From kicking the duvet off to entering the office, think of the sheer number of data-driven decisions that you consciously make every day.

Whether that’s finding the quickest commute on Citymapper, predicting the weather, or your FitBit reminding you to get back to the gym. Data is supporting your decisions.

If we’ve moved past sticking a finger in the air to determine the weather, why are we still leading with our guts in recruitment?

In 2019, “average recruitment” won’t have a place, and we see more agencies using this as a reason to invest in performance analytics.

Almost seven years ago when we introduced cube19, we wanted to equip agencies with insightful data to scale, optimise and profit their business. They weren’t ready.

Back then, our most significant barrier was convincing non-analytic minded owners to change the way they had always achieved success. We had to convince them that the intelligent use of data was the fastest avenue to optimised growth.

Today we’re not having the same conversations. As an industry, recruitment might have been slow to bring data and analytics into the fold, but recruitment businesses now fully understand the potential.

Improved motivation. Better performance. Company-wide understanding. Actionable reports. Quicker decisions and ultimately, growth with confidence.

Changing Success

When you walk into a casino in Vegas, that $15 roulette table doesn’t meet you by chance – insights drawn from data have mapped that floor down to the last slot machine.

Recruitment owners will be looking to step ahead in 2019, and this means optimising every aspect of the company. That includes consultant performance, the clients you’re working with, candidate placements and the recruitment process.

But, how do you identify where your success comes from and where you should be implementing change? How do you continue to measure that change and connect it to your bottom line?

Traditionally, key performance indicators (KPIs) were the governing force behind success and used as a whipping aid by management. However, they are usually anchored to activity and don’t work back from delivery like they should.

How many calls are being made, what are your ratios, and how much activity is in your pipeline. The measuring stick also happened to be plotted against previous activity logged – more often than not – by those that weren’t performing.

When KPIs are used solely as enforcement to manage, they’re unlikely to improve consultants at ground level as they could.

Recently, we’ve been witnessing a reaction from agencies to throw the baby out with the bathwater and completely remove KPIs altogether. Targets aren’t the problem in recruitment, measuring against the wrong activity and how that’s communicated back is.

How many Monday stand-ups suggest that the pipeline is moving forward because a consultant has “loads going on”? Analytics is there to qualify that pipeline activity.

Which deals are likely to come to fruition, which candidates are reliable and where should your activity and spend be focussed?

We regularly see clients that add the most revenue receiving the most focus, despite them not being the most profitable avenue. If you can say why you’re doing something and support it, then you can win business, justify your activity and deliver with confidence.

We had a client that told us cube19 justified its cost off the back of one meeting. Simply being able to show how they use data intelligently to secure delivery and improve performance, secured them a big-hitting client on an exclusive contract.

Recruitment is about relationships, but running a recruitment business is a science and shouldn’t be driven from the gut.

Communicate Success

Your consultants are the ones that can affect positive change quickest. Instead of retaining information at a management level, agencies need to equip those that have the power to do the most with it.

A culture of fear around KPIs won’t motivate your team to outperform or retain talent – certainly not in the same way that incentivising them or encouraging their understanding will.

These are two fundamental assets that cube19 use to drive performance. Engagement is dramatically improved by simply gamifying the data entry process with visible leaderboards.

As fee earners, your consultants will see how their activity is personally contributing to the agency’s growth and understand their value and position. We want everyone to understand the “why” in what they’re doing.

The owner of a company probably doesn’t appreciate the legwork in compiling a financial report that the CFO will. If a consultant isn’t aware of how accurate and consistent data entry is going to benefit them, then they’re less inclined to proactively log it.  

cube19 is there to communicate with transparency how data benefits everyone. From increasing how much consultants bill to enabling analysts with custom-built reports from a few clicks.

People are expecting more from technology than ever. Generation-now have a growing appetite for real-time delivery, which means agencies and recruiters want everything quicker and easier.

Businesses want to customise reports and access information as and when they need the answers. They don’t want to wait, and in 2019 this is what we’ll continue to see. Recruitment is accelerating, and that means businesses need to streamline their processes.

Optimise Before You Hire

Too many agencies are attaching business growth to increasing headcount and not enough to where it matters. Tripling your headcount within a year doesn’t necessarily mean your profit will mirror that. It might even move your bottom line in the opposite direction.

Growth analytics and platforms like cube19, focus on optimising the workforce you already have so that you have the foundations in place to then grow.

If you’re pouring money into a company with a hole in the bottom, then you’re working against yourself.

From all the conversations we’ve been having with recruitment owners and industry leaders, we know that attracting and retaining talented consultants remains a primary challenge. In reality, talent attraction, retention, and optimisation are all connected.

If you optimise the performance of your consultants, then there’s a chain reaction in how much they bill and how much they’re rewarded. This will drive the company’s performance and make it a more attractive place to work.

Understanding your Clients

We recently surveyed the industry and found that most agencies are using data, but that they aren’t using it at board level, they don’t necessarily trust it and it’s anchored to KPIs.

Growth analytics is about more than KPIs. It’s there to optimise businesses by identifying the clients that you should be working with and the candidates that you’re most likely to place.

I can say confidently that a lot of consultants aren’t working enough with their best clients, because they’re looking at the headline figures around revenue.

Would you be better allocating your resources to a client you’re using less but has a 30% fee, a good relationship, and a 100% fill rate?

Contingency recruitment doesn’t come with a guarantee, which is why you need to increase your odds by knowing which candidates will accept a placement and which clients you’ll work best with.

Partnering with Technology

One of the biggest revelations from last year’s report was that agencies were making decisions with historical data, manually and didn’t know what to do with their reports.

Data is a depreciating asset that is most valuable when used in real-time. If you’re sitting on data without actioning it, then you’ll always be missing opportunities. We built our platform with this in mind – to cater to the technically challenged and the analyst.

We are seeing an increasing amount of data analysts within agencies spending most of their time building and delivering reports. Their time is much better spent analysing those reports and providing actionable insights from them. It’s why analysts quickly went from our biggest barrier to cube19’s most prominent advocates.

There are so many great providers in the industry that are innovating with data and technology to streamline the recruitment process. CloudCall, SourceBreaker, Volcanic are just a handful of examples, and they all share one important consideration.

Before you invest in technology, you need to think about how you will connect with your other core systems and the ability to integrate information effectively.

Data-Driven Gut Decisions

As we move forward, we expect to see agencies becoming increasingly scientific in how they approach recruitment and stepping away from making decisions solely with their guts. Agencies that look introspectively to optimise their current teams will likely overtake those that focus on driving headcount and revenue.



Originally published in The Global Recruiter, September 2018, Issue 193