7 Revealing Numbers Guaranteed to Make You Rethink Talent Management

This “think piece” is designed to stimulate your thinking about the value of data

Historically, a great deal of recruiting and talent management has been intuitive. And as a result, at most firms, recruiters and hiring managers plod on for years using the same assumptions about what works and what doesn’t work. Examine some data points that expose you to facts that challenge the existing assumptions of many. Here are a handful of data points that are at the very least guaranteed to first to get your attention and then make you rethink your current talent approach.

Data Points That Will Make You Think

  1. Computers sometimes beat people — traditional resume sorting stinks because of the “perfect resumes” (that were crafted to fit the job description exactly) sent out in the name of mystery shopper candidates, only 12 percent of these “ideal candidates” were actually scheduled for interviews (Source: Hodes Healthcare). But if you’re skeptical about the effectiveness of computerized candidate assessment, realize that at least in this one case, “Workers chosen by a computer algorithm stayed in their role 15 percent longer than those chosen by human recruiters and managers” (Source: U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research).
  2. Do you realize that much turnover is preventable? — If you were able to prevent turnover, it would mean that a significant proportion of your turnover costs could be avoided by proactive action. One study surprisingly found that “about 50 percent of all voluntary turnover is preventable” (Source: Insight Link).
  3. Sexual harassment is not a random occurrence — data reveals that sexual harassment is much more likely to occur in certain places than in others. And that means that talent management can and should focus its prevention and monitoring resources in the areas where the harassment is most likely to occur. For example, one study found that 34 percent of female employees in IT were harassed, while only 16 percent were harassed in HR. And of all U.S. cities, Minneapolis ranked No. 1 with 27 percent of female employees being harassed, compared to only 10 percent in San Francisco (Source: Comparably).
  4. Data reveals what candidates actually want to know — you certainly won’t get the attention or an application from an initially interested person unless you provide them with information covering the areas that they care most about. One study found that after a listing of job openings, the No. 1 thing that potential candidates want to know about is “recruiting process details” (Source: Korn Ferry). Also, candidates want to know more about their future manager because candidates are 46 percent more likely to consider the job “after seeing a hiring manager welcome video” (Source: Lighthouse Research & Advisory).
  5. Hiring managers don’t listen to advice from their recruiter —  even though the recruiter’s relationship with the hiring manager is the factor with the highest impact on recruiting success. A survey of hiring managers reveals that “only 25 percent of their selection decisions” are influenced by recruiters/recruiting. And “65 percent of hiring managers are not satisfied” with recruiting’s impact on business results (Source — The Corporate Executive Board).
  6. Referrals are the most effective source — surveys by LinkedIn and Entelo (2016) revealed that referrals produce the highest quality of hire, and a Jobvite survey (2017) found them to be the most effective external source (5X more effective than the average source). Also, firms are getting bolder in their use of controversial sources with Amazon using Tinder, Virgin Trains recruiting at prisons and the U.S. Secret Service advertising jobs on Breitbart.
  7. Rejected applicants may cost you customers and $ — research at Virgin Trains revealed that up to 18 percent of its applicants were also customers. And up to 15 percent of applicants/customers dropped their service within months after the job closed. This phenomena cost Virgin over $5 million and British Telecom over $14 million (Source: Graeme Johnson).

Final Thoughts

If you are planning to prepare yourself for a shift to a “talent advisor” role, begin to learn how to “speak with data.” And as a first step, if you find these startling but simple data points to be stimulating, seek out more data at your own firm that will cause you to question the status quo. Especially in “sacred cow” areas related to the effectiveness of interviews, the predictive accuracy of most selection criteria, the accuracy of reference checking, the degree of improvement after performance management, and most retention actions. Make next year “a data-driven year.”

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Author’s Note: I am the leader of the movement to disrupt HR. So if this article stimulated your thinking and provided you with actionable tips, please take a minute to follow or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website www.drjohnsullivan.com and on www.ere.net. He lives in Pacifica, California.