By Jessica Miller-Merrell

As we move towards big data and recruiting analytics to better help us determine when, where and the how of recruiting, one would argue that the business of recruiting is based on science and hard facts. We use metrics and data to measure our recruiting and hiring success. We evaluate our best source of hires and discuss the positive impact that a formal onboarding program can bring.

Recruitment has often been described as that gut feeling in the bottom of your stomach telling you that you must offer this candidate. The ability to navigate social media for recruiting and see potential in candidates and those diamonds in the rough is a coveted recruiting skill to have. Some can consider recruiting a science except when in factor in those intangible factors that make me believe that recruiting is a creative activity.

When you factor in the creativity and art options that recruiting brings as we look to engage candidates and build an employment brand based on digital storytelling, graphics and content that appeals to our candidate pool using technology. Your CEO however, demands the hard facts, numbers and metrics to back up your creative recruitment activities.

The question bears is recruiting an art or a scientific business activity?

It’s both. The art of recruiting is both. Although it’s becoming more of a science as executives are closely evaluating our recruiting budgets with a fine tooth comb and we are use big data, workplace metrics and algorithms to help support our hiring and retention strategies.

Recruiting as a science.
There are standard processes on how to recruit a candidate and there are scientific formulas that help determine what type of candidate is more likely to succeed in your organization. Analytics has already started playing a huge role in the hiring process and with that comes science being applied to how recruiters work. As big data becomes a more important role in a recruiters everyday work they’re going to be able to see what type of hiring methods are working more effectively and what methods they should stop investing time.

Whether you believe it or not, science has been a crucial part of recruiting ever since metrics like quality of hire and monthly turnover have been used. In the past 5-10 years we’ve developed a deeper understand of analytics and how to use big data to our advantage, which has turned the recruiting profession into more of a science, then an art. Companies have sprouted up focusing on recruiting analytics and turning what was once an art into more of a science proven by metrics and formulas.

But some disagree. Some say that recruiting is just as much an art as it is a science. Personally, I love the art and creative component that recruiting offers except that the time has passed to just build a recruiting strategy where the wind takes you. You must use the numbers and data to justify how you are spending company money.  

Recruiting as an art.
If you surveyed 100 companies you’ll see that they each recruit differently. Each company has what works for them and each recruiter has their own style or form of art to how they recruit candidates. If recruiting was all science there would be no need to go to college for the field nor would there be much room for error on how to recruit the best candidates. Your company would get some scientific score on how good of a company they are compared to each candidate’s overall “fit level” and it would be an automatic process. It’s not that simple.

Recruiting involves people and a company’s culture works well when people place other people who are a good fit. Computers can only dictate how well candidates score on assessments they’re not able to determine a good fit because personalities are 100% scientific. Companies are able to recruit stronger talent because of the recruiters they have on the forefront. They’re able to recruit more effectively based on relationships that they’ve built over the years and that is something computers or science just can’t do or predict.

So is recruiting an art or a science? It’s both. Analytics help determine which candidates are working, how HR departments are performing, and gives us ample information to be as efficient as possible. Creative recruiting, art and finesse help differentiate us from our competition limited only by our imagination. Effective recruiting offers endless possibility.

TalentCircles Helps Measure Specific Data 
TalentCircles tracks 400 data points and actions, which enables you to monitor the interest of the candidates you attract, the efficiency of your branding efforts as well as your interactions with candidates.

For example, using TalentCircles, your sourcing efforts become measurable and allow you to fine-tune your engagement strategy on social networks. It’s critical for you to measure your Talent Engagement Index™, which is the percentage of active or passive candidates who opt into your private network, Or you can measure how you execute on your social recruiting plan and establish guidelines as well as goals: This is your Candidate Engagement Index™.

All the data can be combined and graphed on any graphic tool for you to see how you execute on your social recruiting plan and establish guidelines as well as goals. Schedule a demo to see TalentCircles in action.

Is recruiting a science or an art? What do you think?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

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