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Data-driven recruiting: What it is and how it’s done

Data-driven recruiting is becoming one of the buzzwords of the recruiting world. But… what is it? And, more importantly, how do you implement it at your organization without feeling overwhelmed? This post dives into the four steps of the recruiting process and how you can use data to improve each one along the way.

In the competitive world of hiring, recruiting teams face challenges like bias and inefficiency that make it hard to find and hire the best talent. This article introduces the concept of data-driven recruiting, a method that encourages hiring teams to base their decisions on clear, job-related skills and criteria. This shift from traditional methods, like evaluating resumes, to a more objective assessment of candidates helps streamline the hiring process, reduce bias, and improve the quality and diversity of hires.

CodeSignal, known for its expertise in data-driven recruiting, provides practical insights and solutions to these common recruitment challenges. The article highlights the advantages of using data in recruitment, including better efficiency, less bias, and higher-quality hires. Below, you will find a straightforward guide on how to apply data-driven practices throughout the recruitment process, from the first point of contact with candidates to analyzing the success of your recruitment process after new hires have joined.

What is Data-Driven Recruiting?

Data-driven recruiting is an approach to recruiting new talent where hiring decisions are based on specific, measurable job-relevant skills and criteria in a consistent manner. This approach stands in contrast to how much recruiting is done today: using resumes as a proxy for skill, using inconsistent criteria, and opening the door for bias. to creep in.

Many top organizations like Uber, Robinhood, and Meta have adopted data-driven recruiting to go beyond resumes in their hiring processes and consistently identify top candidates based on skills, not pedigree of education or past employers.

Benefits of Data-Driven Recruiting

A few of the benefits of data-driven recruiting for Talent Acquisition and hiring teams are:

  • Reducing bias in the talent selection process
  • Increasing diversity in recruiting funnel
  • Optimizing recruiting processes for key metrics like time-to-fill
  • Improving quality of hire

Why a data-driven recruitment strategy is essential for the modern hiring funnel

In the rapidly evolving modern workforce, a data-driven recruitment strategy is key for organizations aiming to optimize their hiring funnel. This approach significantly reduces bias in the talent selection process. By focusing on objective data rather than subjective perceptions, companies ensure more equitable and objective hiring decisions. They also reduce unconscious biases that might inadvertently influence candidate selection.

Analyzing demographic data and recruitment trends also allows organizations to recognize and correct potential disparities in their hiring practices, promoting a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Data-driven recruiting empowers companies to refine their strategies by zeroing in on key recruiting metrics like time-to-fill and quality of hire. Tracking these metrics enables recruiters to identify and fix inefficiencies in the hiring process. Ultimately, adopting data-driven recruiting both makes the hiring process more efficient and fair while boosting the quality of hires.

The Data-Driven Recruitment Process

Step 1: Engagement

At the top of the funnel it’s about engaging applicants. How do you even get people in your funnel: inbound and outbound. Inbound is casting a wide net while outbound is spearfishing. When it comes to the top of funnel, you need to have data to know where to focus your efforts. 

Some of the things you should measure at the top of the hiring funnel include:

  • Total volume of applicants for each job
  • Bounce rate for job posting (can be measured with Google Analytics)
  • Job boards, social media platforms, and other recruitment channels bringing in the highest quality of applicants
  • Recruiters or sourcers who are bringing the best candidates

This will help you decide whether to focus on inbound or outbound recruiting. You don’t need to choose only one or the other, but you want to ramp up the best channels first to maximize your ROI.

Step 2: Evaluation

Once you have someone engaged, then it becomes the evaluation stage. When we talk about evaluation, we definitely don’t mean resume evaluation. Resumes can introduce bias into your hiring process and have you focus on skill proxies rather than actual skills. That’s why we always recommend implementing an objective framework-based assessment as the very first step after an applicant shows interest in your company. 

Many organizations don’t do assessments or technical interviews until late in the hiring funnel. Why would you spend time interviewing folks who aren’t actually qualified? Instead, implement data-driven recruiting into your evaluation stage early.

You also don’t have to just have one assessment. Implement a baseline assessment with a set cut-off assessment score as the first step of your hiring process. Then, take the time to craft job-relevant, skill-based questions for phone and in-person interviews. You want to make sure you have a consistent hiring process where you’re asking all candidates the same thing. Otherwise, you’re injecting potential bias into the process which could catch up with you in the long run. 

Tips for Drafting Interview Questions

When it comes to the interview stage of the hiring process, it is important to avoid bias that can impact the objective nature of data-driven recruitment. Here are some best practices for drafting data-driven interview questions:

✅ DO: Learn about bias in interview questions. Culturally-specific examples in coding tasks, for instance, may confuse candidates who hold the necessary job-relevant skills but don’t know your specific reference.

✅ DO: Develop tasks specifically designed for the role you’re interviewing for. Realistic interview questions provide the best signal of a candidate’s job-relevant skills for interviewers, while also creating a positive candidate experience.

âś… DO: Ensure consistency with structured interviews. This requires pre-interview prep, defined interview questions and interviewer roles, and structured debrief procedures.

❌ DON’T: Ask different questions to different applicants of the same position. This prevents consistent and fair comparison across candidates.

❌ DON’T: Speak like a robot. Interviews are an important opportunity to connect with candidates on a human level—even in highly structured interviews.

Step 3: Closing Candidates

What percentage of candidates are you closing? You should dive into this in as much detail as your data allows. Look at the offer-to-hire ratio as well as onsite-to-hire ratio. Then slice the metrics by the channel they came in. You’ll start to be able to get a sense of the which channel ultimately gives you the best return on investment. 

There are a few reasons why your close rates could be less than fantastic. Some of these include:

  • Focusing too much on pedigree (university, previous employer)
  • Using the wrong channels for recruiting
  • Having a hiring process that takes too long
  • Not having realistic compensation expectations
  • Not communicating enough with candidates in the hiring process

Understanding the type and source of every candidate will help you improve your future hiring and double down on the areas that are working.

Step 4: Post-hire Analysis

At the end of the day, if you end up hiring people who leave quickly or perform poorly, your entire data-driven recruitment process was for nothing. This piece of data-driven recruiting—new hire turnover—tends to be overlooked because it falls in between the cracks of talent acquisition and talent retention teams. 

Don’t let these teams go down the acquisition versus retention rabbit hole. Instead, create a collaborative data-driven hiring process that will benefit both teams by understanding the traits of outstanding employees and how you can identify them from the hiring process.

Leverage Data in Recruiting with CodeSignal

Ready to learn more about how CodeSignal can help you transform your technical hiring processes to be more data-driven? Schedule a demo with one of our assessment and interviewing experts.