How to Compete For Talent Against the Amazons of Your Industry–and Win

When Amazon announced its shortlist of cities for its new HQ2 in January, many job seekers rejoiced, while most talent acquisition professionals were filled with feelings of dread. With Amazon planning to hire upwards of 50,000 employees, the tech giant poses a serious threat to a company’s ability to attract and hire key talent.

Competition in the shortlisted cities is already fierce, especially for those high potential people who will deliver innovative solutions or go above and beyond for your customers. So what can recruiters do to make sure their pipeline won’t be decimated if an Amazon-like company comes to town?

Data-driven recruitment is one smart strategy that you can take to mitigate the risks–and identify the opportunities–associated with big moves like Amazon’s. Here are some people analytics best practices to use in order to mitigate the risk of talent shortfalls:

1. Focus on Job Candidates who Fit Top Quality Hire Profiles

People analytics gives you the ability to track hires across the employee lifecycle–which includes their successes and failures from the moment they applied for their jobs until they left your organization years later–so you can see which candidates end up being the best employees in the long-term.

There’s a finite number of qualified top talent in a city and focusing your efforts on these candidates is one way to snag them before Amazon comes calling. Create a profile of quality hires based on data such as:

  • Qualified applicants-per-requisition (which indicates whether your sourcing practices are delivering those effective employees)
  • Resignations and involuntary turnover for less than three months of service
  • New hire performance by lead source
  • Top talent characteristics (advanced “in-memory” people analytics solutions make it easy to run tailored algorithms to help identify these — otherwise, you can manually calculate using some elbow grease)

2. Estimate Speed of Hire Times with More Accuracy

Getting to great candidates before a company like Amazon is key to keeping your organization filled with high quality talent. When properly done, people analytics enables you to know with confidence how long it is likely to take to hire for a certain role, including time in each stage of the hiring process. With this information, you can provide more credible timelines to stakeholders.

Likewise, this data-driven approach can reveal the bottlenecks slowing down hiring and inform you on the right actions to take to fix them.

3. Create the Best Candidate Experience Possible

While candidate experience has been a hot topic for decades, many organizations still struggle to improve this important part of the hiring process. Analytics brings the factors that impact candidate experience to the forefront so you can measure the effectiveness of each.

Whether it’s time since initial contact, time between stages, interviewer name, etc, you’ll be able to tell what’s increasing or decreasing the likelihood of a candidate withdrawing his or her application — and create strategies to decrease the odds of losing strong candidates.

4. Attract More Diverse Candidates

Hiring diverse talent is in a company’s best interest: Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians and gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to do the same.

Traditional recruiting methods make it hard to tell whether you’ll hit your diversity targets or ensure equity during the process. Instead of guessing, use analytics to continuously monitor your hiring funnel for important demographic ratios such as gender, ethnicity, and veteran status. This enables you to better track diversity and implement the correct evidence-based programs to increase diversity throughout your pipeline.

Data visualization showing how many diverse candidates are in recruitment's pipeline funnel

5. Build Realistic Hiring Plans

Recruiting is a fine balance, especially in high risk situations such as a large competitor for talent moving into the neighborhood. While over-hiring can create an unnecessary cost burden, under-hiring can reduce productivity. This is why it’s important for Talent Acquisition to work closely with HR and Finance on data-driven workforce plans that will keep recruiters on target, help them prepare for all hiring scenarios associated with Amazon’s move, and keep everyone on budget.

Position Your Team For Success

The entire HR function is making strides to use data to inform workforce decisions involving the entire employee lifecycle—from identifying the best recruiting sources for finding quality hires to creating hiring plans for impending talent shortfalls.

If there’s one thing you should do to prepare for an Amazon-type move in your city, it’s to look beyond your Applicant Tracking System for analytics. Since these systems are unable to pull data from the full employee lifecycle, you may be at a disadvantage when Amazon–and other risks–come calling. Cloud-based people analytics solutions can offer the complete end-to-end view needed to not only monitor your entire recruiting pipeline (and identify any bottlenecks), but also pull all the historical information on top-performing employees into a single place, enabling you to hire better and faster, and also get ahead of business demand.

Whatever method you use, remember that analytics is not a “one-and-done” process. In order for recruitment to be successful, you must continuously look for ways to improve hiring. Analytics enables you to confidently double down on your strengths and eliminate the areas where you’re weakest so you can meet every talent need of your organization.

A version of this article originally appeared on Recruiter.com.

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Ian Cook |
Curious about the differences between gaussian and pareto distribution? Ask Ian. Want to know what it’s like to kite ski North of the Arctic Circle? Ask Ian. Not only is he an expert in statistical analysis and HR metrics, he’s also an avid cyclist, skier and runner. At Visier, Ian helps customers drive organizational change through linking workforce analysis to business outcomes. He is responsible for the workforce domain expertise within the Visier solutions.