5 Common Reporting Challenges of Talent Acquisition Leaders

Jon JewellBy Jon Jewell
March 1st, 2022 • 6 Minutes

If you’re in charge of talent attraction for a large company, you likely look at analytics reports regularly to understand the ROI on your recruitment budget, right? You may be pulling and analyzing this reporting yourself, you may be working with a recruitment marketing agency to understand this data, or maybe you work directly with your vendors and partners to compile data.

Is the data you’re analyzing accurate though? Is it valuable? Is it granular enough? Is it tracked consistently? Does it tell the whole story? You might think so, but it’s critical to be sure that the reporting you are looking at has the most accurate, granular, and consistent data to help you make smarter, more informed talent acquisition decisions. 

What if you found out that the reports you have, or the reports you’re being given by your agency or your vendors and partners, aren’t telling you that you’re maximizing your recruitment ROI? Imagine learning that you’ve been paying an average of 70-80% more per hire than you anticipated, or that you’ve wasted more than 50% of your recruitment budget on media that didn’t produce any (or enough) applicants, or that the annual contracts you were sold aren’t providing any value to your hiring goals. You had no idea because you didn’t have the right reporting in place. Yikes!

Several major organizations only realized the magnitude of these issues once they decided to partner with a strategic recruitment marketing agency that focuses on data that offers the right reporting.

Here are five of the most common reporting challenges that the leaders of talent acquisition departments have come across. 

Common Reporting Challenges Faced by Talent Acquisition Teams

Challenge #1: Reports Only from Vendors

Many companies will obtain reports from recruitment vendors. While some vendor data is great and should be analyzed, it often doesn’t give you a complete picture. Vendor-specific data is only one small piece of the whole story, so it needs to be analyzed properly, by experts, and within context. 

It is often seen that companies provide a list of all their hires over a set timeframe to a specific vendor, and then the vendor runs the list of hires against their database of candidates to identify “the hires they produced for that company.”  However, the problem with this is that the company’s hire “John Smith” may have touched every job board and maybe in many vendor databases, and all vendors are taking credit for providing the same candidate to the company. The attribution model often differs between vendors, so it’s very challenging to take reports from multiple vendors and compile the data into a single report to compare and analyze, as the data is often not apples to apples. 

Challenge #2: Reports Only from the ATS

Depending on what ATS (applicant tracking system) you utilize, you will probably get some valuable reports, especially as it relates to down-funnel metrics like quality applicants, offers, and hires. Like with vendor reports, it’s important that the data is fully understood in context and is analyzed appropriately, as it often tells only one side to the story. 

Most ATS reports (if not all) don’t take into account recruitment advertising spend. If you don’t have a deeper analytics platform that integrates your advertising dollars with your ATS metrics all the way through to the hire data, you’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle. You should have data that allows you to associate cost at the job-level, source-level,  campaign-level, location-level, and more. It should also help you identify the cost-efficiency of all your strategies (i.e. CPA, CPQA, CPH). Many ATS’s rely on human input by recruiters and candidates, which leaves more room for error in subsequent reports.

Challenge #3: Self-Selected Data from Candidates 

Any time a report utilizes candidate self-selection options, it’s rarely providing accurate data. According to SmashFly, 80% of candidates select the wrong source when asked. In most cases, the candidate will select the source that is either at the top of the list, the source that is most recognizable, or the source that the candidate believes gives them the best chance at moving forward in the hiring process (for example, “referral”).

Challenge #4: Delayed Reporting

Companies that do not have data they need, and delayed reporting, in particular, can be a major challenge. Talent acquisition leaders often get reports once a month, or even once a quarter, after a hiring campaign has ended, leaving them with no time to take action on adjusting their strategies to optimize for tomorrow, or next week. While campaign-end reports are great to show the total impact, they only give insights into how you can do better next time—if there’s even a next time! That’s not enough to maximize your recruiting ROI. You need to be able to use data in real-time to make changes and optimizations to your strategy now so that you can see the results immediately. 

Talent acquisition technology has come a long way, and you absolutely can have access to data on-demand. If you have real-time reporting on what your recruitment advertising performance is doing today, then you can adjust your strategy as needs and goals change and as performance dictates. The ability to see how job advertising campaigns (and even single jobs!) are performing allows you to have more control over how your budget is spent and helps you eliminate wasted spend so that you can use your recruitment budget to make more hires.   

Challenge #5: Hidden Data

Reporting is often general and within a “black box” rather than granular and fully transparent. For instance, some technologies will allow you to set a CPA goal, distribute your jobs to a network of publishers, and then report on the total performance of that CPA across the entire network. However, you have no idea the cost of acquiring them from each source and which publishers or candidates they distributed to. A data-centric and vendor-agnostic job distribution technology will tell you which publishers performed within that network and the cost associated. You can then take action to remove poorly performing vendors and push more jobs to the better performing sources, manually or automatically. Having full transparency in your reporting allows you to push and pull levers to maximize the number of quality candidates you’re receiving at or below your CPA goals.

Why Having Solid Recruitment Reporting Matters

If you’re experiencing any of these common talent acquisition reporting challenges, you may not be utilizing your recruitment budget to its full potential. Not having proper reporting often leads to getting fewer candidates at higher costs. Accurate reporting is critical to make smarter, more informed decisions about your recruitment marketing strategies every day so that you’re not making decisions based on “feelings” or gut instincts. Reliable and transparent reporting doesn’t just improve your hiring ROI, it helps your team do their jobs better. It will save both time and money for your organization and allow your team to put their efforts toward other important recruitment initiatives. If you’re regularly navigating these and other significant challenges when it comes to accessing quality reports, you may want to consider finding another recruitment reporting solution.

Things to Look For in Your Reporting Platform

The best-case scenario is to have a recruitment marketing analytics platform that not only provides accurate, granular data (down to every job, tracking every vendor you use), but also integrates with your ATS to tie your recruitment advertising spend to all of your hiring metrics (looking at conversion rates and cost metrics from the initial job view all the way through to the hire). This would combine data from your vendors and your ATS and avoid using self-selected data from candidates, all to give you the best “view” into how your jobs perform across recruitment advertising channels. 
Ideally, you also want to have access to data in real-time so you can optimize on the fly, as needed, rather than waiting for weeks or months to get reports on activities from the past. Having a recruitment reporting tool that integrates with a vendor-agnostic, fully transparent job distribution network is an added benefit! 

Having all this in one place not only allows your data to utilize a single attribution model (which makes it easier for you to compare vendors and identify sources that are performing better for your hiring goals), but it also makes your life easier by giving you access to a single centralized location where you can pull all of your reports (rather than getting individual reports from each of your vendors and your ATS).

Here Are a Few Major Things to Look For as You Evaluate Recruitment Marketing Analytics Reporting Solutions

  • Combines front-end metrics from your vendors along with your back-end hiring metrics from your ATS 
  • Real-time, on-demand data, not delayed reports weeks or months after you’ve spent your advertising dollars 
  • Full transparency in the vendor-level data, nothing hidden or “black-boxed”
  • A vendor-agnostic solution with the same attribution model applied to data from all vendors for the most comparable analysis abilities 

If you think you already have sufficient data in your current reporting, great! It can’t hurt to confirm, though. Partner with your recruitment marketing agency (if you have one) to audit your reports and ensure you’re getting the best data possible. You may find that something is missing from your current reports! In my experience, even the best talent acquisition experts have been blown away with critical data and reporting that they didn’t know existed.  

Reporting Alone Isn’t Enough

Your success is achieved not only through analytics and reporting but also by having a team of people that understand the data and can optimize and strategize against that data. If you have the best reporting, but you don’t have the people to analyze and execute using the data, then the reporting doesn’t do you much good. Your talent acquisition team may have in-house experts that can do this, which is great! If not, consider partnering with a recruitment marketing agency that specializes in data and technology to help you understand the data, optimize your campaigns, and improve your recruitment ROI.

Have you experienced any of these reporting issues? Is there a significant challenge you’ve faced that you think belongs on this list? Leave a comment below!

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