Leveraging Data To Fine Tune a Search


I’ve been doing some thinking.  For those of you who know me, you know this is typically cause for alarm.  However, I’ve been reflecting on some things that have been fundamental or rudimentary to me during my time as a recruiter/sourcer/manager.  It has dawned on me that with all of the talk of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robots that are going to take my job (I always think of Will Smith in I, robot when someone brings that up), there’s still room for some of the fundamentals.  So today, I want to talk about leveraging data from labor market reports.  Now if you’ve ever had the unenviable task of listening to me drone on about what I think is important, you know that I believe in using data, specifically labor market data to educate, advise, and set expectations during the recruiting process.  I’m not going to go into that here because that my friends is a topic for another time.  What I am going to venture into is some thoughts that I routinely had while sitting in my sourcing / recruiting chair.  One of the things that I used to think about was “How do I find unique avenues or unique searches to find the candidates I’m looking for?”  I simply didn’t want to run the same old boring searches and look in the places that everyone else was looking.  So essentially, I was looking for leads or ideas.  Sometimes those ideas came from simple information that I gathered from labor market data.  Now I’m not here to pimp anyone’s service or tell you who to use.  I just believe that having access to this information is important and I wanted to share some of the things I used to look at when I was building a search. 

One of the things that appear on just about any labor market report that you create is a list of the other companies that are looking for any skill set that you specify.  Why is this important to know?  Well, let’s talk about that.  As we talk to candidates, I think it is important to understand some of the competitive advantages you have when compared to the other companies that they may be considering.  In order to do so, it’s critical that you know who the competition is.  These reports can help with that.  In addition, if you know that a company is looking for a particular skill set, you can safely assume that those companies employ that skill set.  By honing in on these companies, it’s possible that you could come across a source of potential candidates that you weren’t familiar with.

One of the things that I’ve noticed (which should come as a surprise to no one) is that different companies have different names for the same role in an organization.  Now while I would never promote the idea that you should search by job title, sometimes when you are looking for different avenues to pursue it’s helpful to know the different things that people in that skill group may call themselves.  On a labor market report, there is typically a section that will let you know the most recent or most frequently used job titles associated with the skills that you specify.  Remember, there will be times when you are simply looking for unique ways to find unseen candidates and this can be a step in the right direction. 

The same rule applies when it comes to schools.  If you have a lead on a school that routinely produces quality candidates then this can be a valuable resource.  The most obvious thing is to use that school as one of your keywords in your search.  With that said, that’s kind of boring.  Let’s get a little more creative and think about ways that we can cultivate and leverage a relationship with that school.  In most cases, presenting yourself as a resource to the appropriate people and you will be welcomed with open arms.  Don’t just think new grads either as you can bring alumni networks into play as well.

The moral of this story boys and girls is to never stop thinking about the different ways you can make use of the tools or information at your fingertips.  If you’re doing everything strictly “by the book”, then you’re doing what the vast majority are doing.  Be creative, be unique, and set yourself apart.

Will Maurer is currently living his dream as the Global Sourcing Manager for General Motors.  With that said, his opinions are solely his own and do not reflect the opinion of his employer.  He firmly believes that Talent Acquisition is a team sport and feels very fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best professionals in the world.  You can find his random thoughts at www.therecruitingnerd.com


  1. Hi Will,

    Great Article. As a former recruiter myself, I knew I had to use creative job titles for even the most mundane positions. Instead of "Picker/Packer", I would use "Warehouse Selection Engineer." Or instead of "Forklift Driver", I would use "Distribution Equipment Specialist." I always found I got more traffic off of the "unique" posts rather than the same ole same ole.

    That being said, if you want to learn a bit more about the labor markets, I would love to invite you to one of my company's upcoming webinars released by our Chief Economist, where he takes the data from our platform (iCIMS) and extrapolates insights to apply to the job market and economy as a whole. Given the premise of your article here, I think you would be interested.

    If so, feel free to verify my twitter follow request and I'll get you set up with more details.

    Yours in recruiting,


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