The data doesn’t lie – the importance of data-driven recruitment

Thinking back to when I first started in recruitment, some 10 years ago now, I was naive to say the least.  I was very much in awe of my unbelievably experienced colleagues who made it all look so easy.  They worked with such flair, they were captivating and they were relentless, everything good recruiters are.  Most importantly, they had great success – they found countless candidates great jobs with really reputable companies in the local area.  I found myself firmly on the ‘recruitment is an art, not a science’ side of the fence, thinking there’s no way I could learn all this. However, I stuck with it and have spent years trying to hone my recruitment craft with successes and many, many, ‘learning experiences’ (I refuse to see anything as a failure…) 

It’s only when I moved into an internal recruiter role with Leigh Academies Trust and began line managing team members that, after being asked regularly about what activity they should be doing to find good teachers and support staff, I had to start giving definitive answers rather than ‘just keep trying everything and something will work’. Running many training sessions on recruitment during my time, I always open any presentations with data and facts to set the scene and give wider context.  

After a while, when I was well into the swing of the academic-year routine, I could see clear patterns in the volume and type of vacancies that would be coming up throughout the year.  I started to feel better prepared year on year and, having started tracking all recruitment activity and trends on a trusty spreadsheet, I realised my recruitment approach was becoming more data-based than my initial ‘arty’ approach. As a team, we strive to offer a proactive recruitment service to our academies and partner organisations, and that relies on a lot of data, trends, and numbers.  

Whilst I never want to reduce people down to a number or a statistic, data really does drive an effective recruitment service BUT, only on the condition that you have the drive, passion and commitment of a recruitment team and hiring managers to make the data part come to fruition.  So, if you’re a candidate, next time you hit ‘apply’ for a job of ours, know that we’re really keen to understand where you saw the job advertised, how long it took you to apply, why you applied for the job and about your background.  Recruiters are nosey, by nature, and this pays off when entrusted to find great candidates for Leigh Academies Trust – we want to get to know you!