Why data will disrupt the way companies hire 

Written by Clare Jones  •  Future of work  •  11 November 2022

Faye Walshe, our Director of Group Innovation & Consultancy, and Ken Brotherston, Chief Executive, TALiNT Partners, recently led a discussion that explored the impact of a dynamic environment on talent acquisition models and the role data will play in emerging market forces.

Following this fascinating conversation with talent acquisition leaders from across a variety of industries – including media, healthcare, higher education and financial services – we uncovered some topical, timely, and disruptive insights and common themes.

Participants universally agreed that, in this day and age, supply chain disruptions don’t just apply to microchips and baby formula but to talent and people as well. 

Market intelligence supports flexibility

According to Walshe, market intelligence can deliver both data and colour, enabling companies to move with the market and make better decisions. Insights can include demographics for specific locations, working age, relocation and investment opportunities, talent pool size, competitive advantages, average salaries, gender differences, and talent pools with the least attrition.

She went on to discuss how data helped support a large client that needed to analyse the cost of recruitment in a key set of locations across 76 types of roles. The data – including seven heat maps, six market views and eight talent pool deep dives – indicated that certain regions would provide a better skill set and longer retention. The result was more effective recruitment, less attrition, and reduced costs.

“Data alone won’t make the difference,” adds Walshe. “You have to put it in front of recruiters who are prepared to tell the story effectively.”

Another challenge for TA teams is that remote work is now an expectation among candidates. Cheryl Coulthurst, AVP, Recruiting, Emory University, says that, “Facing high turnover, difficulty in hiring and rising compensation rates, managers are learning the hard way how important remote or hybrid options are to candidates. Talent acquisition professionals can help reluctant hiring leaders become more comfortable with overseeing remote teams, working across time zones, and recruiting candidates offshore.”

Tiffany Summerville, Vice President, Human Resources, Sherlock Biosciences, Inc. adds that, “Because we are remote, we can expand our searches across the nation. But we’re not getting the number of applicants we’re used to. For scientists, it’s slim pickings.”

“The ability to offer fully-remote work can be a strong competitive advantage, but it doesn’t fix everything,” Jillian Adams, VP, People, Wagmo, Inc., warns. “It can’t cut through the deluge of attention that candidates are getting today.”

And, of course, there are jobs that require in-person, hands-on work.

Not all jobs can be remote

Diane Alvarez, Director, Senior Manager Talent Acquisition, Nice Healthcare, points to the fact that remote work isn’t always an option. “Healthcare requires personnel to be out in the field and competition in the industry is intense. Although our application volume hasn’t changed, the quality of the candidate has changed. Out of 200, you might get 20 people to interview. That requires the recruiter to work harder, spend more time sourcing, following up and reaching out.”

Summerville offers a potential compromise to her R&D professionals. “In the last three years, only one person has told me that they want to come into the office. Of course, they cannot do their experiments from home, but they can do their data analysis from home. I am on site two to three times a month. We bring the community together on a regular basis for corporate training and other reasons.”

A recession won’t alleviate talent shortages

“Seven out of ten recruiters say it’s getting harder”, according to Walshe. “The pandemic has accelerated the trend, but it doesn’t take ‘black swan’ events to make recruitment tough. Recruiters need to change the way they approach a fast-changing market. They need to be matchmakers driving great relationship building, at the same time focusing on how to use data to find the candidate with the right skills.”

“Job hopping is our biggest challenge,” says Cefola. “A recession probably won’t have as much of an effect as it has had historically. Shortages are likely to remain the same for at least 12 to 18 months. The market will break at one point where talent just becomes unaffordable.”

“We can make a hire and the first day they are going into the office,” adds Roman they will get a better offer.” Ghosting can also be a problem, says Williams. “Our largest client is the military, and we require background checks that could go back 25 years. A candidate may have a concern about their past but not share it with you. Then they’ll get to a certain point in the process and just disappear.”

Candidate independence can also have an upside, according to Burke. “For the longest time, we had to go through universities to find talent, and it was costly. Now it’s a ‘direct to consumer’ model. Now students will apply to massive numbers of jobs, and we’ll have lots of candidates to screen through.”

Smaller employers need to cast a wider net

Branding can benefit resourcing, according to James Williams, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner, Babylon Health. “One of the challenges I run into now is that we don’t have a recognised brand in the market so we need to convince leaders to be more flexible. They wanted us to hire only in certain cities, but we need to cast a wider net.”

Walshe concludes, “The best recruiters can attract even the most passive candidates, but they also need the data to influence their organisation’s hiring strategy.”

Click here to find out how Advisory can support your business to promote inclusivity, streamline your recruitment process, and make data-driven decisions through services such as Diverse Hiring, Assessment, Brand & Experience, and Market Intelligence.


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