiring process, they found that some of their interview questions were doing very little to identify exceptional employees. To their credit, they followed the data and cut the brainteasers and logic puzzles they had been sending to candidates from their hiring strategy.

Yield Metrics for Better Targeting of Prospects

In addition to using predictive analytics to improve hiring performance, many companies are realizing the power of using analytics to get in front of prospects. Frequently used recruiting metrics will help your organization find and actually reach future prospects. Determining whether your best candidates heard about your open position on LinkedIn or social media or during networking events, from referrals, or from other sources is key. At the very least, your IT department should be gathering this data.

Once you have identified the right blend of technical and soft skills, you can determine whether the target audience is being reached through employer branding and social engagement. Branding content and social media engagement needs to target the right audience while differentiating you from your competitors. It turns out that only a small percentage of hiring managers are looking at these recruiting metrics, 22 percent and 13 percent respectively. This suggests a huge opportunity exists.

Looking at the above benefits, one thing is clear: Companies that are not prioritizing analytics as a key tool in their talent strategy are at serious risk of being left behind choking on their competition’s dust. And yet, at best, only 25 percent of organizations are currently using predictive analytics in their talent strategies. These numbers suggest that the opportunity exists for companies to get ahead by finding convenient ways to access data-driven solutions.

How On-Demand Talent Platforms Enable a Data-Driven Talent Strategy

Of course, hiring predictive analytics teams to evaluate your talent recruitment strategy may not be an option for your firm. Much of these research and technology solutions come with budget-busting price tags. Fortunately, on-demand talent platforms offer companies access to this type of data at a fraction of the price. Why reinvent the wheel when much of the data that would benefit you is already available?

On-demand talent platforms use data-driven capabilities to attract and proactively engage premium experts across several industries. This enables talent acquisition professionals to search these databases and find a small pool of highly relevant candidates. New software making use of predictive analytics and other emerging technologies discussed above make this process faster than older job sites and traditional hiring techniques. You also get better results.

Most business execs today identify quality of talent as key to their long-term success. At the same time, leaders worry excessively about their ability to recruit best-in-class talent. Smart organizations, including top leading companies such as GE and Shell currently use predictive hiring solutions because they understand the importance of targeting exactly who they want and engaging them with maximum efficiency.

At Catalant, our goal is to ease the hiring process both for hiring managers and the amazing talent they seek to engage. Are you ready to step into the future of talent acquisition? Find out more.

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