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Data-Driven Recruiting: What it is and How to Use it for Hiring

Explore how data-driven recruiting transforms hiring with effective strategies for identifying top talent efficiently.


$4,700 and over 44 days of lost productivity: according to the latest data from SHRM HR benchmarking, each empty desk will cost you.

When hiring decisions are based more on intuition than data, organizations are unable to do the following things:

  • Identify the true top performers among a flood of applicants
  • Gain visibility into which sourcing channels work best
  • Fine-tune selection methods that yield the best hires
  • Optimize hiring processes, frustrating candidates and hiring managers alike

This leads to two core problems: wrong hires, which cost $17,000 per employee, and an even longer, more expensive hiring process. 

So, if you don't take action now, guesswork will plunge your business into a hiring and rehiring cycle. 

To handle this, staffing agencies, startups, SMBs, and healthcare firms are using data-driven recruitment. Let’s look at what that is, its benefits, and how you can get started. 

What is data-driven recruiting?

Data-driven recruitment is an approach that takes in data and metrics, analyzes them to draw insights, and then applies those insights to improve your existing recruiting process.  

Data-driven recruiting seeks to give answers to fundamental questions such as:

  • Which channels yield high-quality candidates?
  • How long does it usually take to fill a position, and what is slowing us down?
  • What is the ROI for different recruitment activities and channels?
  • How diverse is our candidate pool compared to the available talent market?
  • Which aspects influence someone to accept our offer or stay with us for a long time?

To respond to these questions, you need to gather a wide range of metrics from applicant tracking systems such as Kula ATS, human resource information systems (HRIS), candidate relationship management (CRM) tools, or specialized interview/assessment software, among other sources.

Data-driven recruitment: Some common metrics

Some examples of common recruiting metrics include:

  • Time-to-fill: Total number of days it takes for a role to open up to offer acceptance.
  • Applicant-to-hire ratio: It’s derived by dividing the number of hires made over a certain period by the total number of applicants received for a given position
  • Source of hire: This refers to percentages showing where successful candidates were sourced from. 
  • Cost-per-hire: All costs incurred during recruitment divided by the number of employees recruited within a set timeframe
  • Quality-of-hire: Measures how well new employees perform their duties based on productivity levels while working there, but it could also involve engagement or retention rates

Benefits of data-driven recruiting with an ATS like Kula 

Yes, implementing data-driven recruiting requires initial effort. Establishing processes can have a learning curve and potential up-front costs, but the investment is worth it! 

Let's go over the benefits you can expect to enjoy with data-driven recruiting via an AI-driven, all-in-one platform like Kula ATS:

Improves quality of hire 

Good quality hires drive business results. But how do you know if you’re hiring the best employees? This is where the numbers come into play. 

You can track key metrics like the percentage of top performers, turnover rates, and ramp-up time by source to identify the people who have made you the most money, stuck around for the longest, and fetched the highest ROI. With that information, all you now need to track is how you found these hires and what you did differently with them compared to others.

Kula ATS provides job-specific dashboards that show all essential recruitment metrics in one place, such as: 

  • Percentage of high achievers
  • Turnover rates
  • Time taken to achieve full productivity 

It tracks down the source of good hires as well, revealing which talent pools yield the highest-quality hires.

This way, you can tell who’s doing well at your company and where you hired them from, creating repeatable processes for hiring similar people in the future. 

For instance, If you need sales representatives, Kula ATS can reveal that referrals have 20% more quota attainment and 25% less turnover than candidates from job boards. This would tell you to redirect your effort into getting referred applicants while reducing investment in advertising for jobs through boards. 

Finding out who your top performers are is just half of the job—you need a data-driven hiring process that ensures only the most promising candidates are chosen. 

Kula ATS comes with advanced resume parsing and structured interviews. 

  • Advanced resume parsing: Instead of relying only on keyword matching ability, you can scrutinize resumes with the help of AI to find the qualifications that suit the open roles the most. 

  • Structured interviews with scorecards: You can also provide hiring managers with pre-designed scoring rubrics aimed at promoting consistency that assesses different candidates against the same criteria repeatedly. 

Decreases time-to-fill rates and total expenditure per hire

Data is key to streamlining your hiring process, saving you both time and money. Instead of guessing what works, use analytics to identify bottlenecks quickly. 

Kula ATS generates detailed reports on cost-per-hire, time spent at each stage, and source effectiveness, giving you the insights to optimize your recruitment and make smarter hiring decisions.

If your engineering roles take an average of 45 days to fill, and interviews are the main bottleneck, it's time to streamline your interview process. 

  • Train hiring personnel to gather what they need within fewer interview rounds.
  • Introduce take-home coding tests meant to assess technical acumen before face-to-face meetings.
  • One-way interviews to save you/the hiring manager the hassle of scheduling many in-person meetings.

As far as costs go, Kula offers detailed information about the price of hiring per source. This allows you to see which channels are giving you more for your money. 

For example, let’s say candidates from your university events have a 50% lower cost-per-hire than those from staffing agencies. You could use this data to justify a larger campus recruiting budget next year. Kula keeps tabs on your spending in every category—from job board contracts to background checks—so you can pinpoint and cut unnecessary costs and redirect that money into ROI-inducing recruiting efforts. 

  • With Kula's automated workflows, you can set up actions like sending assessment links or scheduling interviews as soon as candidates hit certain milestones. 
  • With the platform’s predictive analytics, you can project when open roles will likely be filled based on your historical data. This allows you to set realistic expectations with hiring managers.

Enhances candidate experience

Creating an exceptional candidate experience is important because it helps attract highly skilled employees and cements your reputation as an employer of choice. However, this is not all that it does. 

The candidate experience directly affects hiring success rates. 

For instance, if applicants struggle to complete online applications due to complexity or inefficiency, many may drop off before finishing. You’ve lost talent before even starting the application process.

Kula ATS solves this problem by providing a mobile-friendly application process that allows candidates to fill out application forms with a few clicks on their smartphones.

  • The platform also keeps candidates engaged throughout the recruitment process with its other features, like automated interview scheduling and personalized communication features. 
  • You can set up a survey to get real-time feedback so you know where the candidate experience needs improving. 
  • Kula ATS’s out-of-box branded career page builders let you showcase your culture without eating into your marketing team’s time or taking months of execution. 

Supports strategic workforce planning

High-growth companies need workforce planning, but hiring is often reactive here instead of proactive. You’re scrambling to fill positions at the last minute, and you’re rejecting applications that you’re going to need a few months down the line. 

This is chaotic and leads to making bad hires and incurring higher than necessary costs to hire. 

Kula ATS brings you a hiring plan dashboard showing how many roles are needed for every department or location and monitors progress toward those numbers. It integrates with your HRIS, so it's always up-to-date with the organization's structure and headcount.

For instance, if you set a sales personnel target of hiring 50 people by the end of the third quarter, Kula ATS can tell you how likely you will reach this goal on time. If it is unlikely, it will prompt you to intensify your sourcing methods instead of leaving you scrambling to meet goals with the wrong hires at the very last second.  

Supports diversity goals

Creating a diverse and inclusive team is a top priority for most organizations today. Data can help pinpoint areas for improvement as well as measure the impact of diversity initiatives. Kula ATS offers diversity dashboards that track gender, race/ethnicity, and veteran status by stage in your hiring funnel.

It’s easy with Kula ATS to remain compliant with EEOC & OFCCP reporting to meet all legal requirements. Here’s how:

  • Anonymized screening: To combat unconscious bias at the earliest stage of the selection process, Kula allows you to hide certain identifying information (such as name, gender, or age) from recruiters until after they have reviewed an applicant’s qualifications.

  • Objective assessments: Kula offers pre-employment tests and interview questions that are scientifically validated for predicting job performance—regardless of a candidate’s background or demographic characteristics.

  • Data-driven decision-making: Our analytics dashboard provides real-time visibility into the demographic breakdown of your candidate pool at each stage in the hiring funnel, so you can see where drop-offs are occurring and take corrective actions if necessary.

Getting started with data-driven recruiting with Kula ATS 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can start being data-driven when recruiting using Kula ATS.

  1. Identify key recruiting metrics for success

There are dozens of potential metrics that could be tracked within recruitment. However, not all of them are equally relevant or actionable for every company. In order not to get lost in numbers, concentrate on those few KPIs (key performance indicators) that correspond to your specific business objectives and reflect your hiring needs.

At large, most recruiting metrics fall into three categories:

  • Speed: How fast are candidates moving through my hiring process? Some important metrics that answer this include:some text
    • Time to hire: Total time from job posting until offer accepted
    • Time to fill: Total time from job posting until candidate starts working
    • Time per stage: Average number of days spent by applicants at each stage of the funnel

  • Quality: What’s the performance level among those hired compared to other applicants? Look at things like:some text
    • Application completion rate: Percentage of started applications that were submitted
    • Offer acceptance rate: Percentage of offers accepted by candidates
    • 90-day retention rate: Percentage of new hires still employed after three months
    • First-year retention rate: Percentage of new hires still employed after 12 months
    • Hiring manager satisfaction: Subjective evaluation of satisfaction with hires brought on board

  • Cost: How much does attracting, engaging, and hiring talent cost me? The metrics here include:some text
    • Cost per hire
    • Recruitment funnel efficiency 

With  Kula ATS, you can easily stay on top of these metrics using built-in reports and dashboards. 

To identify which metrics matter most within your company, consider what is suffering now and what matters going forward. 

  1. Set up Kula ATS for success

Once you know which data points are relevant, your next move should be to ensure that the system can capture that information. Kula is highly configurable and works with unique hiring processes. 

  • Customize the stages to match real-life steps. For example, create new stages like “take home assessment” or “reference check.” 

  • Create candidate status corresponding to various phases such as screening, interviewing, and accepting or rejecting offers. This way, pipeline visualizations will show where people are at any given moment in the recruitment cycle.

  • Disposition reasons can also be modified according to specific needs, such as “overqualified,” “failed background check,” or “no-show,” so that you can easily filter reports when needed.

You can also set up Kula’s automated actions and notifications to keep your process moving smoothly. For example, suppose a candidate does not finish their application within 48 hours. In that case, you can make Kula automatically send them a follow-up email or notify the hiring manager of an applicant who meets specific criteria.

  1. Train your team on how to capture clean data inputs

However well-designed a system may be, it is only as good as its data quality. This means that training should cover best practices for data hygiene when training the recruitment staff.

Here are some points to note:

  • Always log candidate interactions in real time, don’t wait until the end of the day/week. 
  • Use the same naming conventions and data formats across all users.
  • Avoid free-form text fields where possible. Instead, use standardized dropdown menus or checkboxes so people can easily select options without typing anything out. Typos might creep in and skew results later.

  1. Schedule regular reviews of recruiting dashboards

Once you have defined your metrics, configured your workflow, and trained your team—it is time to start seeing results from data-driven recruitment. However, if you don’t act up this data, there’s no value in having it.

This is where real-time dashboards come into play. Kula ATS has several pre-built dashboards that allow users to see key metrics at a glance. Users can also customize dashboards to see only what they want to see. 

To get the most out of these dashboards, host sessions where recruiting teams can review them with key stakeholders. This will help them identify trends, discuss insights, and brainstorm potential process optimizations for better results. 

For instance, when you realize that the time it takes to fill engineering roles is much longer than in other departments, you can analyze the data and find out why. 

Are there not enough qualified applicants? Is it because your technical assessment takes too long? Are the hiring managers delaying feedback provision? 

By identifying what exactly causes this delay, you can create interventions specifically targeting speed enhancement.

  1. Keep reiterating the process

Data-driven recruitment should be approached with an attitude of continuous improvement.

Kula ATS allows users to easily experiment with different strategies and gauge their strengths through evaluation against set objectives. 

As you implement changes based on your data, monitor your metrics closely to see if they have the desired effect. If not, feel free to pivot and try something else. The beauty of data-driven recruiting is that you can make decisions based on evidence rather than guesswork.

Over time, this iterative approach will help you fine-tune your recruitment engine and achieve better outcomes with less effort. Certain sourcing channels or assessment methods consistently outperform others, allowing you to double down on what works and eliminate what doesn't.

To learn more about how Kula ATS can redefine your hiring process, book a demo today!

Sandra Rachel Oommen

Content Marketer

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