“We are a very analytical company,” said Larry Jacobson, director of global technology talent acquisition in Boston. “We rely on numbers to decide whether to make investments.”
That includes investing in new hires and the strategies to find them. In particular, Jacobson uses workforce analytics to measure the time and cost of hiring for hard-to-fill technical positions. To figure out how much he spends per hire — and how to cut those costs — he looks at the rate at which job offers are made and accepted, source of candidates, number of interviews per hire and attrition to get a sense of what’s working and what isn’t.
It sounds like a lot of data, but it’s easy to come by, he said. “We pull it all directly from our applicant tracking system.”
By monitoring these trends over several months, he was able to identify which positions in which regions are the most challenging to fill, and define strategies for filling future positions.
“When my CIO comes to me with his hiring goals for the year, I can tell him how much time it will take to find the best candidate for each position, how many candidates we need to see and when we can expect to hire someone,” Jacobson said. “That allows us to optimize our hiring budget and to create a realistic time line for recruiting.”
These analyses have also helped him see where his recruiting process is the most effective, and where it might be falling short.
For example, comparing sourcing data and hiring results helped him determine which social media channels are the most productive in each region so global recruiters can focus their time and dollars more effectively. “We’ve seen incredible success with Facebook in Tunisia, but in the U.S. we focus on LinkedIn, GitHub and Stack Overflow,” he said.
He also reviewed the company’s candidate scoring process, in which each candidate gets points based on how he or she responds to key questions. “A higher score means the candidate is more likely to perform well on the job,” Jacobson said — or at least that is the idea. He recently compared high scorers versus low scorers who were hired to see how the numbers correlate to on-the-job performance.
“There was no correlation,” he said.
The results were a little shocking, and while it didn’t cause him to throw out the scoring system, it did trigger a review of the interview process, including the questions asked and how the scores are assigned, he said. “You can’t know what’s working in your recruiting process unless you look at the data.”