The Power of Recruiting Data and Better Search

Recruiting data – love it or hate it – is the gold of the hiring world. From internal to social data, there’s plenty out there. But quantity doesn’t always lead to quality. Bullhorn shared in a blog post last year that “27% of company leaders aren’t sure how much of their company data is accurate and can reduce company revenue by 12%.”

Why Does Recruiting Data Matter?

It’s simple: Decisions are made better by data. Hiring decisions are no exception.

Quality of Hire

Recruiting data can help you find candidates similar to your top performers. It can also help you understand what exactly makes a quality hire. This knowledge will support any of your quality of hire goals.

When the quality of data is good, the quality of hire can soar right along with it.

Recruiting Efficiency

We’ve talked about recruiting efficiency before, and quality data is the reason efficiency can exist. Whether you have information on how many qualified candidates you already have in your database or you’ve normalized every data point, data used well leads to making better decisions faster.

Identify Growth Opportunities

That’s what we call problems: growth opportunities. No recruiting process or database is perfect, but understanding your data can identify the places where your team needs to grow. You can determine gaps in your diversity recruiting goals or where you may need to head to social media to track down some new potential candidates. Just like data can show you what you have, it can also show you what you’re lacking.

The Cost of Bad Recruiting Data

Can insufficient data really be that much of a liability to your team?


Bad data costs your team time and money that it can’t afford to lose. In the world of The Great Resignation and new work cultures recruiting teams are trying to do more with less. Any and all roadblocks are unwelcome.

In fact, after reviewing over 62 million data points, we found some shocking statistics around the quality of data within talent acquisition databases.

Bad Data Can Equal Bad Hires

Great hires can be made without great data, but good data will set your team up for success. Bad hires can cost companies upwards of a quarter of a million dollars, which doesn’t even touch on the morale and company culture costs. For staffing companies, bad hires can also translate to reputation damage. No one will continue hiring you if every person you place is less-than-ideal.

Costly and Inefficient Recruiting Processes

We’ve found that 40-60% of all qualified candidates already exist in internal databases (ATS, CRM, etc.). If your team cannot access those candidates and therefore heads out externally for every requisition, there’s a good chance that they are wasting their time, budget, and effort.

The Role of Search in Actually Using Recruiting Data

Let’s be honest: Your database isn’t helping anyone if it can’t be searched and the data used.

How does your team search your databases? 

Too many teams are still relying on outdated search mechanisms (think Boolean – a great tool but a pain to learn, modify, and manage). We’ve had users who (pre-implementation of HiringSolved) were able to search only by job title or name, and some users who just couldn’t search.

Even if you bring in optimized search, it only works with normalized, clean, and quality data. 

Shon Burton, one of our fearless founders, recently went over everything you need to know about data health and search in talent acquisition. He shares 4 game-changing insights HiringSolved has learned in nearly a decade of data experience along with 3 key ways your current process is setting you up to fail, 2 ways to invest in the future of your recruiting success, and the one thing that all successful organizations have in common when it comes to their data.

You can watch the full webinar here, but check out the video below for a sneak peek!

Ultimately, managing, using, and optimizing recruiting data is a long-term project that deserves time and attention. But there’s no doubt that investment will be returned in the value that your team receives.

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Automation and Staffing: Is the Investment Worth It?

We’re not going to lie: Adding automation to your staffing team and process is an investment. Between the time spent and budget used, many teams question whether automation is worth the effort it takes. Maybe you’re concerned about whether you can continue running your business while augmenting your processes. Perhaps you’re worried that your team doesn’t have good trust in automation. 

To determine whether automation is right for your business, you need to look at three things: what challenges you’re facing, what the investment is, and your expected returns and successes.

Staffing Challenges of the Future

While we can’t confirm exactly what the world will be facing as time goes on (Did anyone really have a worldwide pandemic on their five-year plan?), we can look at the current world and make an educated guess about what may be coming. We looked at some of the current staffing challenges on our blog What AI Recruiting Software Can Do For Staffing, but let’s review.

The Effect of COVID

We cannot underestimate the effect of COVID. COVID challenged our understanding of work, interpersonal relationships, and what we wanted our lives to be. In the grander scheme of the economy, COVID presented hiring freezes, layoffs, and the immediate need to “do more with less.”

The Great Resignation

COVID didn’t simply affect the economy; it affected how people look at the role of work in their lives. Many people are feeling the need to resign from their current positions and look for one that better suits their desires. For staffing teams, that means ensuring that roles are appealing and facing a time crunch as companies need to meet the staff shortage.

New Job Seeker Needs

The Great Resignation is spurred in part by job seekers who are now even more focused on flexibility, pay, benefits, and taking on a role that brings value to their lives. As a staffing recruiter, there’s not much you can do to change a client’s culture. But you can take on a role as an advisor to your client and build the relationship on trust that you know what you’re talking about.

Keeping Clients Happy

Staffing teams are successful when their clients are successful. You need to be able to work fast and effectively. As many companies face a staffing shortage, decreasing time to submit and the quality of your candidate slate is more crucial than ever.

The Investment of Implementing Automation

Implementing automation will take time, budget, and buy-in from stakeholders and users. While it’s not an investment to take lightly, it’s entirely within your control to make it as seamless of an implementation as possible.

Stakeholder Buy-In and Support

As with any project, it’s critical to understand the goal and reasons for the project to get buy-in towards the value of automation and staffing. 

  • Why does your team need automation?
  • What problems will it solve?
  • Who should be involved in the discovery process?
  • Who is responsible for deciding the budget availability?

By getting buy-in from your stakeholders at the start of the process, you can feel more confident entering into the discovery and implementation phases, knowing that you are getting input from everyone you need it from. Stakeholders will vary from company to company, but you’ll likely have at least one C-level executive (like a CIO or CTO), one or two high-level team managers, as well as a core group of staffing recruiters to test the tool. Everyone should be aligned on the goals and have some core objectives for the process.

Now we know that spending time organizing people and resources when you just want to dive in can feel like a waste of time, but remember that you’re setting up your tomorrow for success if you take time to plan today.

Your Budget In Dollars and Hours

Now that you know who is involved in the process, it’s time to make sure that you know how much time you need and the budget you have to focus on this project.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the planning fallacy as well. It would be best to have a realistic expectation of what it will take to find a tool, implement it, train on it, and use it. If you have a project manager on your team, now is a great time to get them involved to help create appropriate time and effort estimations. 

While quality and intelligent automation can take as little as four weeks to implement, it’s important to remember that there are bound to be delays or roadblocks.

Roadblocks To Be Ready For

No project goes off without a hitch. But being ready for those risks and roadblocks is possible. Consider roadblocks like:

  • Disagreement among team members
  • Budget changes
  • Changes in needs for the tool
  • User adoption and acceptance
  • Delays in documentation approval

While you don’t need to think out an entire contingency plan for any conceivable roadblock, you can define the critical path you need to take to get the implementation done.

The ROI You Can Expect

We’ve gone over what it takes to get automation into your team, but is it worth it?

We’re biased, but yes. It is.

While the investment in time, dollars, and effort is apparent, the return on that investment will make it all worthwhile. Every staffing team will experience different ROI depending on what their goals are and what sort of challenges they’re facing, but just like the roadblocks, there are certain results you can expect.

Shorter Time to Slate/Fill

Staffing teams need to move fast. You need to get find candidates and bring them into the open roles as quickly as possible. Automation and talent intelligence applied to your existing data allow you to search more efficiently. That means getting slates to clients faster than ever before.

Automated matching can ensure that your team uncovers the best candidates in seconds rather than hours. With a shorter time to fill, you’ll see an increase in sales volume. After all, the faster you can do work, the more work you can do.

Decreased Costs

Job advertising, operational costs from manual workarounds, duplicate data – staffing costs add up quickly. But automation can serve all of them. After implementing automation and talent intelligence, we’ve seen staffing teams save over $200,000 in operational costs alone. It may not always be easy to quantify those savings, but there’s no doubt that the right automation will decrease costs.

More Confident Recruiters

Staffing teams need to hold onto the recruiting team they need to get the job done. Giving them the right tools to be successful is a valuable way to invest in your team. You can build up their skills, confidence, and abilities to get the job done. It can take time to help staffing recruiters build trust with automation, but automation can provide the time recruiters need to develop the relationships that businesses thrive on. Beyond that, it can help more junior recruiters get up to speed faster. In no time, you’ll see a significant improvement in their recruiting performance!

When it comes to deciding whether the investment in automation is worth it, you need to look at the whole picture. Is four weeks of implementation time worth $200K in cost savings, increased sales volume, and more confident recruiters? 

With the right project plan and the right partner in place, investing in automation and staffing is well worth it.

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The Great Resignation: How Recruiting Teams Can Stay Ahead

These past two years have been a lot. From extremely low unemployment to hiring freezes to a shift in the way people factor work into their lives, the work world is changing. Though newly-dubbed, The Great Resignation isn’t coming as a major surprise for many people. As Shon Burton mentioned in a recent interview with RecruitingDaily:

Shon Burton

 “…What’s really interesting about this post-pandemic world is that it basically hit the reset button for everybody. It paused the rat wheel, hamster wheel, and it let us just step off of it for a minute. And now everyone in the world, I think, is looking back at it, going, hang on a second. Now, do I want to get back on that wheel, and start doing the same thing as I was and just running in place? Do I want to get back on that treadmill or do I want to do something different? Is there a new opportunity for me?”

As people question what they want, recruiting teams are tasked with appealing to workers. Let’s dive into the Great Resignation, where it came from, and what companies and recruiting teams can do to stay ahead.

What Is The Great Resignation?

Simply put, The Great Resignation is a recent shift in the work world that has led to millions of employees quitting their jobs. While it’s not uncommon for workers to leave, this shift feels different.

As NPR wrote, “In normal times, people quitting jobs in large numbers signals a healthy economy with plentiful jobs. But these are not normal times. The pandemic led to the worst U.S. recession in history, and millions of people are still out of jobs. Yet employers are now complaining about acute labor shortages.”

In general, The Great Resignation seems to be caused by the pandemic rather than the normal fluctuations of the economy. But the direct causes are worth noting.

The need for personal boundaries and prioritizing needs

When people quit a job, it often stems from a need to reprioritize themselves and their needs. For whatever reason, the job they have isn’t adding value to their life. At worst, it is detrimental to their physical or mental health.

The desire to work from home

The pandemic gave a powerful lesson to the world: A ton of our jobs can be done remotely. It requires effort, compassion, empathy, and incredible skill at communicating. Still, while steadily growing in popularity, remote work has exploded recently as a benefit that workers are making a must-have rather than a nice-to-have.

As offices begin to open up and workers are told to come back to an office after 18 months of successfully working remotely, it’s not surprising to see an increase in resignations.

Burnout and lack of support

These past years haven’t been easy for anyone, but “essential workers” have faced a particular set of challenges. While some workers were able to shift to at-home work and maybe even cultivate more productive relationships with their work, essential employees were faced with the brunt of the health dangers of the pandemic.

Grocery store cashiers, nurses, doctors, emergency personnel, and more have been considered essential even through the most dangerous times. The stress they’ve faced has culminated in burnout at rates never seen before.

Lower-wage workers have had to come to terms with the fact that their paycheck hasn’t matched the effort they put in each day. While dubbed “heroes,” they were still faced with overwhelming physical, mental, and financial stress.

The role of social justice and equity

The summer of 2020 brought one of the most significant social justice movements in U.S. history. With it, employees began to investigate their own companies’ dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Pay discrepancies and workplace harassment were shared publicly, and companies began to stand for their culture.

How Recruiting Teams Can Handle The Great Resignation

Many recruiters aren’t solely responsible for a company’s culture. So how can they manage hiring during The Great Resignation when culture is so essential to job seekers?

While you as a recruiter can’t single-handedly create and monitor the company’s culture, there are a few things within your purview that can help you face The Great Resignation.

For recruiting teams, the problem is apparent: The people you are working to recruit are looking for specific experiences, and your hiring manager needs you to make hires as quickly as possible to confront the staffing shortage they’re facing. So what can you do?

Understand Your Data and What You’re Working With

Start with where you’re at. You often don’t need to rip out and replace all of your systems or processes. But the chances are that you do need to optimize them to suit your goals better.

Whether you choose to add Talent Intelligence to your existing systems or check in on your pipelines, you need to understand what you’re working with. Where does your data live? What quality state is it in? When was the last time you reached out to your pipelines

It may seem counterintuitive to slow down in a candidate-driven market and check in on where you’re at and what you have, but the pause will pay off. Job candidates want to work for a company that values quality. You can be an example of that quality work by transitioning into a Talent Advisor and using your skills, experience, and data to optimize your recruiting processes.

Know What You’re Looking For

How can you use your skills as a Talent Advisor to guide hiring managers in the right direction? With a candidate-driven market, communication with hiring managers becomes even more critical. 

When candidates are on the hunt for a new job, they want consistency and transparency from the people they work with. To provide that consistency and clarity to candidates, you need to receive it from your hiring managers.

Before moving forward with a requisition, ask the right questions and hold hiring managers responsible for being accurate. This will make your sourcing more efficient and allow you to find the right candidate quicker, and the candidates can feel secure knowing that you are acting in their best interest.

Play a Role in Company Culture

You may not be able to control company culture single-handedly, but as the steward of that culture to interested candidates, you should be playing a role. If you have an Employer Branding or Recruitment Marketing team, great! Partner with them to talk over how you can collaborate and tackle this new market.

If you are on a smaller team, you can lead the charge by advocating for the needs of job seekers and candidates.

According to the Pulse of the American Worker survey,  87% of workers who worked from home during the pandemic would like to continue doing so at least one day a week. Meanwhile, flexible work schedules, mobile opportunities, and remote-work options are the top three benefits job seekers look for.

76% of job seekers and employees report that a diverse workforce is important when evaluating companies. And some teams have even made pay transparency a priority.

What about onboarding and retention? Can you ensure that the candidates you’re working with get a quality onboarding experience and an inclusive workplace? If not, can you take part in making it better?

Optimize Your Candidate Experience

It’s a candidate’s market, and if there’s one thing that a recruiter can take an active role in changing, it’s the candidate experience. Thankfully, optimizing a candidate’s experience in your hiring process can be pretty straightforward.

Be prepared: Make it clear to the person you’re interviewing that you prepped for this interview. You can’t always spend tons of time for every interview. But a quick confirmation about their work experience or skills will show the candidate that you put some time in. According to Indeed, it takes an average of 5 – 10 hours for a candidate to prep for an interview so let’s lead by example and do some prep on our end.

Don’t ghost: We’re living in an era of automation, and there’s no better place to use it than ensuring that communication isn’t dropped. Whether you set up actual emails to go out automatically or schedule time in your calendar to follow up with anyone in need, making sure that you don’t ghost is an easy way to make candidates feel valued.

Respect Candidates’ Time: Do you know how long it will take for you to get back to the candidate? What about how many interviews will the process require? It’s important to remember that many candidates are willing to go through a lot for the right role. But respecting their time and showing that you value how much effort they’re putting in is critical. As the recruiter or interviewer for a role, you may not feel in a power position, but you are for a candidate. Be transparent whenever you can and set a tone of respect and compassion for all of your candidates.

All in all, it’s a stressful time for everyone at the moment. Staying ahead means staying compassionate and aware of the needs of both yourself and the candidates you’re working with.

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Customer Story: Green Key Resources

Brandon Hall Group Gold ribbon award for Excellence in Future of Work

In August, we got to celebrate a significant win alongside Green Key Resources as we won a Gold HCM Excellence Award from Brandon Hall Group for our work together. Green Key Resources was founded in 2004 to create connections between their recruiters, candidates, and the clients they serve. In late 2020, we joined forces to assess their existing tools and expertise before implementing a customized artificial intelligence solution.

Executive Summary

Green Key Resources implemented HiringSolved in late 2020 to streamline manual processes. Their goals included normalizing and unifying data, automating resume review procedures, augmenting search speed and accuracy, and supporting automated candidate matching. Within weeks of engaging HiringSolved, Green Key retired their in-house searching solution in favor of this AI-powered approach, resulting in substantial time and budgetary savings.

What Green Key Was Looking For

Green Key Resources logo

Working together with Green Key’s CTO, Dave Singh, our first goal was to decode their goals and business needs.  They were looking for “one search tool to rule them all.”

Green Key needed a Google-like tool to search all their databases and candidate data in one interface. They needed their team to be as efficient and effective as possible. And they needed the right technology to make it happen.

It was also important to continue utilizing their hard-won internal databases and systems. With their existing tech stack and their candidate sourcing locations like Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, and more, they had plenty of available data – they simply needed to be able to access it all quickly.

Initial Solution and Turning to HiringSolved

At first, Green Key decided to build an in-house solution to ensure they got everything they needed in a tool. They tasked their technical team members to take charge and create a solution. They realized that managing their solution wasn’t sustainable or aligned with their needs as time went on.

Image of HiringSolved logo sitting on top of existing systems including the ATS, CRM, and HRIS and outputting Search and Match, AI-Powered Automation, and Talent Intelligence

Green Key thoroughly researched numerous solutions before landing on HiringSolved. Our approach to users being partners and collaborators in their own systems appealed to Green Key. We had already seen how dedicated they were to implement the right tools for success—knowing that we knew that they would be a perfect partner.

We ran a pilot for five months to ensure success and test out the relationship and the tool. Green Key put HiringSolved to the test by asking recruiters to search as usual and then search in HiringSolved. This allowed for a side-by-side comparison. The results were truly impressive, and key to our Gold Brandon Hall Group award win.

Impact and Results

The overall impact of implementing HiringSolved? Green Key Resources increased their search speeds and accuracy and gave their team the power to make more placements.

HiringSolved’s AI and talent intelligence sourcing capabilities allowed Green Key to streamline multiple manual processes, including normalizing and unifying data, automating resume reviewing procedures, augmenting search speed and accuracy, and supporting automated candidate matching.

Implementing with HiringSolved and retiring their in-house solution saved Green Key $200,000 in ongoing costs in maintenance. 

Within the first two months of using HiringSolved, Green Key reported a 33% shorter time to submit candidates. On an individual basis, HiringSolved was able to save users 2 – 3 hours per day. When asked about HiringSolved’s AI search functionality, Green Key’s Dave Singh shared that before HiringSolved, it often took 10 minutes or more per search to find accurate results. HiringSolved can perform a more thorough search in a fraction of the time, returning more accurate candidates in just 4 seconds. Green Key can improve the candidate experience by responding to applicants and candidates quicker with these budget and time savings. With increased search speeds and multiple hours in the day given back to recruiters, the Green Key staff can spend more time building quality relationships with candidates and clients alike.

Bar graph comparing search speeds as usual versus HiringSolved

The Future Together

These results reminded us just how important it is for staffing teams to have the right technology. With the proper support, staffing teams are unstoppable. The Gold Brandon Hall Group award win was the cherry on the top when celebrating this partnership.

Neil Bryson

When asked about the partnership between Green Key and HiringSolved, Neil Bryson, President of HiringSolved, shared, “Building this partnership with Green Key Resources has been an incredible source of pride for the HiringSolved team and for those efforts to be recognized by Brandon Hall Group validates HiringSolved’s value proposition for staffing organizations—solidifying our role as a must-have in any firm’s tech stack.”

And Dave Singh, Chief Technology Officer at Green Key Resources, commented, “Our relationship with HiringSolved has brought our tech stack to the next level. I’m excited to keep working with their team and further enhancing and pushing our recruiting tech.”

Moving forward, we’re excited to continue to support Green Key Resources and its incredible mission to build connections. We can’t wait to see what the future holds!

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How Automation Makes Bad Decisions

Man working on laptop at a table

There’s a lot of fear regarding implementing automation, artificial intelligence, or machine learning. 

What if it makes a wrong decision? 

Can I trust it to work well? 

Is it going to replace me?

How can I stay in control?

We see stories about Siri searching things incorrectly, facial recognition software with dangerous bias, and autopilot cars in accidents. It’s natural to fear the failures of technology. But instead of running from the tools, what if we focused on making them better? When we implement new tools, we need to confront our fears and concerns head-on.

How and Why Automation Makes Bad Decisions

To fix things, we need to know why they happen. When automation and artificial intelligence doesn’t work, what or who is at fault?

Bad Data

Bad data encompasses a lot of problems when it comes to the efficacy of automation. Unstructured data is a particular culprit. We talked recently about the effect of unstructured data, but let’s recap. When applications intake unstructured data (i.e., a fill-in-the-blank box) rather than structured data (i.e., a checkbox or drop-down selection), your database is left with information that it can’t necessarily parse correctly.

Bad data can also include problems like misspelled words. Misspellings happen, but if your database can’t be contextually searched, you’ll have difficulty surfacing those profiles again. Outdated data can also pose a significant problem to automation making a less-than-stellar decision. Do you know the last time your team updated their candidate data?

What about missing data in a profile? Does everyone has a resume or work experience attached?

We process a lot of data here at HiringSolved, and we recently found that:

Image with colorful graphics that shares: "51% of candidate records are missing a resume, 37% of candidate records are missing any education data, 1 in 4 records are missing work experience, 5% of records are missing any kind of contact information."

Incomplete records affect automation abilities and the ability to provide a quality candidate experience and provide all the needed information to hiring managers. 

In short, bad data, whether that’s unstructured, outdated, or just plain missing, is the number one reason why automation, AI, or machine learning won’t work well.

Inflated Expectations

The Gartner Hype Cycle of 2021 recently highlighted that AI in Talent Acquisition is currently in the Peak of Inflated Expectations stage. While AI can be an incredible addition to a recruiting workflow, “Users must set realistic expectations on what functionality these tools provide. AI should be used to support recruiters through enhanced automation of recruitment operations and candidate outreach to increase engagement and productivity, and to assist human decision making.”

While the abilities of AI and automation in recruitment may feel endless, the reality is that we’re a far way from C3PO telling us the odds.

GIF of C3PO behind Han Solo with Han Solo saying, "Never tell me the odds!"

Undedicated Change Management

Whenever a new tool is introduced, the team needs to accept the change and begin using it. Dedicated change management can help to make that process easier.

Ask yourself:

  • What will our recruiters get out of this change?
  • What resources do they need to adjust to this tool successfully?

Once you align expectations to the product’s abilities and the strategy for implementation, your team will be unstoppable!

The Fixes You Need to Make Automation Work

While the above items can cause roadblocks to a successful implementation of automation, they aren’t a dealbreaker! Here’s how to tackle them head-on.

Data Normalization

Normalized data is the foundation of automation, AI, and machine learning, but what is data normalization?

Click to learn more about how data normalization supports automation

Since data enables or denies the capabilities of tools like automation, normalizing your existing data and creating a new strategy to only bring in structured and normalized data in the future is the perfect strategy for automation success.

Audit your existing systems with the help of an experienced vendor to find out what your databases are currently facing. Once you know where you’re at, build a strategy to ensure that only the best, most up-to-date, clean data enters your systems.

Reality Checks

Be realistic about what AI and automation can and can’t do before letting your expectations run wild. It’s essential to work closely with your vendor to understand the real-life abilities of a product and build plans and goals accordingly. 

It’s also crucial to relay that information to your team. When implementing automation or AI, recruiting teams can feel concerned about being phased out. In reality, recruiters should use automation and AI to optimize operations and streamline tasks rather than replace the human hands in control.

Consultative Partnerships

When you’re working with your vendor to find the limits of the technology, work with them to set goals together. An experienced vendor will look forward to building a consultative partnership with you to ensure that you achieve the success you’ve imagined.

What KPIs are yourbeing held to? How does automation serve those goals? It’s essential to have a strategy when implementing a new tool and to understand how that tool directly impacts your goals is paramount.

As our EVP, Dave Barthel said in a recent post on LinkedIn,

Blue and white image that reads: "When relationships are built effectively, and trust is grown, they will transform into mutually beneficial consultative partnerships; the customer will trust you to serve their best interests, and you can trust them to help you guide your product to be the best it can be.”

Consultative partnerships should be equally beneficial for both you and the vendor, so don’t be afraid to set that standard for the relationship.

Ultimately, automation needs quality data, relevant expectations, and a solid partnership to bring the results that will transform your recruiting. How are you going to ensure those exist in your processes?

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How to Build the Perfect Application Process

White woman talking on the phone with computer on their lap

As the culture of work has changed, the job application process has changed as well.  Gone are the days of walking around to companies, picking up a paper application, and crossing fingers that you’d just get a role. Nowadays, job seekers invest in finding companies where they feel valued, welcomed, and powerful. Some job seekers even have running lists of “dream companies” with whom they always look for open positions. 

Companies are constantly looking for new ways to make the application process more straightforward, shorter, and more accessible. But that doesn’t mean the process is perfect quite yet. 

Let’s look at the role of applications, the problems we see today, and how you can build an optimized process that is short, efficient, and still has all of the data you need.

The Role of Applications

Applications allow recruiters to cast a wide net for talent while enabling job seekers to participate in the hiring process actively. They can ease the work of a recruiter by providing a list of candidates who have already proven their interest in your company or team.

The goal of using job applications should be to collect consistent data to fill the open position and positions in the future. The role and weight of applications vary by organization. Some companies use applications only for specific roles (like entry-level positions), whereas others use them as part of their hiring process for any job. Sometimes, an application is used in conjunction with other assessments like resumes, skills tests, etc.

While the goals and value of job applications are clear, they’re not always effective.

The Problem with the Application Process

On the Hiring Side

The biggest problems with the application process on the hiring side are not asking the right questions and not asking questions in the right format.

The recruiting world has a data problem. Teams are wading through outdated and disorderly data that is impossible to search despite the need for concision, accuracy, and structure. Building a quality application relies on asking the right questions in a suitable format to make those answers usable.

In our recent webinar, Data Health and Talent Acquisition, Shon Burton, HiringSolved’s founder, shared the need for great qualifying questions in a structured format.

On the Seeking Side

Job seekers deal with application issues as well. Many applications can take an incredible amount of time to get right or require repetitive information (i.e., asking for a resume PDF, but also asking applicants to type out the information on their resume in text boxes), so the process can feel more redundant, leading to abandoned applications.

Beyond that, competing and sometimes inaccurate advice pushes job seekers away from best practices. LinkedIn is filled with suggestions of how to “beat the ATS” and how insistent follow-up is the best way to get a job. Applicants are told to spend hours perfecting their application only to receive no response because recruiters are overwhelmed with tasks.

Job seekers face confidence hits, imposter syndrome, and the stress of being jobless if they’re actively searching. How can we fix these application process roadblocks?

How to Build the Perfect Application Process

Know Exactly What to Ask

Spend time with the hiring team or manager to clarify what they need to know about applicants. This is where being a Talent Advisor comes in. Recruiters can take the lead on asking the right questions of a hiring manager before releasing the job posting. Remember to ask for the basics like name, contact information, and even pronouns.

If you’re asking for a resume (which is often a great thing to ask for), remember to save time for the job seekers by not requiring them to recopy the information into text boxes after uploading a resume. Use a tool that can effectively parse and understand the information you need.

While it can be frustrating to spend so much preparation time to get a posting live, the more details you get earlier in the process, the easier the following steps will be.

Ask It Well

Like Shon mentioned in our recent webinar, unstructured formatting leads to poor qualifying questions. When you’ve selected the right questions, ask them in the right way.

If you’re asking for the state someone lives in, use a drop-down menu. When you want to know someone’s education level, make a checkbox list. Mitigate the risk of inaccurate or bad data coming into your database by focusing on structured data boxes.

The right data will allow you to bring automation and AI into your work process, so you need to focus on normalizing and structuring your data to get the best ROI from your technology.

Keep It Accessible and as Short as Possible

Keep applications accessible through the use of alt text or captions if you’re using images or videos. Make sure that your application is as short and straightforward as possible to avoid applicants abandoning it.

Remember to make your application mobile-friendly. Thanks to the ” digital divide, ” many lower-income Americans rely on their mobile phones to access the internet, thanks to the “digital divide.”  Even if someone doesn’t complete the application on mobile, job seekers may be searching for jobs on their phone and will likely judge your brand/company depending on how mobile-friendly your system is.

Be Clear About Expectations and Process

While candidate experience is a priority for many recruiting teams, job seekers continue to have similar complaints. In an article about a recently viral LinkedIn post, Forbes contributor Jack Kelly wrote,

“The comments have central themes. They include outrage over being pressured to undergo three to 10 interviews over six months or more. Some are asked to take tests, do projects or sit for invasive psychometric exams. There’s a lack of feedback and long periods of an absence of communication. No appreciation is extended to applicants for their time. Rude and dismissive treatment is commonplace. After all of the meetings, they complain of getting ghosted.”

The recruiting team should be clear about the process for applicants. But the hiring team also needs to be clear with the recruiting team. What time is the hiring manager given to give feedback? What is the process if you don’t receive the required input in that time?

Follow up with applicants with automated and personalized emails about the process and when they can expect to hear back.

As time goes on, the application process will need optimization to keep up with the needs of both recruiters and applicants, but we are long past time bringing the application process up to snuff for today.

From clarifying requirements to structuring data to follow-up, what are you going to do today to transform your application process for the better?

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The Basics of Data Normalization

What is data normalization, and why are we dedicating an entire blog post to it?

We recently processed 62 million candidate data points and found the proof we’ve been waiting for. Recruiting has a data problem; an unstructured, messy, and ineffective data problem.

Here’s what we found:

When you break down those percentages, out of 62 million candidate records:

  • Over 31 million records didn’t have a resume
  • About 22 million records were missing any recorded education data
  • Over 15 million records were missing any recorded work experience
  • And over 3 million records had absolutely no contact information

After a decade of experience in the HR technology space, we knew that data was messy, but this just confirmed how truly inadequate those databases often are. But they’re not insufficient because they don’t function. They’re ineffective because the data is out-of-date, messy, and unstructured.

And without accurate data, you can’t effectively implement the technology you need to be successful.

What Is Data Normalization?

Data normalization is the process of structuring a database to reduce data redundancy and improve data integrity and usability.

The data that lives in a candidate database, like an ATS or CRM, comes from any number of sources: past applicants, outside sourcing efforts, existing employees, manual entry, etc. There’s often no standardized process for adding that data, resulting in human and machine error and messy, unorganized data.

For example, let’s say your online application process allows applicants to fill out their state names in an open text box (meaning it’s not a drop-down or limited to initials). Some people spell out their state (Montana, California), and some people abbreviate it (MT, CA), while some misspell it (Montna, Cailfornia).

This leads to you missing out on effectively building a search by state location because no matter what you search, you will be missing out on data that wasn’t structured correctly.

Why Is Data Normalization Important?

If your team has clean, normalized, and structured data, they can make hiring suggestions and decisions that are backed by quality data. In short, the quality of your output will match the quality of your input. Beyond that, there are a few key places where data normalization will make a significant difference.

Technology Implementation and Usage

According to an survey, 40% of participants stated that their ATS lacks features. It’s natural to want to implement tools that can support your organization’s needs. But let’s be blunt: Tools like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation cannot work correctly without good data quality. You’re wasting money and time if you apply tech and don’t take care of your data first. 

As our founder, Shon Burton, said in our recent webinar, Data Health and Talent Acquisition:

GIF of Shon Burton saying, "Data enables or denies the capability of automation and artificial intelligence."

Unfortunately, teams often look at an AI tool and see it as ineffective or unsuitable for them because they made the mistake of laying it on top of messy data and expecting the tool to fix everything. AI won’t fix your bad data, but data normalization can.

Talent Intelligence and Insights

Without structure, your data can’t deliver the talent intelligence and insights of which it’s capable. As a reminder, talent intelligence is key workforce data that can be collated and contextualized to give organizations practical and actionable steps.

Your systems have that data already within them; the problem arises when you need to contextualize that data to make it usable. Data is cleaned up through the normalization process and deduplicated, allowing experts to find gaps and goldmines within the data.

When you can contextualize those insights, your database becomes the foundation for your success. If you know that you have a treasure trove of recently graduated college students in your database, that’s great. Your entry-level positions are ready to fill! But do you have that same level of a treasure trove for people with 20+ years of experience? Talent intelligence and data normalization show those gaps so that your recruiting team can take the reins to create change.

Compliance and Regulation

The new SEC regulation requires knowledge of your internal database. And it’s highly likely that the future will require even more insight into your database. As we see more and more people become invested in where their data is, what is collected, and how it is used, data holders will need to become more transparent about that information.

After all, how many times have you reached out to a candidate only for their first question to be, “How did you hear about me?”

If regulation and compliance needs come knocking at your door, data normalization will allow you to understand what data you have and how it can be used.


All of these reasons for why data normalization comes down to one central theme: Efficiency. Organized systems will always be more efficient. Whether that system deals with data like an ATS or not, quality organization will lead to efficiency.

When we’re finally working towards a post-COVID world and facing down “The Great Resignation” and an incredible number of open positions, your team needs efficiency. What efficiency you need will differ depending on your team’s goals, but whether you are looking to fill roles faster, understand the insights of your existing data, or even be able to search more accurately, data normalization will be able to help.

But this is just the start…

The basics of data normalization tend to apply across the board. But how long the process takes and what the result looks like varies depending on the needs of each individual team.

Here at HiringSolved, we do Data Quality Reports to see what state your data is in before we begin normalization. We start off by meeting with team leaders to identify which systems need to be reviewed and get access to a read-only pipeline of your data. From there, our team will organize, process, and visualize the data across 50+ unique metrics and then review our findings with you.

If you want to learn more about the role of clean and structured data, here are some further resources:
Webinar: Data Health and Talent Acquisition
What Is Data Normalization and Why Is It Important?
What Is Talent Intelligence?

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Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment: What It Can and Can’t Do

Image of computer with code on the screen

Artificial intelligence and its role in recruitment have been topics of interest for years, but we’re hitting a turning point in that conversation. Teams are starting to see AI for what it is: a support tool to increase productivity. But there are still some inflated expectations to manage.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment

Gartner’s recently published 2021 Hype Cycle for Human Capital Management Technology explored how AI in Talent Acquisition is currently hitting the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” stage in its hype cycle. They define that stage as, “During this phase of overenthusiasm and unrealistic projections, a flurry of well-publicized activity by technology leaders results in some successes, but more failures, as the innovation is pushed to its limits.” 

In simplest terms, everyone is in danger of expecting AI to do more than it can.

That means that we need to do a better job of being transparent about the uses and limits of artificial intelligence in recruitment.

What Artificial Intelligence Can’t Do

Like any technology, artificial intelligence has limits. Contrary to the sci-fi movies we hold dear, today’s AI doesn’t look like C-3PO. In reality, artificial intelligence is simply a “simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions.” The keyword there? Mimic.

In reality, artificial intelligence is built to mimic what a human might do. The AI we’re working with today (especially the artificial intelligence in recruitment) simply can’t think or function entirely independently.

AI Can’t…Replace Recruiters

We talked about some common automation myths on our blog, but it’s worth repeating: Today’s artificial intelligence cannot (and should not) replace human recruiters. While artificial intelligence is excellent for tasks, it starts to fail when it comes to building relationships. Recruitment is an industry that relies on relationships which means that artificial intelligence is incapable of successfully replacing human recruiters. Artificial intelligence should complement recruiting teams – allowing them to do better work faster, not one that replaces them.

AI Can’t…Work Without Good Data

Artificial intelligence isn’t going to provide you with good data nor fix your bad data. AI relies entirely on clean, quality, and normalized data to work at all. As our founder, Shon Burton said in a recent webinar, “Data enables or denies the capability of automation and artificial Intelligence.” Since quality AI will take good data to help you make a good decision faster, the inverse is also true: In the absence of good data, AI will make a bad decision faster.

If you’re applying artificial intelligence in recruitment, you have to start by looking at your data. How accurate is it? How complete is it? Our founder talked about the role of data, talent intelligence, and AI in a recent Subject to Talent podcast episode. Listen here!

What Artificial Intelligence Can Do

It’s not all doom and gloom! While artificial intelligence may not be the best at functioning without support, you’re on the right track when you pair AI with human skills and intelligence.

AI Can…Visualize Data to Complement Recruiter Skills

When applied over quality and clean data, AI has a spectacular ability to visualize that data and support quality decision-making in recruiting teams. AI is excellent at highlighting data trends a human eye may not see. For example, tools like HiringSolved can show trends in your data that allow you as the user to contextualize your hiring needs and decisions.

AI Can…Score and Qualify Candidates

With the right data and a little bit of human input, AI can support automated decision-making. Artificial intelligence is fully capable of taking structured data (like a job description), matching it to a separate set of structured data (like well-formulated application questions or resume experience), and qualifying candidates to ensure that the most qualified candidates are never missed.

By bringing in human interaction, like marking whether a candidate is a fit or not, the AI can also learn and become even more capable of supporting your recruiting process.

AI Can… Improve Productivity and Increase Usage of Existing Tools/Resources

Since it needs tools like quality databases and human intelligence to be functional, using artificial intelligence in recruitment makes for an excellent support and optimization tool for existing processes. 

AI, when used correctly, automates good decision-making. It leads users to decisions faster while providing data to support those decisions. By applying the right AI-based technology, users can expect to save hours in their day.

Why are we so passionate about artificial intelligence in recruitment? Because we love recruiting. We believe that recruiting technology should help people stay human, find meaningful work, and build inclusive workplaces. But those goals can only be achieved when we understand the capabilities and the limitations of technology.

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Equality vs. Equity at Work

Before 2020, bringing up diversity in the workplace often resulted in hushed tones and nervous employees. Nowadays, those conversations have turned into vital pillars of communication in the workplace. As we move past understanding the role of diversity, the attention turns to inclusion, and tucked within that umbrella is the role of equality vs. equity.

Equality vs. Equity: The Definitions

Before we dive into the application of equality or equity, we need to understand what they are. How does one differentiate equality vs. equity?

Equality means everyone is given the same resources or opportunities, no matter their needs.

Whereas equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. (Source)

As Amelia Ransom stated in HR Technologist, “Equality is providing the same meal full of meat for everybody, knowing that you have vegans and vegetarians in the group…Equity is providing vegan and vegetarian options along with the meat meal so that everybody has something that they can eat. To have equity in your organization, there needs to be an understanding of what each person needs and wants to be successful in the workplace.”

So which is better for your workplace?

While equality has long been standard, equity has highlighted the need to respect employees as individuals with different needs.

How To Support Equity at Work

When you’ve decided to build an equitable workplace, there are a few things you can keep in mind to help guide the process. It’s important to remember (and we’ll reiterate this later) that each situation is different, and your process may look different from your competitor’s, and that’s okay. Build a method that works for your team with your particular resources and goals in mind, and you’re sure to make great strides.

Set Goals

Goal setting is a great way to ensure that your equity plans have the desired outcome. If you don’t know what you want people to do, you won’t know what resources they need to do it.

Goals can be used throughout a DE&I strategy, from the recruiting process to onboarding and training to ongoing employee management and engagement. Set goals for the company, departments, and individual contributors to ensure that everyone knows what they’re working towards.

If you want to take it a step further, build a growing goal plan. People are far more willing to continue down a path if they can celebrate goals along the way. Let’s say you want one of your recruiters to go from doing 3 phone screens a week to doing 25 phone screens a week. Instead of making the goals “Do 25 phone screens a week”, make a plan like:

Do 5 phone screens a week next week.
Get through 10 phone screens a week by two weeks from now.
Complete 15 phone screens a week by three weeks from now.
Do 25 phone screens a week by six weeks from now.

By making goal posts they can reach and giving a timeline to get it done, you’ve built urgency and clear expectations. From here, talk with your recruiters to learn what they may individually need to reach these goals. 

Communicate Clearly and Manage Expectations

Let’s face it: Clear communication and expectations could be a tip on pretty much any list about workplace success. Building an equitable workplace means ensuring that everyone knows what is expected of them and what you can provide.

Communicating clearly from leadership down will foster a culture of transparency that is key to a successful workplace. Clear communication sometimes means sharing bad news or owning up to mistakes. While those moments can be uncomfortable, they lay the groundwork for employees or candidates to communicate their needs throughout the hiring and employment period.

Embrace Personal Needs

To achieve true inclusion and equity, we need to respect that individuals are just that: individual. How can you open the conversation so that people feel welcome and safe enough to share what they need?

It’s easy to say, “Just tell us what you need to be successful, and we’ll help you out!” but many candidates or new employees don’t trust that the intention matches the outreach. So it’s time to walk the walk. If your leadership team is taking time off to attend their kids’ baseball game, share it in Slack! When someone asks for help on something or for a new resource to make their day easier, thank them for being open with you! We have to reinforce these actions to make everyone feel comfortable embracing their own needs and sharing them.

Always Be Open to Learning

The second you pull yourself away from a growth mindset, you will lose steam, and your success will be threatened. So how can you keep learning?

Articles like this one you’re reading are a great starting point. There are also tons of resources out there to help you keep growing and learning.

We recently released a new update to a whitepaper from last year. We realized that while last year’s whitepaper was excellent when it was released, we had seen and learned so much more since then. So we put together a new one!

You can also arrange something like a Development Day at work where employees are encouraged to take time to learn about something they’re interested in. Remember that when we’re faced with topics like equality vs. equity, we have a lot of unlearning to do alongside our learning, but as we grow together, it’s indeed possible to change the work world for the better.

Embrace the Gray

Gone are the days of black and white theories. Equity is built on respecting individuality and understanding personal needs, so we must bring that respect into how we view situations. Oftentimes, there is no distinctly perfect way to apply a theory across all employees, every industry, and every role because we are not a black and white world; we’re a whole lot of gray.

How can you embrace the gray in situations and people? Approach each with the knowledge you carry and empathy and respect for what they bring to the table. Make an effort to understand the context of a situation and dive in with care for individuality and personal needs.

Ultimately, equity is an incredible goal to strive towards, but it often takes time to get it right. It is also a never-ending task. Give yourself and your team the space to learn and grow together with the right goals in mind. Before long, the conversation will transition from “equality vs. equity” to “We’re an equitable workforce. What’s next?”

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The Secret to High Volume Staffing

If your staffing team is facing a significant workload and uncertainty about staying on top of everything, you’re not alone. This mid-year point is a great time to sit down and analyze your current processes. As the second half of the year ramps up, we’re seeing “The Great Resignation” alongside increased workforce needs. So what’s the secret to making your high-volume staffing needs happen? Let’s take a look.

Current Staffing Industry Trends to Note

Increased Revenue and Work

According to SIA, the median temporary staffing revenue increased in May 2021 showing a significant increase across all staffing segments. Hiring needs are growing across the country, and the unemployment rate is starting to fall, with the most recent numbers at 5.8%.

As states are heading full force into the reopening process, the workload will continue to increase as we see more and more companies looking to hire lots of workers.

The Role of Data Health

Data has always played a pivotal role in any high-volume staffing strategy. But we’re starting to see more and more teams focused on quality data rather than just quantity. This is music to our ears!

We recently analyzed billions of data points to get a grip on where the industry is when it comes to data health, and it’s not great.

  • 51% of candidates records had no resumes
  • 1 in 4 records was missing work experience
  • 5% of records contained no contact information

We built HiringSolved to fix the staffing industry’s data problem.

Focused and Dedicated Diversity Hiring

As hiring increases, teams need to appeal to the best talent out there. In a recent survey, it was found that a majority of job seekers consider a company’s dedication to diversity and inclusion when evaluating them as an employer.

Beyond appealing to talent, diverse teams have consistently supported more creativity and innovation and more financial stability.

The Secret to High Volume Staffing

When staffing teams are faced with high volume staffing goals, they need the right tools to provide solutions that support their workflows, increase their productivity, and give them the power they need to become expert Talent Advisors.

So how do the most successful teams make it work? Talent intelligence. The right talent intelligence will serve all of the current industry needs and the growing needs as time goes on.

How Talent Intelligence Supports Staffing Needs

Talent Intelligence is collated and contextualized talent data that gives hiring teams actionable steps and insights to make the best hiring decisions. When used effectively, it’s a foundational tool for high volume staffing success.

As a tool, talent intelligence helps to build resilience, an essential skill needed for success in 2021 and beyond.

When requisitions are increasing, your team needs to be able to count on your internal databases. By implementing the right talent intelligence, they can visualize all of their existing data and pull the insights they need to make the best data-driven decisions.

Data health and talent intelligence go hand-in-hand. When talent data is clean and normalized, automation and machine learning can step in to provide talent intelligence insights. Remember: bringing in technology like automation and machine learning isn’t about replacing recruiters. It’s about supporting workflows that give recruiters hours back in their day.

Talent intelligence can also serve your diversity hiring goals! By understanding your data and the data of the workforce at large, your hiring team can have all the details and information they need to make the best hiring decisions.

We recently worked with a national staffing firm to transform their staffing process with talent intelligence and recruiting automation.

All in all, talent intelligence is key to the success of not only high volume staffing but any hiring needs that your team is faced with. It allows you to increase productivity, decrease operational costs, develop your team into talent advisors, and more to ensure that you stay ahead of the curve, no matter what the industry throws at you.

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