This article originally appeared in the Graduate Recruiter

Impressions, click-through rates, dwell time, engagement rates, social reach, applications, attribution modelling, A/B testing, cost-per-hire. Today recruiters have unfettered access to data. But just because it’s out there, doesn’t mean you should be measuring all of it.

Einstein sums it up best. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Effective attraction strategies measure and analyse the right data, then refine their approach based on the results. But how is this achieved?

​Identify your goals

Before you dive into the data deluge, ask yourself: ‘what do I want to achieve?’ Setting ambitious, yet realistic, goals for your attraction strategies will help you decide what you should and shouldn’t be measuring. Be it a reduction in media spend to focus on a direct sourcing model, reducing time to hire, increasing quantity of applications, or improving the quality of hire (this should be a given!), you need to determine what your primary goals are.

​Get to first base

With your objectives defined, what has to be measured to optimise your strategy? A ready-made example for the importance of measuring the right data can be seen in baseball. Depicted in the film Moneyball, the Oakland Athletics turned accepted practice on its head to rival opponents with far greater resources than their own. Instead of trusting the scout’s eye, the team’s General Manager Billy Beane hired data analyst Peter Brand. Between them, they determined that on-base percentage (a measure of how often a batter reaches base) was the best indicator of scoring runs and, ultimately, winning games. Using this statistic, they recruited players that other teams had overlooked. The result was a record-breaking winning streak of 20 games and a place in the end-of-season play-off finals.

What then, is your equivalent of the on-base percentage? In reality, the right data exists across different channels. If your marketing collateral sits in a variety of places, your first port of call should be to determine what your level of spend is across your attraction platforms, and what the most prolific sources of applications and hires are. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll quickly be able to see what’s working and what’s not from a media perspective, allowing you to refine your strategy – and budget - accordingly.

​Put it into action

Global electronic systems company, Thales, have benefitted enormously from switching to a model that focuses on measuring the right data, and acting on it. “We understand the importance of measuring the key elements of our attraction strategy,” says Miranda Davies, Emerging Talent Director, Thales. “Working with AIA Worldwide, we have identified the data that really matters. We’ve also attributed applications and hires to particular media collateral. This has enabled us to be more efficient with our budgets, and helped us achieve a 53% reduction in media spend whilst still being able to fill our roles with quality candidates.”

Another client, a global investment bank, wanted to recruit graduates to work in finance. By analysing all the necessary data points, they reduced their media spend considerably, but the real benefits were realised in their recruitment statistics: total hires increased by 69% and cost per hire fell by 71%. The amount of applications per hire was also significantly reduced by 23%. These numbers demonstrate that a smarter approach can lead to more quality candidates at a fraction of the cost.

​Test and learn

Whatever your overarching goals, your careers website plays an integral part in the recruitment cycle. It’s the fulcrum which is fed by the rest of your marketing arsenal. So if your candidates are going to apply for your roles, they’ll need to find their way there and be compelled by what they discover. This is an area that’s been explored extensively with Thales. “For our careers website, we’ve used techniques such as heat mapping and web analytics to enhance the candidate experience,” adds Davies.

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers when analysing the performance of your careers website. While all the figures tell a different story, there is rarely a substitute for qualitative feedback. User-test your site: does it deliver what your candidates want to see? At AIA Worldwide, we recently conducted some guerilla user testing on one of our clients’ careers sites, and the results – as well as turning up some very interesting observations - have led to significant improvements. If you do decide to explore an update or alteration to your site, it’s important to A/B test these changes and see how they perform before making a decision.

​360° view

Not everything happens online. There are also efficient ways to measure your impact on campus, as evidenced by Thales’ approach. “We measure all activity to help gain stakeholder buy-in, both from other countries and internally, where engineers require the approval from their managers to take part in recruitment activities,” continues Davies. “We’ve launched dedicated microsites for student registration and captured data on campus on iPads. We glean as much information as possible at every stage to ensure that any follow up communication is tailored to the individual.”

The world of metrics can be a daunting one. But it doesn’t have to be. By having a clear vision for exactly what you want to achieve, you can isolate the data you should measure to attain those goals. Remember, just because you can measure it, doesn’t mean you should.

Director of Digital Strategy

Nathan helps organisations optimise their recruitment marketing strategies by leveraging technology, creativity and data. In his role at employer marketing agency AIA Worldwide, Nathan has played pivotal roles in developing content marketing and social media strategies for large multinational corporations, as well as being a driving force behind a number of careers website projects and hiring strategies powered by the agency’s proprietary automated recruitment marketing software, TalentBrew. Catch him on Twitter, where he tweets all things digital marketing, branding and tech.