The Data On What Candidates Want

We sometimes get lost in the macro view of the market; a large, expansive perspective where the details disappear. But it is the details that matter. Maybe we focus on something like the conversion from submission to hire for a client. It matters, certainly, but for the next engineer we’re talking to, it matters much less than ensuring their individual experience is the best it can possibly be. The same tailored approach that our recruiters use to engage and attract top talent for our clients is required to understand what works and does not work when employing recruiting data.

Process is something that many companies take for granted or overlook. Brand name, prominent investors, history, funding, and compensation bands alone aren’t all it takes to attract the talent you need. These elements may help, but a broken, incomplete, or not optimized recruiting process can ruin the chances of even the best positioned companies. The typical talented engineer receives an onslaught of recruiting messages every week and in order to compete with this wealth of potential opportunities, process matters. And knowing where you stand with your process matters just as much.

Make your world measurable

While process is certainly about much more than data, you must make your recruiting world measurable to monitor the success of the processes you have in place. Measure everything, if you can, and if you can’t, measure as much as you are able. Modern tools like Lever and Greenhouse make this much easier.

Whatever you measure, you should set targets, monitor them, discuss the outcomes, and adjust accordingly. It should all be meaningful. A good litmus test for whether something is meaningful is that it is also actionable (e.g. If our number of weekly outbound messages is less than 100 per recruiter, then ….). Recruiting data can get complicated quickly. Often things are chained together. Individual numbers can be meaningful on their own, or sometimes only meaningful in concert with others numbers. It helps to take a holistic view.

At Binc, we measure everything. We look at things like the date and time of recruiting events. We watch the time between those events and conversions between events. In the case the candidate doesn’t convert, we track the time and reason they fell out. We watch the source and strategy on how the candidate was found, and track the success and value of that source over time. Tools like LinkedIn Recruiter, Entelo, and Avey, can be expensive for teams, but their value is easily quantifiable if you can track a candidate from source to hire. If you know that 20% of your hires were sourced from LinkedIn Recruiter, then it becomes easy to do a revenue/cost analysis to determine the value of the tool.

Here are some insights from our data:

Use a diverse mix of channels

The source and channel of candidates is interesting in and of itself. Often the best talent you need isn’t fully represented by applicants alone. Less than 12% of the hires we’ve made in 2016 have come from applicants. A great strategy is to utilize a healthy blend of channels with a large emphasis on selling your company to passive candidates. We generally target 60% of hires to come from passive (or directly sourced candidates), with the rest split between applicants and referrals.

Don’t forget to focus on the role

But passive candidates don’t just want to be sold on your company, they want to know their specific role in the organization. For what would otherwise be equivalent roles, we have seen conversions as much as 60% higher for specific domain titles instead of generalist titles. If you want to hire generalists—a growing trend--that’s great, but also give them a specific title to sell them on the role.

Follow-up with candidates

Common advice is that you should always follow-up when first engaging candidates, and this is great advice for getting otherwise silent candidates into play. At the same time, we’ve found that generally people that convert to hires require 20% fewer emails. Put another way, the people most likely to get hired are those that are most likely to respond without requiring follow-ups.

It’s not always about the money

It would be no revelation that most candidates want a raise, but perhaps more surprising is that many do not. Out of the last 100 hires we’ve made, 22% took a drop in base salary, and 11% maintained their previous base salary when switching to a new company. Of those who did take a raise, the average raise in base salary was 16%. It’s easy to get caught in the mental trap that the reason we’re not succeeding is because we can’t pay enough—but our data shows that this is not always the case.

Great talent comes from everywhere

It’s pretty easy to focus on a handful of obvious targets when looking at who to go after for top technical talent. Usually, this means Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, the top Unicorn companies, and so forth. But to purely focus on these companies would create a missed opportunity. Great talent comes from everywhere. In 2016, more than 70% of our hires have come from companies outside of these usual suspects.

Keep moving forward

Candidates who become hires move through the process more quickly than those who do not. For recent hires, we have seen a 23% difference in time candidates stay in process between hires and non-hires. While any recruiter naturally wants the flow between interview stages to be smooth and consistent, they might not know the impact of delays with the flow, or that delays from the side of the candidate may be indicative of a decreasing likelihood of converting to hire.

Get Measuring

In the end, it comes down to being mindful of process, measuring and monitoring your process, and continuously tweaking to ensure continued success within a highly competitive talent market.

  • Utilize diverse channels of candidates

  • Sell the candidates on the (preferably specific) role in your organization

  • Know that it’s not always about the money

  • Understand that there’s great talent outside the Big 5 and Unicorns

  • Keep candidates moving through the pipeline

  • Understand and monitor events that may increase or decrease the likelihood of a hire

If you are looking to take recruiting within your organization to the next level and would like to see how our data platform can work for you, visit and let’s talk!

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