Data, Data, Data… its everywhere and in order to utilise it to improve the way in which your business conducts its recruitment, where do you look first?  From reviewing careers site analytics, measuring cost per hire, competitors remuneration and attraction strategies, the likelihood of being overwhelmed is significant.

If the last couple of years are a guide we are going to have more and more data to work with.  An incredible stat from George Lee – CIO at Goldman Sachs is that “90% of the world’s data has been created in the last 2 years”.   So it’s not surprising that we get confused by the amount of it.

Identifying which big data stream to interrogate is key, but you also have to focus upon the problem you are trying to solve.  After all, if you knew everything about your competitors pay, culture and hiring activities would your recruitment model be effective enough to act upon this information?

The opportunity exists to use data to improve the quality of hires and proactively engage with talent.

Businesses regularly analyse data at a overall performance level as they seek to become more efficient in their production methods and to be more competitive on price.  Whilst most HR teams I speak with are using big data in the hope to improve employee attendance, productivity and a number of internal processes – including recruitment, the focus on the latter tends to be on how companies can streamline the recruitment process by introducing efficiencies in screening and interviewing.

 The real benefit from big data is when it’s turned into knowledge.

Whereas big data helps to identify trends, greater advantages can be gained through a more rounded analysis by including candidate and recruiter behaviours and experiences.  Combining fact-based insight gained from big data with recruitment expertise will help to create a better recruitment solution.

Progressive recruitment strategies use insight as a predictor of key factors such as: internal talent gaps, when passive talent becomes active and when direct competitors are likely to start a hiring campaign.

Foresight will enable the recruiter to place themselves ahead of the curve. 

Organisations who employ or work with those able to convert the data into information and then create fact-based hiring plans will engage with the best talent earlier than those who do not.

Market maps of coveted talent, tracking future leaders and benchmarking attraction strategies with others in the sector should all be evident in any business striving to gain the competitive edge.  After all talented people make businesses successful.

Marc Drew is the Managing Director of Cogito Talent Limited, a hiring intelligence consultancy business.  To discover how Cogito can help improve your organisations’ direct hiring, call 0117 456 3390, email or visit

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