The Rakuna team had an incredible week at this year’s NACE 2016 Conference & Expo in Chicago in June. From one-on-one chats with university recruiting professionals during our ride with CEO to attending interactive sessions and thought-provoking keynote addresses, I am excited to share my key learning in What I Learned From #NACE16 series.
I will start this series with one of the most common buzz words I heard around the conference – “BIG DATA”.
Big data is already starting a revolution in the way we do business and analyze data. It is a big theme in virtually every industry now, and the campus recruiting leaders who know how to harness the limitless possibilities from big data can take out the guesswork, put down evidence-based strategy around their campus recruiting programs, and sell their team’s contributions to their overall organizations.
When it comes to data, Kathleen Schaum, Director of National Campus Recruiting Strategy at KPMG, categorized data into two types. There are data that you can purchase as part of your initial market research for strategy setting, and data that you have to collect, build, and manage over time for evaluation and reporting purposes.
If you just started your campus recruiting program, or need to take a 30,000 feet view of the market to form your national strategy, you can tap into third-party data providers like NACE for school selection, diversity strategy, market analysis, etc. NACE has abundant data around majors relevant to your organization, degree level you plan to target, diversity information, and sponsorship.
Besides third-party providers, you have free database like IPEDS database published by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics at your disposal. External consultants can also be an option if you want further customized data-gathering reports.
The second type of data – descriptive data – or data that summarize what happened- provides insights into your campus recruiting strategy & operation performance, helps you identify where your team is falling short and to make corrective adjustments for better result. It is critical to have a data collection plan to ensure the data you gather are useful, reliable, and resource-efficient.
When it comes to gathering descriptive data for campus recruiting, the biggest challenge is to efficiently collect the rigth data from offline campus recruiting activities. As high-touch techniques including on-campus activities like career/job fairs and on-campus info sessions continue to be the most commonly used and most effective branding techniques, companies need the right campus recruiting software to help with capturing structured data from these activities to improve ROI.
Pre-event registration systems do a pretty good job of capturing structured data about prospective candidates, but once the event starts, a shroud of mystery descends on the event venue and staff. Are you talking to enough targeted students? Are they getting a positive experience from talking to your staff? How is the quality of the candidates at the event? What event, or what school should you send your staff to?
Data helps us answer the question “Why?” Why are we going to this school instead of that school? Why are we attending this event instead of that event? Why are we sending this person instead of that person to represent us? Being a big believer and advocate for smart use of big data to transform the recruiting experiences for employers and students, I would shamelessly praise Rakuna on our ability to help campus recruiting team of all sizes to collect structured data of students to answer all of the questions above.