Data Driven Recruitment - A Complete Guide |

The world of recruitment has changed dramatically over the last three decades. From answering an advert in the local newspaper or being headhunted by top recruiters around the globe, today’s job market is considerably different and is always presenting new opportunities from social media posts to recruitment platforms designed to get your attention. 

Of course, the way recruiters used to do things was through a mixture of gut-feel, experience and sometimes blind luck in finding the right candidate. Hours of sifting through CVs without knowing if they had the right person or if the CV wasn’t exactly telling the truth about actual skills and knowledge was always the compromise.

Today, things are different and data driven recruitment is not only quicker, it’s more accurate, helps recruiting managers hire better candidates and it saves money as well. In this guide we are going to cover what data-driven recruitment is, the benefits, and how you can use it in your hiring decisions. 

What is data-driven recruitment

Data driven recruitment in short is the use of data to help in the optimisation of recruiting the best candidates and the entire recruitment process. 

This data driven approach means that instead of using guess work to identify candidates or unstructured processes to better develop teams, data is the guide in getting the results an organisation wants - and a recruiting manager needs! 

For example, data is used to analyse a large talent pool and a number of highly qualified candidates and marry that with the candidates who have the right skills, experience, and mindset to help an organisation achieve its goals.

The accumulation of data that can be mined and as it is a relatively new approach to recruitment, it’s development is being supported by new HR technologies which are constantly finding new ways to be adopted in the recruitment process.

The aim of data-driven recruitment is to use all of the data available to a recruiter – not just resumes or cover letters – enabling them to make the right hiring decision. 

From helping to reduce the recruitment time to identifying better candidates, data driven recruitment has many benefits - which we will now take a closer look at.

Benefits of a data-driven recruitment strategy

There are many different benefits to data-driven recruitment, some of which include:

Data-driven recruitment provides a repeatable, objective approach

Many decisions in a business can be based on gut instinct and recruitment is no different. However, by adopting a data-driven process, you can create a repeatable, well functioning model that can drive the recruitment process to be a better informed one. 

Candidates can be charming, on their best days they can appear to be the best hire you can make on their worst days, you wouldn’t consider them - but that’s not objective. Data driven approaches can better identify someone’s skills, culture/personality fit and many more variables.

It can also help cut out most of the uncertainties within your selection process, allowing you to be more confident in your decisions.

Data-driven recruitment improves the quality of hires

Hiring the best possible recruits will improve your business in the long and short term. However, in the non-data driven way, hiring decisions would be based on criteria that are more about feel rather than capabilities. 

A good candidate may perform badly in an interview, but in a data driven model they can give you more insights to make a decision. From assessments to personality testing and skills competency tests, these are much better indicators of quality than a CV or face-to-face interview. 

Data-driven recruitment reduces the cost of hiring

If you are hiring better candidates who also match the culture of your business - you are hiring people that will not only perform better but also, increase retention rate as a consequence.

But it doesn’t happen by chance. Data-driven hiring can point out where you might be taking more time in the selection process over other areas - such as interviewing. You can bring the time spent interviewing by using platforms to better screen candidates and thus, reducing your cost of hiring in this process.

Equally, if you are retaining more staff, you have to recruit less - which is of benefit to the organisation from a financial and operational perspective. 

Data-driven recruitment improves the candidate experience

Making the experience better for a candidate is a no-brainer. Imagine trying to attract the best talent in a competitive job market when they have emails, mobile notifications and all other arrays of things to distract them. 

It’s not just about the technology, it's about the process that is being used and how data-driven approaches can make it simpler and quicker. 

If the application process is arduous, a candidate will give up. If it is simple, and requires little effort - you will get more candidates which expands your pool of potentially great employees. 

Data-driven recruitment helps identify trends and future needs

Data-driven recruitment is one of the best ways to forecast and predict a future need for the business by driving information into things such as:

  • Turnover rate annually
  • Movements between departments annually
  • Hiring time

You can, for example, get a better approximate on what the recruitment budget should be. If statistically, X employees are going to leave the company within the year, you need Y budget.

You can also estimate how much you need to spend because the data provides that information - and how quickly you can even recruit, once again, all based on data.

How recruitment analytics can enhance your hiring

Having good data insights from the hiring process can help a business grow. From understanding the kind of people you recruit or need, to the skills which are required to take you to the next level in your organisation's journey, analytics can give clear data points which can be used to help in the development of the organisation.

Recruitment analytics is a combination of data and predictive analysis that provides real-time information to help you hire faster. Powerful recruiting analytics helps you explore every aspect of your business, turn data into actionable insights, and make better recruiting decisions faster.

It is, however, without a shadow of doubt that to be able to use such powerful insights you need to firstly collect the data and secondly use the knowledge from those data points. The best way to do this is to have the right technology to support data analysis. Not all platforms are equal or equipped with the right tools to help you identify the right kinds of information you need to move your organisation’s journey forward. Choosing the right platform is thus essential. 

Data analytics can help to identify which talent sources are performing well or the best within your organisation. From that you can make more informed decisions about career development or progression. They can also help to provide a measure of the effectiveness of internal versus external hiring. Can someone already fulfil that role within the organisation or has previously tracked experiences shown to not be the case? 

It has already been noted how recruitment analytics can be used to improve the candidate experience - by identifying problem areas in the process such as is it too difficult to apply? Are there mobile applications which can facilitate a quicker, better application method? 

Equally, analytics provides insight into recruitment campaign success - are you spending too much for the results you are getting or not enough? Finally, one of the biggest advantages of analytics systems is that they will identify bottlenecks in the candidate selection and interview process which means that you cannot only fix these issues, but also save time, money and speed up your recruitment process. 

How to use data in your hiring process

There is a huge variety of data that you can use to speed up your data driven recruitment process and selecting that information is going to be critical to the overall outcome. 

  • Select the right data and metrics
  • There are many different types of hiring metrics which are commonly assessed - including
  • Cost per hire
  • Time to hire
  • Source of hire
  • Candidate experience scores
  • Job offer acceptance rates

Being able to calculate the different metrics and use these as part of the hiring process in both analysis and decision making will help in your overall success rate. 

  • Efficiently collect data
  • Use applicant tracking software / system. 
  • Look at software solutions

Find a solution that manages to keep you ahead of the curve when it comes to storing CVs, assessment information and even tracking the recruitment stage where the candidate is. 

Act on the data

Having collected the valuable data - determine what it will be used for. E.g.

If time-to-hire is longer than industry standards - look at bottlenecks

If job offer acceptance rates are low

  • Create stronger offers
  • Make certain candidate experience is excellent
  • Thoroughly assess candidate interest early in the selection process

High new hire churn

  • Create a more effective, engaging onboarding process
  • Ensure candidates understand the role, duties, responsibilities and expectations before offering a job

If it takes too long to hire

  • Use new technologies to help improve the applicant experience
  • Establish better pre-screening of candidates through their CVs
  • Use assessment tools to reduce your candidates to desirable ones through their skills


Data driven recruitment in short is the use of data to help in the optimisation of recruiting the best candidates and the entire recruitment process. The aim of data-driven recruitment is to use all of the data available to a recruiter – not just resumes or cover letters – enabling them to make the right hiring decision. 

Not only does data driven recruitment help in the hiring process of better candidates, it develops the recruitment process to be more efficient, timely and helps to identify problems in a non-data-driven recruitment process such as high turnover rates or acceptance rates being considerably lower. 

Thomas' talent assessment tool combines technology and psychology to translate people’s diverse characteristics into easy-to-understand profiles that simplify decisions about recruitment, retention and development. Driven by predictive analytics and machine learning – and informed by more than 23 million assessment data points – our assessments help you understand what qualities a great employee really needs.

If you would like to learn more, please speak to one of our team.