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 They’re ineffective because the data is out-of-date, messy, and unstructured.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 HR.com 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.

Efficiency

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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How to Support LGBTQ+ Candidates

Happy Pride Month! You’ve likely seen the rainbow avatars across social media, but what is your team doing on a deeper level to support LGBTQ+ candidates at every step of the journey? Much like our recent blog post about supporting disabled and neurodiverse candidates, we wanted to look at how you can better support LGBTQ+ candidates.

Being LGBTQ+ at Work

Recent estimates suggest that roughly 5.9% of the US workforce identifies as LGBTQ+. Still, it wasn’t until the 2020 Supreme Court ruling in favor of Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964 for discrimination against LGBTQ+ workers solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity to be prohibited. Previously, LGBTQ+ employees could be fired based on their sexual orientation. (Source) That means that it was only last year that LGBTQ+ workers were protected from discrimination.

Likely because of this lack of protection, the representation of LGBTQ+ leaders, much like other excluded communities, is notoriously low in senior management and higher roles.

Despite recently instated protections, including repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, legalizing spousal benefits through the legalization of same-sex marriage, etc., LGBTQ+ workers still face discrimination, bullying, unsafe work environments, and more. It’s important to remember that every time an LGBTQ+ person starts the job hunt again, they will question whether they will again experience the trauma they’ve experienced in the past. Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to support them and make a stressful time more manageable.

How to Support LGBTQ+ Candidates

Supporting LGBTQ+ candidates starts before someone is a candidate and continues long after they’ve been hired. So we’ve compiled five steps to take, some actionable today and some that will take some time to get right, to get you started on the right foot.

Build Support at All Levels of the Company

Whether through employee resource groups or other support, you must build a culture open to the LGBTQ+ community before hiring. Much like all diversity recruiting, the support must not just exist within the recruiting team. It must be a valued culture pillar from the leadership and down.

Make That Support Clear and Be a Champion for Candidates

When job seekers are looking to apply for a company, they are often looking beyond the position. Instead, they look to the company culture to understand whether they will be accepted and valued for their true self.  

Tailor your employer branding and recruitment marketing strategy to make it clear that your company is a safe and welcoming workplace for LGBTQ+ people. For example, ask current LGBTQ+ employees to share their experiences in videos or blog posts so that incoming candidates can understand the company they’re entering. As Katrina Kibben wrote for ERE, “Instead of outlining benefits, let your team tell the story. Those quotes build trust in a way corporate communications can’t.

You must also be willing to stand up for your LGBTQ+ candidates. How can you, as their recruiter, champion for their value with your hiring managers?

Use Gender-Neutral Language

If you’re looking for a change that you can make today, look no further. Utilizing gender-neutral language is one of the easiest ways to change your recruiting strategy to support LGBTQ+ candidates. One of the most common arguments against using “they/them” is that it’s grammatically incorrect. In fact, that’s not true. The APA recently approved the use of “they” as a singular pronoun, but in actuality, “they” has been used as a singular pronoun for centuries, tracing back to 1375.

So throw those gender-neutral pronouns into your job postings, descriptions, and more! It’s also vital to bring gender-neutral language beyond pronouns. Consider updating maternity leave policies to parental leave policies. When asking your team about their family, use words like “spouse,” “child,” and “parent” until you are confident of the terms they use.

Share Your Pronouns and Respect the Power of Pronouns

Another change you can make today is to add your pronouns publicly to social media profiles, email signatures, and more if you are comfortable. To cite Katrina Kibben once more, “I understand most of us have grown up in cultures where this language and non-binary pronouns haven’t been popular. So now it’s time for education. That means people need to see and hear pronouns more. That means cis-gendered, gender-conforming pronouns on profiles – not just featuring non-conforming pronouns.” They have taken the time to put together a tool to teach you how to add your pronouns to various places on their blog here.

Check people’s profiles to see if they have made their pronouns clear before you speak with them. If not, introduce yourself with yours. That should prompt them to share theirs. Remember that language matters: avoid calling them preferred pronouns, as it’s not a preference; it’s a fact.

If you misgender someone and you’re corrected, thank them for the correction. While it may seem appropriate to apologize, you could be putting them in an uncomfortable position to have to say, “It’s okay,” when in reality, it’s not. So instead, simply say, “Thank you for correcting me!” and move on.

Respect People’s Space and Experiences

Ultimately, everyone is an individual; how are you working with those individuals to give them what they need to succeed? While these tips are a good general overview, it’s important to remember that every individual has different needs and desires. 

Have empathy in your interactions with candidates, listen and care about what they’re sharing. Finally, take time to continue to learn about the experiences of others and learn how you can best support them.

The best businesses are built with the best people. Ultimately, supporting LGBTQ+ candidates is not just good for your business values; it’s a critical part of being a welcoming and inclusive person.

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How Talent Intelligence Makes Reskilling Easy

Two people sitting at a desk smiling at two computers

There’s nothing like a global pandemic and an ensuing financial and jobs crisis to remind you that flexibility is critical. 2020 reminded many recruiting teams that they need to remain flexible and open to learning to stay ahead. Quickly reskilling became a major topic of conversation. To reskill in the world of recruiting and hiring effectively, you’re going to need Talent Intelligence.

What Is Reskilling?

When the work world undergoes strain, employees and leaders are faced with understanding how they can weather the storm. For some, that means hanging on tight to their current position, while others take it as an opportunity to embrace change and look at upskilling or reskilling.

Reskilling is learning new skills to do a different job than one is currently doing, while upskilling is learning new skills to either use at your current job or working towards a promotion. Both reskilling and upskilling are essential facets of talent redeployment or the process of moving employees to a different position depending on needs and skillsets. 

The Business Case for Reskilling and Learning

According to the 2021 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, upskilling and reskilling is the number one L&D priority in 2021. With resilience being so essential this past year, it’s natural that organizations have been looking at how to build that resilience amongst their teams. Upskilling and reskilling for internal mobility are incredibly valuable for that goal.

If you’re looking to increase employee retention, take note. 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. (Source)

Beyond that, retaining and reskilling or upskilling existing employees is a cost-effective way to fill necessary roles. Rather than consistently looking externally to fill positions that existing and qualified employees could fill. On top of that, a culture of learning and development is a key pillar for job seekers when evaluating an employer.

The Power of Talent Intelligence

Talent Intelligence is contextualized data about talent used to make better hiring and business decisions. It’s a significant player in functional and effective recruiting strategies, but don’t discount its power regarding reskilling, upskilling, and talent redeployment. 

A major change we saw in 2020 was recruiters who worked in one industry having to move to another. We’ve heard anecdotes of hospitality recruiters moving into healthcare and technology recruiters moving into customer service. In this redeployment of recruiting skills, the ability to reskill quickly and effectively is key. The recruiters who transitioned from hospitality to healthcare didn’t have months to learn the industry. They needed to rely on accurate data and a keen learning sense to get into the game quickly.

Talent Intelligence provides not just that data but also the context to best understand it. The right talent intelligence tools can show the similarities between an industry’s most common skills, locations, and job titles to help your newest recruiters get up to speed fast. They don’t need to be an industry expert because the system can be the expert for them.

The role of Talent Intelligence doesn’t just end at reskilling. If you have a team of recruiters looking to develop professionally, they must be able to transition from Recruiter to Talent Advisor. Talent Intelligence helps your team better understand the data at their fingertips and how it applies to the world at large. They can take that knowledge into their conversations with leaders and guide the strategic hiring decisions that make a difference.

HiringSolved and Talent Intelligence

We call ourselves a Talent Intelligence platform because we believe that your data plays a more significant role than recruiting. Yes, we make recruiting more manageable. But we also aim to provide contextualized and visual data so that you can make the best business decisions. After all, the success of recruiting affects an entire business, not just the recruiting team. When you can hire better faster, you’re saving money, increasing efficiency across the board, and, likely, generating revenue.

HiringSolved integrates directly with your existing candidate databases to increase the value of that data. Your ATS, CRM, and HRIS are goldmines, but that value is locked away without mining equipment. HiringSolved digs through that data, normalizes it, applies context and machine learning to it, and gives your team the power to make the best recruiting decisions.

One HiringSolved user, a leading staffing company, saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in operational expenses AND increased revenue by $6 million after integrating HiringSolved into their existing data.

Image of an ipad with the text, "See how HiringSolved led this staffing company through a digital transformation to revolutionize their recruiting process in just 60 days."

The conversation around reskilling and upskilling isn’t shifting anytime soon. The only thing that will change is your position as a leader or a follower.

How are you going to reskill your recruiting team to be ready to face whatever they’re dealt?

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7 Steps to an Efficient Recruiting Process

Two women sitting in front of a computer

What makes an efficient recruiting process? Too many recruiting teams are stuck using methods and technologies that don’t support their growing needs. But contrary to a common misconception, teams often don’t need to overhaul their entire operations and tech stacks to make measurable differences.

All it takes is a drive to do better work faster and a few simple steps to build the efficient recruiting process that your team needs to be successful. 

Step One: Adopt a Growth Mindset

We talked recently about adopting a growth mindset when it comes to diversity recruiting, but the same theory applies to your existing recruiting processes. If you or your team find yourself saying, “But that’s how we’ve always done it…” then it’s time for you to get to work.

According to Dr. Carol Dweck, “people with growth mindsets believe that success is determined by effort.” With mindsets often arising from an organization’s culture and messages that leadership shares, leadership can emulate the growth mindset they want to see in their teams to make optimization and growth a standard practice rather than a stressful change.

Step Two: Audit Your Existing Process

You can’t grow if you don’t know where you are. Start by asking, “Why do we do things this way?” Be open to critique and foster a safe and inclusive environment where everyone feels open to delivering feedback in a kind and productive way. The key to a successful auditing process is honesty and transparency across the board!

Understanding the triumphs and pitfalls of your existing recruiting process or tech stack allows you to optimize the areas that must be optimized and continue efforts in the already successful ones.

While your team is incredible at communicating, you may find that they need help with using their internal data. Focus on bringing in the right tech to help and let them continue to excel at working with candidates.

Step Three: Build Structured and Repeatable Systems

Does your team have a structured and repeatable process for recruiting, or is it a guessing game every time they get a new requisition? Setting clear expectations of what needs to get done will help your recruiters manage their work more efficiently and provide candidates and applicants with the transparency they crave for a positive experience.

Repeatable processes can also minimize errors and make sure that everyone is treated fairly. While it may take some time to build suitable structures, the effort is worth it for higher efficiency, better transparency, and equal treatment.

Don’t forget: Get input from hiring managers! How often do they want to be communicated with? What should the interview process look like? Getting their input and guiding them with your team’s expertise brings collaboration and promotes the talent advisor role your recruiters deserve.

Step Four: Bring in Quality Automation Where You Can

You’re likely already using automation, but are you using it well?

The best foundation for automation is quality data. Make sure that your data is normalized and structured to use automation to the best of its ability. Automation and machine learning can be used in tons of places throughout your process, including sourcing and scoring.  

We explored how to use machine learning to read and then search through millions of data points in seconds.

Remember that you can also use automation in more unexpected ways like automated pipeline building and internal mobility. Don’t be afraid to try new things…that’s what the growth mindset is for!

Step Five: Track Metrics Regularly

Do your recruiters know what success looks like? Are they able to easily track their metrics and understand where they may need extra support? By prioritizing what metrics are most important to your team, recruiters can focus their efforts on those metrics.

If possible, have recruiters review each requisition to see where they succeeded, where they’d like to grow, and share what tools they may need.

Step Six: Communicate, Communicate, and…Did We Mention? Communicate!

Automation systems make sending updates to candidates a breeze so, if your team hasn’t already, enlist their help! But it’s not just candidates that should be communicated with for an efficient process. While candidate communication needs to be a vital part of any recruiting strategy, communication amongst the hiring team is also critical.

Regular updates build stronger relationships, aligns expectations, and increases engagement.

Work together with the hiring team to decide on the best communication plans. Then, stick to the plan. Reaching a compromise between everyone’s needs and abilities to build a strategy may take some back and forth, but the planning will save time in the long run.

Step Seven: Reassess and Grow

When you’ve found a recruiting workflow that helps your team hit their goals and get people hired, it’s natural to stick to it. And you should! But schedule regular times to check in on the process. Whether it’s once a quarter or once a year, keep an eye on what’s working and what’s not.

Remember that growth mindset you’ve built! Ask the tough questions and look at the results to find what’s working and what’s not. Working directly with your recruiting team to learn about the roadblocks they’re facing and where they’ve felt successful will also help to continue your team’s growth! 

Building an efficient recruiting process is more like running on a track than racing towards a finish line. With the role of near-constant optimization and growth, it can feel like you’re running in circles. As you get stronger and more efficient, each lap will get easier and easier. Before long, your team will become the successful industry leaders you know they are.

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What You Need To Be a Talent Advisor

Two people looking at a computer and smiling

As a recruiter or recruiting leader, how can you do good work and progress in your professional development?

Making the shift to a talent advisor mindset requires not just the skills you’ve honed over your career. You need two tools that, when partnered with your experience, will make you indispensable.

What is a Talent Advisor?

While the term “talent advisor” has been around for a while, the massive shift in the world thanks to all that 2020 entailed has brought the need for this role into the spotlight. Recruiting Toolbox defines a Talent Advisor best.


“Talent Advisor (noun): A strategic recruiting professional who delivers value beyond filling jobs.  At their core, talent advisors are strategic influencers who see the company as their customer, the hiring manager as their partner, and speed, quality, and diversity as their measures of success.”

Recruiting Toolbox

Taking on the role of a Talent Advisor means doing more than filling pipelines. The word “strategic” in that definition is key. The goal of a Talent Advisor is to be a partner in the strategic decision-making in a team’s recruiting operations. 

Taking on this Talent Advisor role allows you to play a role in guiding the industry as a whole through strategic interactions with hiring managers and partners. So how do you make this transition happen?

What You Need To Be a Talent Advisor

You’ve likely got years of recruiting experience supporting you. You just need a bit more to make the transition to talent advisor – clean and structured data and talent intelligence.

The Power of Structured Data

We talked recently about the dangers of duplicate data, but let’s dive even deeper. While you move into an advisory role, you need accurate data to support any claims or initiatives you spearhead.

Let’s say you have a hiring manager who wants to hire 10 female forklift drivers in Omaha. By utilizing your structured candidate data, you see only 7 female forklift drivers with the required qualifications. With that data in mind, you can go back to the hiring manager with those numbers and some suggestions for how the requisition could be updated to reflect the availability of candidates. Maybe you can work together to adjust the must-have requirements, or you can expand your geographical area to increase the candidate pool. 

The right tools can also help you to contextualize your internal data to the industry as a whole.

Ultimately, caring for the data you and your team have worked exceptionally hard to collect allows you to leverage your skills alongside that data to support your transformation.

The Role of Talent Intelligence

Having the data on your talent is just the first step in this transition! You need to collate and contextualize that information, and that is where talent intelligence comes in. Talent intelligence gives you the power to take those numbers and contextualize them into strategies, goals, and processes. It makes that data actionable. 

Our recent whitepaper, From Liability to Asset: Optimize Your ATS and CRM for 2021, outlines how to optimize legacy recruiting software to bring talent intelligence to your hard-won data.

As we move into a world of internal mobility and reskilling talent intelligence’s importance will continue to grow.

With structured data, talent intelligence, and your recruiting skills, there is nothing that will stand in your way of becoming an exceptional Talent Advisor and changing the way recruiting is done for the better!

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The Danger in Duplicate Data

Data-driven recruiting strategies are more likely to reduce hiring costs and often result in better hiring decisions, but what happens if your talent acquisition data is less than optimal? Nearly 30% of company leaders say they aren’t sure how accurate their internal data is. Our internal research shows that duplicate data is a far bigger problem than teams think it is.

Why is Duplicate Data So Bad?

It’s simple: The more duplicate data your team is gathering, the more time and money that is being spent collecting unnecessary data. If you already have it, why are you going out to gather it?

While the logic is simple, how duplicate data happens is rife with legacy software problems and inefficiencies. 

How Does Duplicate Data Happen?

If I asked you how many candidate profiles are in your database, could you give me an exact number? While most teams can give a general idea, without accurate insight and analytics into your data, you probably can’t give that exact number. In fact, according to an HR.com survey, 24% of respondents stated that their ATS doesn’t have good reporting/analytics functionality.

The visibility of data is an integral part of data hygiene. To put it simply: If you don’t know what you have, you don’t know what you need. Searching an internal database like an ATS or CRM is more trouble for many teams than it’s worth. Some of our users have said that on top of not searching quickly, search results have also been inaccurate because their data is messy and incomplete.

Because of this lack of visibility, it’s completely natural that recruiting teams simply don’t turn to their internal data when a requisition comes in.

But here’s why that’s a problem…

HiringSolved’s internal data shows 40-60% of all who will apply already exist in your ATS before a job is posted. So when recruiters look externally first, they end up duplicate sourcing candidates losing time and money in the process. On top of that, 44% of recruiting teams use more than just an ATS, meaning that disjointed and siloed databases make searching internal data even more complicated.

We go over how an unstructured and messy ATS could be more of a liability than an asset even though it holds millions of dollars worth of recruiting effort in our report, From Liability to Asset: Optimize Your ATS and CRM for 2021.

The Role of Talent Acquisition Data Normalization and Re-Engagement

Data normalization may sound overwhelming, but the concept is actually pretty simple. Data normalization is when data within a database is restructured and cleaned up to be usable and efficient. Cleaning up duplicate talent acquisition data through normalization gives you a more accurate representation of what you’re working with internally and helps you make better hires faster.

How many times have you wondered what sort of data is in your system? Do you know how many candidates you have ready and waiting to be contacted? 

By normalizing and cleaning up your data, you can actually use it.

Upon seeing our Data Quality Report of their internal database before integration, we recently had a client who learned that over half of their candidates had no resume saved in their ATS. Our client’s initial reaction was to completely delete and purge them because they didn’t see any value in incomplete profiles. We had a different idea.

Our team suggested that they reach out to those candidates and request their resumes as a re-engagement campaign. Since then, our client has made quality hires directly from that campaign.

Re-engagement is often the unsung hero of recruiting. Your internal database is filled with people who have already expressed interest in your company. Still, all too often, that info is locked away and impossible actually to source from effectively. 

Bringing structure and visibility to your data allows you to make conscious and strategic decisions to better use it.

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Which Comes First: Diversity or Inclusion?

Group of white people sitting around a table talking to each other

When companies begin to implement diversity initiatives, they often ask whether they should focus on diversity or inclusion.

While it may seem like a natural progression to move from one to the other, the more lasting way to success is a little different.

Where We’re At

In our report, The Current State of Diversity Recruiting, we surveyed team members from 150 organizations. Our goal was to learn more about where their organization landed on our diversity recruiting maturity model.

While we didn’t expect everyone to be a leader in the space, it was surprising to see the reality.

Click to download The Current State of Diversity Recruiting!

When prompted with, “Our senior executives understand the strategic importance of recruiting and building a diverse workforce.” Only 23% of respondents shared that their executives had a strong understanding.

When stating, “Our onboarding program is designed to make all diverse new employees feel valued, welcomed, and included.” Only 40% said that their onboarding program did a little bit to welcome diverse employees. Nearly 28% of respondents said, no, their onboarding program was not inclusively designed.

The takeaway: While many companies and teams have realized that diversity is a critical tenet of their success, too few have taken the needed steps to make it a reality.

Which Comes First: Diversity or Inclusion?

First, we need to define diversity and inclusion. Diversity, inclusion, equity, belonging, and more aren’t just buzzwords. They each have a set of definitions as well as a set of theories behind them. We’ve shared the full definitions previously on the blog here, but let’s review.

Diversity is the practice or quality of including or involving people from various social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.

Inclusion is the act of being included within a group or structure. 

So which comes first…?

Well…neither. We often make the mistake of thinking about diversity and inclusion efforts as a checklist; first, we do this, then we’ll do this, then we’ll do this, etc. “Diversity” or “inclusion” is not something that you finish. It’s an ongoing process and journey that requires effort, strategy, and intentional effort.

Quote image that reads, "Diversity and Inclusion is an ongoing process and journey that requires effort, strategy, and intentional effort."

In reality, the entire process is based on a mindset of interconnectivity. Khalil Smith, the Vice President of Consulting at the NeuroLeadership Institute, shared in a 2020 Forbes article, “You should start with mindset;…Part of why growth mindset is so important as the first building block of a diversity and inclusion strategy can be boiled down to the axiom “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” What it means in the D&I space is that you are who you are, and nothing is going to change that. That sentiment is poison to diversity and inclusion efforts.” (Source)

We have to believe that we can change, grow, and transform our cultures to be better. Smith goes on to suggest that once you have perfected your mindset, you can more comfortably turn your attention to inclusion “Because diversity without inclusion is a revolving door of talent.  Great people come, they get ignored, become disenfranchised, and they leave.”

The Power of Interconnectivity

While it’s always possible to prioritize one initiative, it’s important to remember that successful diversity and inclusion efforts focus on growth and connection.

Each initiative affects the others. Diversity provides the ability to build inclusive cultures. Inclusive cultures grow belonging, which leads to welcoming diverse applicants and candidates. Those involved need to understand how their actions contribute to diversity, inclusion/belonging, equity, and more.

How are you building a fully-fledged and connected workplace?
How does recruiting fit into that process?

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