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In this episode, Brick and Greg Brown discuss some of the ways BI can be used to improve hiring processes and effectiveness. Having an applicant tracking system as a data source is not a prerequisite.
Blue Margin helps private equity owned and mid-market companies organize their data into dashboards to execute on strategy and create a culture of accountability. We call it The Dashboard Effect, the title of our book and podcast.
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#BI #businessintelligence #hiring #HR
Welcome to the Dashboard Effect Podcast. I'm Brick Thompson.Greg Brown:
And I'm Greg Brown.Brick Thompson:
Hey, Greg. Good to have you back.Greg Brown:
Yeah. Thanks, Brick, good to be back.Brick Thompson:
Yeah. All right. So today we're gonna be talking about a topic that I'm hearing about a lot from our customers, which is the topic of hiring in this current environment we're in. So we're in October 2022. Near the end of that, even though there's a lot of prognostications about we're headed into maybe a bad recession, unemployment is still really low. And I'm hearing from successful companies, that one of the main things holding them back right now is simply being able to hire the talent, the number of people, good people that they need to grow. And so we wanted to talk today a little bit about how you can use BI to help you.Greg Brown:
Yeah, that's right. And this does come with the caveat, we're obviously not an HR or recruiting consultancy. You know, that's not the way we look at the world, we look at the world through data glasses, so to speak. And so, we understand that a lot of companies have talent acquisition platforms, applicant tracking platforms, those have a lot to offer. Companies have a different landscape when it comes to those tools and the data points available to them. So that's what we're really focusing on is, regardless of the systems or infrastructure, what are the data points at your company? And how could you consolidate that into a way to visualize hiring performance?Brick Thompson:
Good. All right, well we'll jump into that quickly, I just want to say, as you as you mentioned, these applicant tracking systems platforms, they'll have native reporting, and you used the system in a previous career where you were doing a bunch of hiring, and your experience was, "Yeah, it's in there, but it takes a bunch of work to get to it." And what we're talking about where we think there's value in using BI, even taking that same data, is that you can fine tune the reporting to what you care about, to really drive your hiring process. And you can set your KPIs so that you're seeing, for example... a part of the report goes yellow if your average days to scheduling an interview goes over what you want it to be. So you can really manage your processes, that type of thing.Greg Brown:
That's right. And even considering the composition of certain platform companies where you have legacy systems coming in, some systems have more capability and data points and reporting than others. And you have to have a complete picture of how the company is performing, which you can't do by just masking up different sources.Brick Thompson:
Right, if you're part of a PE own company that's doing acquisitions, yes, that's a constant, constant challenge. Okay, so what are the types of data that you think could benefit from going into a more generalized BI system for reporting?Greg Brown:
Yeah, and so it's really any sort of data that that brings visibility to the hiring pipeline. So from the start of the process, when you're posting jobs, you have applicants submitting resumes, to when you're scheduling interviews, to when you're extending offers, and that entire lifecycle or pipeline of hiring, those are the sort of data points you want to think about. And there's different metrics that companies may want to look at specifically, it might depend on the industry. And again, sometimes source systems may not have that sort of tailored metric that you need to see for your business. Other times, it's just hard to visualize and see that. But really, in general, it's those data points relating to the hiring pipeline and your performance in that.Brick Thompson:
Okay, so let's get specific. What data points are you thinking about?Greg Brown:
Yeah, so things that come to mind for me are the time it takes companies to respond to applicants when they first apply for a job. The other one that comes to me, and I can speak to this a little bit from my past experience, is the number of days or the amount of time it takes from an applicant that's applying to the actual interview taking place. And one of the reasons of course, that metric is so important, is that you have to imagine, again, certainly in specific industries, that applicants are applying to a number of jobs, and the first maybe two or three interviews that that applicant has, there's a greater likelihood, they may not come to your interview, if it's a week later, five days later. And so that's an important metric to consider. "How much more successful could we be if we improve that by a day? Or two days?" And so I think that's one that comes to mind for me as well.Brick Thompson:
Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, it's such a competitive hiring market right now that if you're five days slower than your competitor, that could cost you a great applicant.Greg Brown:
Yeah, absolutely. And there's more advanced applications of data points that companies collect. I mean, some companies do candidate surveys or interviews after the hiring process to really understand, "How did the recruiter perform? Were you able to ask questions during the interview? Did our job description match how the hiring manager portrayed the job in the interview?" And it really gives them an understanding of how people are conducting themselves in the process and hiring and where there can be some opportunities to improve. And that sort of survey and data collection process might not be feasible for every company, but that's another example of how you could use data to inform your strategy and decisions on, "Where do we need to end proven them hiring pipeline?"Brick Thompson:
Yeah. Okay. What if I don't have applicant tracking platform or system? How do I do that, then?Greg Brown:
Yeah, that's a great question. It's not a prerequisite to building a dashboard and creating visibility into your hiring pipeline. There's many different solutions. You know, one thing that comes to mind for me is Power BI Goals feature. And that allows you to have, essentially, a manual data entry, but then that data is being rolled up into an executive level scorecard that really shows you the metrics that you care about. And that's a nice basic solution that a company can get started with, without any sort of source system. The key point there is that you're collecting data that folks are inputting what they need to, but that you're able to really get the information you want on those metrics without having to invest in a source system. And again, applicant tracking systems and talent acquisition systems have a lot to offer. But if a business is saying, "Well, boy, we have to do that before we can get reporting built!" You don't need to. There's other ways to do.Brick Thompson:
Yeah, and I mean, you could put data straight into Excel and create good reports off of that. I think, even a company as small as us, we're like 32 people, something like that. So we have a small HR department, people share roles there. But there's responsibilities around hiring that even the couple of people that are working on that, we have reporting for that, that helps them to know whether they're on track. And a lot of times, it's not the case that "Oh, someone's just shirking the responsibility." Most times it's not. It's the case that, it's busy. You know, there's a lot going on, there's a lot of churn, and it's easy to let a day or two go by when you meant to respond a lot quicker. And if you have a report, you know, we put a lot of TVs around our office with reports on if you have that you see really quickly, and you can go and fix that.Greg Brown:
Yeah. And I think for the folks that are involved in that, the the hiring managers, the folks that are making the decisions and taking the actions in the hiring pipeline, it's important for them to see that scoreboard and understand, "Where could I improve? How am I performing?" And to really have a daily update on that. To not just get a sense of, "Well, I think I'm doing good enough, but I don't really have a place to check necessarily." And of course, we talk about that, and how dashboards provide that in all different areas of a business, not just hiring.Brick Thompson:
Yeah, we have a client company much larger than ours, they are PE backed, there was a big platform and a bunch of add ons to that, a bunch of subsidiaries. They don't have a centralized applicant tracking system. Part of their hiring function is to go out and get data from all of these subsidiaries on how hiring is going. Things like open positions, by position and by market, and days to fill, and all that stuff. And they gather that into Excel, and then they can do some reporting out of Excel, but we're helping them to turn that into a more easily digestible dashboard that everybody on senior leadership can see. So they can see, whatever level they're at, if they're at the top level, they can see sort of the aggregate view. Or if they're working in one of the regions or one of the subsidiaries, they can see just their stuff, and maybe even how they compare to how others are doing. And this is just a critical problem for them to solve, because they can't grow. They can easily grow, they have the business, but they need the people to be able to deliver the business.Greg Brown:
Yeah. And you need a quick way to just check. "Where do we stand today? Where do we stand this week compared to last week? What conversations do we need to have this week to try to get movement on some of the metrics and figures that we're seeing that we think we could improve?" And, like you said, it's rarely that someone's just not doing their job, there could be other hurdles or issues coming up that are impeding their ability to improve these metrics, but unless you have a scorecard and a way of visualizing and starting that conversation, you may never have it, and you may never get to the root of, "Where is the opportunity to improve?"Brick Thompson:
Yeah. Okay. How else can people benefit from data in this process?Greg Brown:
Yeah, I think a couple of different areas come to mind for me. I think, as I mentioned with candidates surveys and information like that, it's hard if you imagine yourself as the CEO of a standard mid market company, you can imagine that, "Yeah, I feel like my hiring managers are doing the right things, we're starting interviews on time, we're giving applicants a good sense of the business, we're showing them the benefits of working here." But, I mean, some of that's trust, you can't be there for every single interview, you can't see all of that. And so getting those kinds of insights, I think, can be interesting. Like I said, it's not appropriate for every size company, but that's one area where you can get more data on how it's going.Brick Thompson:
And you would do that through surveys after the fact?Greg Brown:
Yeah, correct. And, of course, there's all the standard stuff with surveys. Some people won't fill them out, but you would hope to get a reflective sample size. Then, of course, if you send those to applicants that are accepted and rejected from jobs, you'll get some candid feedback. And you, of course, kind of anonymize that feedback, you can filter it so that it's channeled the right way. But ultimately, it gives you a sense of "Okay, when that person walked through our front doors, virtually or in person, what was their impression of our company? Did we put our best foot forward?" Because of course, that's going to massively hamper your ability to compete with other companies when you're looking when you're looking to hire.Brick Thompson:
Yeah. Okay. Sounds like we are kind of HR experts. Just kidding. Anything else you wanted to add to this?Greg Brown:
No Brick, I think we've covered all of it. And again, we're not HR experts. But we are, you know, experts in analyzing, "Okay, what is the landscape at your company? What's the data environment? What data points do you have? What can we create here? And how can we make that visibility much easier for you," so that you can do the more important thing, which is to take action on the metrics where you feel you can improve, to have those conversations and to track those improvements. It starts with the visibility and awareness, that can be done in a lot of different environments, either with a lot of different systems or with no systems. So, I think that's what we are more the experts on, I think that we would always look, and we do this in any functional area, to partner with the subject matter experts at that business, they often know more about their individual industry or vertical than we do. And so we have to partner with them to understand, "Okay, what is it you would like to see, and let's pressure test that a bit," but then, "Okay, we think we can construct that for you, let us figure out that data strategy to get there." You know, that's what we're the experts on. And, again, such a critical issue, regardless of where things go on the macroeconomic side. And, I can feel pretty confident without being an expert that there will continue to be fierce competition, especially in certain industries, over the next couple of years.Brick Thompson:
Yeah, definitely. Well, I think this is an interesting topic, just because it highlights how you That's right. And like you said at the top, if that's what's can apply data to just about any business problems you've got. Typically, when you're thinking about BI, you're thinking, sort of operations data, you know, "How's the factory running? How's the sales team functioning? Tell us about the financials," that type of thing. But in HR it tends to be a little squishier, but you can apply it just the same way inhibiting your growth as a company, that's where the there. There's still business processes, and there are still metrics to to gain value from. urgency should be to create that visibility. Just like you wouldn't any other area. Okay, well, we'll go ahead and wrap up. Thank you, Greg. It's been an interesting conversation. I'll see you again soon.Greg Brown:
Yeah, thanks, Brick. Always a pleasure.