Data, a simple four-letter word that holds a lot of power. With the ease of access to information, how could it not be a dominant force in today’s world? To gain perspective, think back to the recent scandals plastered in news outlets, à la Facebook. It did put front and center the fact that a company’s access to a user’s digital footprint enables a company to target that consumer directly and more surgically. If data can be used to pinpoint how to better target consumers for marketing campaigns, how can data (with proper permission of course) be used in the hiring process?

With data you can explore ideas, gain insights and streamline the hiring process. Let’s consider how to do that:

Feedback About the Hiring Process

Getting qualitative data about your current hiring process can result in noticeably efficient changes.  Most surveys will ask you to give a rating on a product or service.  The more important question is the follow-up question that asks, “Why did you give that rating?”  Taking the time to read and categorize the qualitative data can help reveal opportunities in your hiring process.  A great sample pool are your recent new hires.  They have likely seen a handful or more of hiring processes from competitive firms.  What better source of feedback on what to keep, what to drop and what to change. This intel and subsequent changes to your process can lead to a bigger and better application pool.

 Time-to-fill a position

Most employees don’t give their boss a heads up to let them know they are looking for a new position. However, they will tell you when they’ve accepted a new offer or want to resign so they can move on. Having good data on how long it takes to fill vital roles in your company will help decrease the stress of losing a good employee. With this knowledge you’ll be able to create a hiring timeline. But also look at your trend in time-to-fill.  As this research shows, time-to-fill is at a record high.

 Quality of Candidate

Many factors can determine how many stars you want to give a candidate for a job position. The reasons can range from past on-the-job performance scores, referrals or chemistry during an interview. Regardless of the factors, employers should use reliable data to build an illuminating profile. A “gut feeling” should be aligned with a more objective perspective.  Consider using position specific pre-employment assessments. They’ll help you cut through the noise and simplify this complex and time-consuming process.

Data can show companies and individuals how to improve. It might not always be pretty but it’s helpful. Tell us how you use data on LinkedIn or Twitter.