High-Volume Hiring: Success Through Data Analytics

Five job applicants waiting for an interview

Each new hire is a significant investment.   The cost of making the wrong decision can cost you upwards of 30% of that employee’s salary – and that’s a conservative estimate.  The cost of poor performance, damage to morale, productivity, and an inconsistent customer experience are difficult to calculate. The risk of making a bad hiring decision is magnified when you are faced with large applicant pools, or must hire a large number of candidates at one time.  We’ve worked with companies in transportation, healthcare, and hospitality to hire large numbers of employees, often in a short amount of time, to support growth and staff new airport hubs, clinics, or restaurant openings.  Although each company is unique, data analytics (gathering information from different data sources) can streamline your hiring process while also making it more accurate.

Questions for Actionable Insights

Here are three questions that can lead to actionable insights that improve your hiring process when managing a high volume of applicants:

1. What are the characteristics of applicants who are most likely to be successful?

Understand the qualifications, education, and employment history of successful applicants.  What qualities are linked to quality hires: employees who perform, fit your culture, and stay?  Knowing this information will allow you to better attract applicants with a greater likelihood of success.  Gather a pool of hired candidates who meet your criteria for being quality hires – and a pile of poor hires.  Then, review their background and archival information from the hiring process.

In completing this analysis for a rapidly growing transportation company, our team discovered that applicants who were employed in a customer service position related to the job of interest were significantly more likely to be hired and succeed on the job.  In contrast, we discovered candidates who held the position of interest previously in another company were less likely to be successful.  This was counter to what many in the company believed and allowed them to better focus recruitment efforts.

In addition to looking at applications and resumes to understand the work history and other qualities linked to meeting job expectations, you can also look at interview notes and performance.  Are interview questions and assessments identifying candidates who become quality hires?  With each interview question, if scores and quality of response are the same for both quality and poor hires, you should change the nature of the question, or perhaps the way it is scored. If quality hires score similar to poor hires on an assessment, or subscale of an assessment, benchmarks can be adjusted or a different assessment could be used in its place.

2. Where are you losing candidates – and why?

Losing some candidates during the hiring process is functional.  Educating candidates about the demands of the job, both through the content of your application and assessments, as well as with tools like Realistic Job Previews, will cause applicants who are not a good fit to withdraw – saving you time and resources.  However, delays in learning about the next step of the process, or a poorly designed application can cause your candidates – often your high-potential candidates – to withdraw.

Applicant Tracking Systems make it easier to monitor the percentage of candidates leaving at each step of your hiring process.  By measuring both the percent you are removing from the hiring process and the rate of candidates voluntarily leaving, you can ensure you have sufficient candidate flow to adequately staff.  If a large number of candidates leave at a specific step in the process, you can dig deeper to understand the types of candidates who are leaving and why.

One way to gain this understanding is with a Candidate Experience Survey.  Surveying a representative sample of your candidates – those who were declined, dropped out, and hired – can reveal how different steps in your hiring process are perceived.  Getting a sufficiently large sample should be easier with your higher-volume of candidates.

3. Is your hiring process measuring everything it should?

Data can help you understand opportunities to improve new hire performance.  Through interviews with managers who supervise new hires, exit interviews, employee records, or even a hiring manager survey, you can spot opportunities to improve your hiring process.  If new employees, for example, are late to work too often or fail to consistently meet your standards for customer service, you can set higher benchmarks for hiring assessments that measure dependability and work ethic, or adjust structured interview questions to better isolate candidates who will meet expectations.

Next Steps

Technology makes it easier than ever to collect data from all stakeholders (applicants, new hires, hiring managers) and stages of your hiring process.  Applicants also have increasingly high standards for your hiring process, as technology continually increases the ease and speed of applications and assessments. Asking and answering the right questions with data can help you excel in the increasingly competitive labor market and continually improve your quality of hire.  To learn more about how you can thrive in this tight labor market, read our whitepaper, Weathering Candidate Shortages: 8 Strategies for Success.

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The True Cost of a Bad Hire: It’s More Than You Think.  Forbes.  September 28, 2016.

How to Set Expectations With Your Candidates.  ERE: Recruiting Intelligence.  May, 2008.

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