Armed With Data, Kesha Owens Fears No Hiring Manager

Sep 9, 2014
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
Kesha Owens
Kesha Owens

When Kesha Owens meets with hiring managers about a req, she goes in armed.

Her weapon of choice? Data.

Data showing the comp for the job locally and nationally. Data showing the number of available candidates and where the supply is greatest and who else is looking for the same candidates. And that’s just part of the ammunition she has these days when she explains to hiring managers why relocation needs to be included or why the comp is too low or … You get the idea.

“Without that data you go into meetings with managers and you are rambling,” says Owens, manager of recruiting and training at Lincoln Electric, a global provider of welding equipment and cutting tools with one of the most studied of business models, including multiple articles published by the Harvard Business School.

“Now that you have the data,” she and her team go into those meetings with confidence. “You can go in with the comp and location and background and say how many candidates there are that are available … I can show them that there aren’t that many welding engineers here (in Cleveland, where the company is headquartered). But there are a lot more available in Texas. It tells them there may a relocation cost.”

And because Owens has the charts and data to back up what she says, hiring managers “understand why” a search is taking so long or why they might have to come up with something different.

Her data comes from CareerBuilder’s Supply and Demand Portal, a big data tool that meshes huge amounts of statistical labor force information from local, state, and federal government, with data from private services and from CareerBuilder’s own resume database.

“Before we had this tool we had to struggle,” says Owens, who manages a team of nine, including two trainers. Her recruiters fill 60 or so professional positions annually, and another 300 other jobs, including hourly positions.

Her team ran ads, scouted colleges, and searched through resumes. Too often, when recruiting for hard-to-fill positions like welding engineer, they’d come up empty handed. Explaining the situation to impatient hiring managers was not a job she relished. Telling them they weren’t getting the applicants or the leads, but not being able to objectively say why was “not acceptable to hiring managers,” said Owens.

Then recruiting got a look at the Supply and Demand Portal. It was, she said, “an eye opening report supply. You could see where those candidates were.” The report on demand for those candidates, she said, was “scary.” There were 34,610 candidates who met her criteria for the test job, one her group regularly recruits for. But the demand side showed 57,871 openings.

And, she added, “You get to see who is out there looking for those same candidates.”

Armed with data, now going into meetings with hiring managers, “has made me feel a whole more confidant.” When she makes a suggestion about providing for relocation, upping the comp, or maybe modifying some of the requirements, she has the data to back it up.

Besides improving her group’s recruiting efficiency, it has raised recruiting’s credibility. Managers, Owens says, now listen and argue less, though, of course, they don’t always follow her recommendations.

Having access to the kind of data available in CareerBuilder’s Supply and Demand Portal has had another, less tangible, but no less important consequence, she added. “It took away the fear of having to have that face to face conversation.”

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.