By now you’ve probably come to the realization that data matters, and the importance of tracking and analytics when it comes to recruitment marketing efforts. Frankly, it would be surprising if your organization didn’t have some form of a tracking and analytics core practice. We recognize the value of being data-driven, and I’m sure your organization sees the value as well. However, while we all may track, collect, and organize data, I’ve often seen struggles in how that data is utilized and presented.
So how do we go about presenting data?
That’s right, I’m talking about dashboards and how to build the ultimate analytics dashboard.
Far too many times, data is hastily visualized using Excel or PowerPoint chart, which can be unsettling given the importance of the data and the significance in clearly and effectively showcasing data to our team, leadership, or customer. It’s often been said that “data should tell a story.” Well, that’s easier said than done. Data visualizations (and I mean good data visualizations) are hard to create, let alone constructing an entire dashboard full of meaningful graphs, charts, and widgets.
I won’t dive too deep into the various online platforms that you can use to help with analytics dashboard creation, but I will take an extensive look into the methodology behind constructing a recruitment marketing dashboard. This is a methodology that we have honed by launching customized dashboards for many Fortune 500 and SMB organizations and should be a helpful guide in determining how you might approach creating a dashboard.
The first step you must ask yourself is why. Why am I creating an analytics dashboard? Is my current data visualization process broken? Are there metrics we need to track in real-time? Do I want a better understanding if our strategy is working?
This fundamental understanding of why you are building a dashboard will help form your overall dashboard objective. It will give guidance into what metrics you’ll include, how often your data is updated, and how the data is visualized. The answer to “why” will be your dashboard’s core storytelling objective.
Once you’ve developed an understanding of why you’re building the dashboard, you can then assess what metrics you’ll include to achieve its objective. While your metrics may vary from what we typically see, I’m going to share common metric types we include in our dashboards.
These are your top aggregated data points that you’re tracking. In programmatic job advertising, you may track the following KPIs: jobs sponsored, clicks, cost-per-click (CPC), applies, apply rate, and cost-per-application (CPA) in real-time.
In order to develop trend analysis, we want to look at KPIs as they trend over time. By examining day over day, week over week, month over month, or even year over year trends, we’re going to be able to see comparison data in an easily identifiable manner. Since performance is looked at in chronological order, we can easily make callouts for anomalies in the data and performance trends that will indicate market conditions or if your strategy is working.
High-level data will give you a pulse on your recruitment advertising performance, but there are cases where data drill-downs are needed. If you need to see how a certain hard-to-fill req performed, then you should have access to search a drill-down table populated with individual req performance. Having the ability to drill-down on certain data sets can be crucial for both managing job level performance with the overall strategic vision of the entire jobs portfolio.
How your jobs perform will vary from market to market. In most cases, your talent acquisition team advertises for jobs in multiple markets. Getting a grasp on the different market benchmarks is crucial to understanding how to strategically advertise for your jobs across many geos. We like to use heatmaps to quickly see how jobs are performing within different cities, states, or regions.
Finally, you need to tie this all back to a cost or value add. Is your data telling you that your strategy is successful? Are you able to accurately track success with a dollar figure? Determining a tipping point on what’s working and providing a good ROI is key to a dashboard’s objective. Ultimately, this is your quick go-to callout to let you know if the strategy is working.
Before you begin to invest time in creating your dashboard, one helpful tip is to sketch it out or create mockups on what you want it to look like. Going back to the idea that “data should tell a story,” we want to design the dashboard in a narrative way. Generally, you’ll have your KPI and ROI charts at the top, then funnel into performance timelines, and then into granular data.
The dashboard layout is essential to creating an easy-to-understand flow that tells your performance story. It also helps your audience see the importance of the dashboard’s top-level visualizations and lets them understand a baseline performance before getting too far into the weeds.
4. Stress Test
Importing data from multiple data sources can get a little hairy. You’ll have different data points, unstructured and structured data sets, and sometimes conflicting “success” benchmarks. This is okay. Data is sometimes messy, and our goal isn’t to get hung up on a data set that may not mesh well with others. The goal is to get a generally cohesive story across your data sources; whether programmatic or social campaigns, we want to have an understanding of how each data source is performing. If you’re able to mesh those into a roll-up view and determine success, then you’re already one step ahead. If not, stress test how your data gets ingested into the dashboard, and after a couple of months determine if you’re able to see any patterns or trends that will allow you to set a success benchmark.
At this point, you’ve been up and running with your dashboard for at least a couple of weeks. How’s it been working out? Are you able to tell that story? Are you able to quickly glance at the dashboard to get a temperature gauge on performance?
The answer should be yes to all of these questions. If you find that having a dashboard has not helped narrate a story or get quick pulse checks, then it’s back to the drawing board. Think about where your missteps may be, and if any part of the dashboard hinders the goal of an easy to understand the story.
Once dashboards are established, iterate on the dashboard to overtime tailor it to your highest priorities and most pressing data questions. Dashboard features can’t be stagnant for too long or they’ll begin to lose value or prevent you from uncovering deeper insights. The same reason Google and Facebook iterate on their analytics dashboards every so often.
Recruitment marketing has increasingly become more competitive in the search for talent, and “knowing your numbers” is now more important than ever. By using these steps as a guide to building your own dashboards, you can have a competitive advantage when it comes to knowing the true value of your recruitment marketing performance. Pretty data visualizations tell stories, and it can be the difference between a strong strategic recruitment plan or one that has hidden weaknesses. Don’t let your lack of a story be your team’s downfall. Start with the why, and soon you’ll be able to tell and understand your data’s story.
Would you like to share your recruitment marketing analytics dashboard story? Feel free to share with the LinkedIn Recruitment Marketing community or in the comments below.