Insight into the World of Recruitment Data

Recently, I quickly accepted the opportunity to attend a recruitment data insights conference with the in-house recruitment network in London. On the way to the conference, I was excited to see where the recruitment industry is going. Excited to learn how much progress we were making in using the data that we are creating.

So, First of All, Where are we Creating Recruitment Data?


There is no point in separating the ATS and CRM category out as they are the same thing; it is just that a CRM has a few more bells and whistles added on. As an in-house recruiter, I was always acutely aware of the fact that our ATS was the best way to create data. The sort of data we track here is the source of the application, source of hire, days at each stage of the process and skills/experience that allow us to create talent pools.

Outbound marketing

Outbound recruitment marketing is still more common in the agency world. This included actions like direct email, mass email and cold-calling. LinkedIn Recruiter was one of the first outbound marketing tools that was widely adopted by in-house and agencies recruiters. The sort of data created here includes opens, clicks and, if you do a good job, you will drive traffic to your ATS.

Inbound marketing

Agencies and direct employers have rushed to social media to deliver inbound recruitment campaigns. Some think inbound marketing is all about job adverts, but others like GE and Jaguar Land Rover are behaving more like modern marketers in their talent attraction techniques. The challenge here is that the social network decides what data you get, and how you can manipulate it, which usually means you get a fairly vague view of how many people interacted with it, viewed it and clicked on links.

On the way to this data insights conference, I was eager to see how the industry is pulling together all the unassociated data sources to drive engagement and improvement in their recruitment processes.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the use of data has made much progress in the recruitment industry. The conversation was still very much around not knowing or having the tools to get, manipulate, or use the data. In some cases, large companies were still using spreadsheets to recruit people and had no insight, other than many open vacancies they had.

Why was I Surprised?

In my view, recruitment and marketing are very much connected. After all, a marketer’s job is to: 

Attract large numbers of the right sort of people to be interested in buying their company’s products and services.

A recruiter’s job is to:

Attract large numbers of the right sort of people to be interested in working with their company, and to deliver their products and services.

We have been left behind and this is why – marketing professionals look at their funnel like this:

Awareness, education, consider and decide 

Recruitment data funnel

Most recruitment professional look at their funnel like this:

Apply, shortlist, interview, offer and hire

old recruitment data funnel

Notice the difference? Marketers are engaging human beings, and recruiters are taking actions without consideration of how engaged their audience is.

What if a Recruiter Knew:

– Exactly who is engaged with their brand?

– The people in their talent pool that were most likely to have the correct behaviours.

– Exactly who is most likely to WANT a career (not just a job) with their company?

– The candidates who applied once, but never paid any attention to your business or content in the future. Remember, it is possible to apply for 100 jobs at a time, but is there any real commitment there?

How Could a Recruiter Know This?

–  You already know who opens and click on your emails! What if you knew every single thing that the candidate did after that? That would be interesting.

– You know who turned down offers in the past, or who just wasn’t ready to enter your recruitment process, but you would hire them in the blink of an eye. What if you knew the instant they became interested in your business again in the future? That would be pretty special, eh?

– You know the size of your potential talent pool, and how many are in your ATS! What if you knew who the top 10% most engaged people were, and so had a list of people you knew you could reach out to, that have the skills/experience you want and you know they would be interested? Sounds like my cup of tea!

 – You know how many people see your blogs/content and videos! What if you knew the exact content to share with people depending on their engagement score that would move them further along your talent pipeline? Yikes, I want some of that.

Talent Pipeline

Did you notice that the last one had the term “talent pipeline”, but previously I mentioned talent pool? Ok, think of a talent pool as a pond. How fresh is the water, is it stagnant? There is still plenty of water in there but, it’s what is in there, along with the water that will give you some serious indigestion along the way.

Given the option, would you drink from the flowing water of a river/stream, or would you opt for the stagnant pond?

I know what I would choose, and that’s why I introduced the term “talent pipeline”. A talent pipeline is the same people as in the talent pool. In a pipeline, you are actively engaging with them to keep them fresh. You are continually moving them closer to your business through engagement and content. The best part is that you know how close each person is to arriving at the destination (your business if you hadn’t worked that part out).

Welcome the world of recruitment data. Data that means something and that you can use to drive improvement across your talent attraction efforts. This is the future of recruitment data.


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