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What labor market data can tell us about attracting the right candidates

On Episode #60 of the Data-Driven Recruiting podcast, CodeSignal Co-Founder Sophia Baik talks with economist and Senior Fellow at Indeed, Tara Sinclair, about what it means to think about recruiting from the perspective of labor market data.

When we talk about “data-driven recruiting” here at CodeSignal, we are usually referring to the kinds of data that recruiters see in their daily work: metrics like time to hire, cost of hire, and quality of hire. Because they draw on data you collect about your company’s candidates and hiring processes, metrics like these have obvious relevance to improving how you recruit. 

For economist Tara Sinclair, however, data you collect at your own company are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to data-driven recruiting. Since 2013, Sinclair has been a Senior Fellow with Indeed, drawing on Indeed’s large and detailed datasets to study major shifts in the labor market. In her recent interview on our Data-Driven Recruiting podcast, Sinclair shared her insights about what recruiters can learn from labor market data about the challenges they’re facing in recruiting—and how to overcome them.

Challenge: Candidate/opportunity mismatch

When times get tough, the problem isn’t just that there are more job seekers than job opportunities. It’s also the case that, in these circumstances, job seekers are less likely to be a good fit for the opportunities that are available. Sinclair calls this “labor market mismatch.”

This mismatch is especially acute during times of crisis, like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and in sectors that are hardest-hit (like arts and entertainment). But the lessons we learn from this challenge are applicable to recruiters in companies across all sectors—even those that are booming.

Sinclair explains that when employers are having difficulty filling a role, “that suggests there is some aspect of the role they’re not making appealing enough to their target job-seeker to attract them.” 

So, what can recruiters do to make their roles a better “match” for their target candidates?

Strategy: Go back to the basics of what candidates want

When candidates look for a new opportunity, their decision usually comes down to three key factors:

  1. Compensation
  2. Location
  3. Work satisfaction

For Sinclair, attracting the right candidates for your opportunities comes down to these basics. She recommends that employers ask themselves which of these areas they can be flexible on, and which they can work to make more appealing. “Can you flex on the location?” she suggests. “Can you offer more?”

As remote work becomes the new normal, Sinclair advises recruiters to stay attuned to what candidates are looking for. While remote work is often seen as a “perk” that gives employees more flexibility, after the pandemic, candidates may seek a company that offers them a physical office to work from as a location perk. 

If salary and location are non-negotiable in your company, Sinclair suggests looking at what you can do to increase the satisfaction candidates can expect to get from their work—important for both recruiting and retaining great candidates.

A tried-and-true way to do this is improving the training your company provides to new hires. Sinclair explains: “One of the things we consistently see is that if workers invest in their workers and training, that builds a better company culture and better employer brand—it actually helps retain workers.”


All companies will have different needs and limitations when it comes to revisiting the basics for their open opportunities. The good news is that no recruiter and no company needs to do it all. When it comes to attracting candidates, “There are so many features other than just the pure salary,” says Sinclair. “Which makes it much more complicated, but it also gives employers a lot of different dimensions to think about making their jobs more appealing.”

Learn More

Want to learn more about how you can build a winning organization through data-driven recruiting? Visit CodeSignal to find out how you can measure technical skills effectively and objectively with its automated assessment and live interview solutions.

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