Previously on Ye Olde Careerleaf Blog, we went over the basics of website analytics and what metrics are useful for job boards to measure.
“Big Data” is a phrase that is not going to go away any time soon, in the recruiting industry or any other. But how do you begin to truly understand what it is, how to find it, and how to apply it to a recruiting or job board business?
First off, where is this data coming from? The first thing to know, is that your data doesn’t have to be “big” in order to be useful to you.
Here are some typical sources of data that your business should have access to:
- Website and Recruiting Analytics
- Feedback from Employers and Recruiters
- Third party “Big Data”
Website and Recruiting Analytics
This encompasses your standard web analytics, and some measures of data that are specific to job boards and recruiting.
Let’s assume you’ve got a solid understanding of how people interact with your site, and how candidates behave on it. Most of your inbound visitors are through organic or direct traffic, and you notice the majority of your visitors browse by category or industry first, before applying. If your most popular jobs are all in the healthcare industry, it would make sense to try and solicit more sales from employers and recruiters in that industry.
If you increase the number of healthcare job postings, you might consider splitting the healthcare category to several categories, focusing on nursing, medical technology, and administrative jobs. The next step is to continue monitoring your website and recruiting data, as generated by your analytics system, and refine how you organize job postings and how you balance out jobs in different fields to increase views and applications.
Feedback from Employers and Recruiters
Depending on the size of your job board or client base, this may be more like “small data”, but it’s just as valuable to your business. If your job board’s analytics tracks how many views and applications each job receives, it can be helpful to reach out to employers and recruiters and survey them to find out how many of those applicants they contacted, interviewed, or hired.
Connecting individual job postings to the statistics from your job board and your customers can help you gain a clearer picture of what types of job posts are most successful with your particular job-seeking audience. Do long and detailed job posts generate lots of applications, but only a few worth contacting? Do brief and picture-heavy posts receive fewer applicants but result in a higher percentage of interviews? Do job posts that fall under more than one industry category wind up with more successful hires?
Get to know the details of what makes your customers successful. Whether you gather data from five customers or five hundred, this information can tell you a great deal about your business and how to make it better.
Third Party “Big Data”
This is where the famous Big Data comes into play. As a niche recruitment agency or regional job board, you might not directly gather enough data for it to qualify as “big”, but that doesn’t mean you can’t access big data elsewhere.
Large companies in and around the recruiting industry will occasionally release reports based on the data they gather from their users and customers. Although this data is valuable, it is important to consider how the company interprets this data, and to understand that they may be selective in what data they choose to share in the first place.
There are a number of resources that can provide you with large-scale info on industry, hiring, and candidate data. Companies like Wanted Analytics and Payscale specialize in employment and recruiting data, and some offer paid services. The more traditional sources of information include statistics collected by your federal or local governments, professional associations or unions that track employment trends, and last but not least, free research resources available through public libraries and universities.
This type of data can help you get a bigger picture of the labour and industry markets, so that you can plan ahead and make informed decisions on what directions you take your business, both now and in the future.
It’s not enough to just accumulate data. Before you even look at it, it helps to know what you want to learn from it.
- Clarify Your Goals – what do you actually want from this data?
- Gather Information – pick your sources and do your research
- Analyze and Interpret – assess how the numbers and stories apply to your business
- Strategize and Test – do experiments with your job board, your recruitment marketing, and how you sell to customers and see what helps you improve