May 14, 2015   view past issues

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Next Practice: Small Data

Big data is all the rage. We can now collect terabytes of data about virtually every aspect of the recruiting process and then transform that bounty into metrics to improve our productivity, return on investment and talent yield. As helpful as those outcomes are, however, data scientists are now discovering that big data has big gaps, and the best way to plug them is with small data.

Big data help us understand the mechanics of things, and it turns out that’s a two-edged sword. We now obsessively track cost-per-hire, time-to-fill, clicks per ad, applicants per posting and other metrics of our day-to-day performance. No one can argue with the importance of such big data – as Peter Drucker famously opined, “What gets measured, gets managed” – but often the quest for self-improvement overshadows what’s really important. We focus so much on doing better for ourselves, we overlook what we’re doing for the people we’re trying to recruit.

Sure, we should monitor our efficiency, speed and results, but not at the expense of paying attention to what we do to and for candidates. What’s the nature of their involvement with our organizations? Are we giving them the information and interactions they need and deserve to present themselves accurately as a prospective employee and to make an accurate judgment about our organization’s value proposition as an employer? Is the qualitative aspect of our work as good as the quantitative aspect? While the latter may give the CFO goose bumps, it’s the former that ensures we meet our responsibility for talent acquisition.

How can we measure this qualitative aspect? Ironically, such “high tech” firms as Facebook and Google have found that the best approach is old fashioned surveys and human judgments or what they call “small data.” As noted in a recent column in The New York Times, “Every day, hundreds of individuals load their news feeds and answer questions about the stories there [at Facebook]. Big data (likes, clicks, comments) is supplemented by small data (‘Do you want to see this post in your News Feed?) and contextualized (‘Why?’).”

Capturing Small Data in the Recruiting Process

Small data is captured in recruitment by regularly and systematically:

  • surveying an organization’s career site visitors, off-site candidates (i.e., those that click through to its ATS from another site), applicants and new hires;
  • and

  • secret shopping every candidate touch point in your recruiting process from the ATS application form to the telephone pre-screen and even the offer letter.

The goal is to measure and therefore better understand the essence of the candidate’s involvement with the organization. It’s not just what happens to him or her – their experience – it’s the quality of what happens between the individual and the organization.

Therefore, the survey might seek answers to the following questions:

  • Did our job posting provide the information you need to assess your interest in and qualifications for our opening?”
  • Did you come away from your on-site interviews excited about the possibility of working for our organization?
  • Did our career site give you an accurate and compelling picture of what it’s like to work for our organization?

Similarly, the secret shoppers should assess the full range of candidate interactions, including:

  • Does the auto-responder in the organization’s ATS read as if it were written by a machine or a human?
  • Are applicants notified of unexpected or overly long delays in filling an opening and are they given a new timetable for a decision?
  • Is the organization’s use of social media truly social or are candidates summarily pushed toward job postings?

Big data open an important window on the performance of the recruiting team. Small data, in contrast, open a window of the nature of the team’s involvement with candidates. Both are essential to the effective acquisition of top talent.

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Next Practices – The Book

Best Practices are so yesterday! They are sourcing and recruiting techniques designed for a time that has passed.

Next Practices are strategies and tactics for winning the real War for the Best Talent – the one you actually face today and will face tomorrow. They modernize your approach to:

  • Recruitment Advertising
  • Social Recruiting
  • Candidate Engagement
  • Optimizing the Candidate Experience
  • Managing Your Own Recruiting Career

so you maximize your success.

The book is composed of short, straight-to-the-point essays that can be read in ten or fifteen minutes and still transport you to a whole new dimension in the state-of-the art for recruiting and sourcing talent. With titles like Become a Talent Whisperer, Post-Social Recruiting, The Inconvenient Truth of Recruiting and Don’t Post a Job, Advertise Respect, they are sure to entertain and enlighten you.

So, don’t recruit with yesterday’s techniques. Get Next Practices and start recruiting right now with the next generation of recruiting mastery.

The book is available on Amazon. Click here to place your order.

What’s Happening In the Job Market?

Despite all the happy talk about the growth in job openings, it’s still incredibly hard to find a GOOD job and one that pays anywhere near what it costs to live in this country. That’s as true for recruiters as it is for everyone else in the workforce.

So, what’s going on?

There are plenty of talking heads opining on cable and more than enough blog posts and magazines offering their take on the situation. But, wouldn’t it be nice to look into this situation and its causes without having to endure a lot of self-appointed punditry?

Well, now you can. Read Peter Weddle’s novel about the 21st Century world of work in America called A Multitude of Hope. It uses the fictional tale of three job seekers to explore what’s happening to individual working men and women in a workplace and job market churning with change.

To read a FREE excerpt of A Multitude of Hope, click here.

The Recruiting Resources You Deserve

The best recruiters use the best resources to get the job done. And, when it comes to reaching top talent online, their choice is clear. It’s WEDDLE’s Books. Get yours today!

WEDDLE’s Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. This is the 11th edition of the Guide the American Staffing Association called the “Zagat” of job boards and social media sites.

The Talent Sourcing & Recruitment Handbook. This is Shally Steckerl’s tell-all guide to his sourcing secrets and cybersleuthing for hard-to-find talent.

WEDDLE’s Guide to Association Web Sites. This book details the recruiting resources and capabilities that are available at the Web-sites of over 3,000 professional and technical associations.

Finding Needles in a Haystack. This one-of-a-kind guide lists over 25,000 keywords and keyword phrases, across 5,400 job and position titles in 28 industries and professions.

Make Your Recruiting Headquarters

Modeled after Pinterest, offers four channels of information and resources found nowhere else on the Web. And, one of those channels is specifically tailored for those Employers and Recruiters who are determined to find the best talent for their openings!

What’s in the Employers & Recruiters channel at There are:

  • Books & Tools for recruiting & sourcing excellence
  • An archive of Next Practice Recruiting Tips
  • An Association Directory organized by career field & industry
  • Insights on Career Activists – the passive prospects who are so hard to recruit
  • And much, much more!

So, make the place where you start your business day! And, encourage your colleagues to join you there, as well.