Step 2: Report the data to leadership
How you present your data has a huge impact on whether executives
understand it. Your presentation also inevitably influences whether
or not they act on your suggestions.
A few tips to think about as you prepare to deliver your data:
Choose the best format and frequency for your reporting
There's no perfect format for presenting recruiting data to
executives. The most important thing you want to do is find a
reporting format and cadence that is sustainable for you long-term.
I've found that different leadership teams prefer different formats:
- Face-to-face staff meetings
- Presentations (in-person or virtual)
Again, the best thing you can do here is ask. It really depends on
your leadership team and their priorities. If they're pressed for
time, a weekly or monthly email might work best. But if they're
deeply involved in meeting recruiting goals, you'll probably be
scheduling a staff meeting.
You should also be mindful of how often you deliver your updates.
Quarterly? Biweekly? If you're aiming to meet a crucial goal, such
as hiring 100 new employees by the end of the year, or if your
organization is constantly hiring, you may want to give weekly
updates — but only if you’re reporting meaningful data!
There's no point in bombarding inboxes or bringing everyone together
if you don't have anything new to say. Finding valuable insights in
your data and putting them together into a cohesive story takes a
lot of your time, so make sure that whatever reporting cadence you
decide on is both meaningful and sustainable.
Educate leadership on recruiting terms
When you actually deliver your report, explaining your wins and
getting buy-in for your recruiting plans all depend on senior
management understanding the data they're looking at. Since they may
not be as familiar with the recruiting terminology you use on a
daily basis, be sure to define your metrics.
A couple of tips on providing context well:
Provide benchmarking data: This helps executives quickly grasp how
the data you're presenting is different. You could show data from your
company's previous hiring performance or from similar companies
in the same industry as yours.
Define acronyms and other industry terms: Distribute a
definitions handout before your presentation or provide definitions
at the top of each presentation slide where acronyms or potentially
unfamiliar industry terms appear.
Reduce cognitive overload
Your senior leadership team is juggling a million issues at once. If
you throw an encyclopedia's worth of recruiting data at them,
they're probably not going to be able to digest what's really
If you want executives to understand and engage with your recruiting
data, you need to find the story your data is telling and share it
with them. When they look at your report, they should be able to
immediately see that story and understand why your data matters,
what it says about your current hiring situation, and what you're
going to do as a team to improve.
Here's an example of what I mean by “finding the story in your data”:
Data: You're trying to fill 10 open engineering roles, and hiring
managers have conducted 25 on-site interviews. That's a pretty high
number — you'd expect to have hired something like 50% from those
onsites. But you learn that you've only hired two people. The 23
others all failed standard engineering tests conducted by the hiring
Story: The quality of the candidates you're bringing onsite isn't
what it should be. On-site interviews take a lot of time and energy
from your team, so you’ll need to consider implementing better (or
additional) screening stages to help improve your onsite to hire
This is the story you need to tell your executives when you're
presenting a status update. The story should also include solutions
you've already identified to solve that problem, like adding skill
testing between the initial phone screen and onsite interview, or
looking for new sources of higher-quality engineering candidates,
like referrals or tech-specific job boards.
And if you already know what your leadership team cares about, you
can look for metrics that help tell the story they’re most
interested in by relating your findings back to your organization’s
overall goals. Resist the temptation to simply go through
everything that's happened since the last time you reported
recruiting data. Being strategic and selective about the data you
share can help reduce leadership’s overall cognitive load so they
can focus on the most important insights.
Step 3: Inspire leadership to take action
When I'm talking to leadership about what I've found and what should
happen next, my main rule here is to always be transparent,
explicit, and open. Hiring is a team
sport, after all. If managers don't know what's broken, they
can't help you fix it.
Here are two tips you can use to get the results you need when you
deliver your data:
Present clear solutions
You must propose solutions for any inefficiencies or concerns you've
identified and need your leadership to intervene on. I've already
touched on this a couple of times, but I really want to emphasize
this: You should make it as easy as possible for executives to sign
off or say “okay” after you're done with your report.
You may want to present a large number of solutions to the issues
you've identified. You may not be 100% sure what the best solution
is or may have identified some pros and cons to each option. And
that's fine: no one expects you to have all the answers.
But what I've found is that it's best to recommend one, or at the
most three, recruiting recommendations based on your data. If you
present too many solutions, it's much more difficult for executives
to remember what you're advocating for. And you also don't want to
burden them with the need to do research or homework.
Sticking to a limited number of strong solutions also strengthens
the persuasiveness of your argument. If you recommend one solution
wholeheartedly based on your data, you'll have more time to explain
why you believe in it. Your leadership will know that you’ve really
thought it through.
Here's an example. Let's say that, historically, you see very high
attrition from a sales role. There could be a ton of things causing
this. But rather than speculating, you present the data and
recommend two specific things to improve attrition rates:
New training for sales managers: You'll train the hiring managers
to look for specific attributes during a second phone screen. These
are attributes that correspond with sales team members who have been
with you the longest — maybe things like formal education or
employment longer than five years in a previous role.
Standardizing interview questions: Second, you'll give all the
managers doing the on-site interviews a list of the same questions
to use. This ensures all the candidates are being held to the same
bar, and you're not hiring someone based on factors other than their
Because you've already come prepared with two actionable
recommendations, it's easy for leadership to give their approval.
This also helps you position yourself as the subject matter expert
in recruiting since you’re able to identify problems and quickly
Show what happens if you do nothing
Company executives have a lot on their plates — they're balancing
a lot of requests and different stakeholders. They need
to know why your needs matter just as much as (if not more than)
those other requests.
If your executives don't initially “get it,” you'll have to show
them what happens if you do nothing. Here's how you can do that
Show projections for your data. Paint a clear picture of the
future: “If we don't cut our candidate decision-making time in
half, from 10 days to 5, we won't be able to meet our goal of
hiring 20 marketers by the end of the quarter. We'll likely only
be able to hire 10.”
Don't overstate your claims. Use as much data as you can to back
up what you're saying. If you don't have the data you need,
research it and get back to leadership later — it's not worth
the risk of giving bad information.
Stay objective. You're naturally going to be invested in your
goals as a recruiter, but becoming emotional weakens the power of
the data driving your argument.
Leadership reporting is never static
One final point I want you to keep in mind: What you measure, track,
and report to your executives will never be the same. Based on your
recruiting, hiring needs, their goals, and the goals of your
organization, you're constantly going to be looking at different
metrics and generating different reports based on them.
The metrics you're asked to track and report on may not be the most
exciting. But if you report on them well, they will bring
consistency to your recruiting processes. They'll also bring about
the changes you need to do your job better.
A lot of times we get caught up in tracking things like pass-through
rates, time-to-hire, cost-of-hire, and so on, and miss what our
leadership really cares about. But by simply asking what they want
before you start giving them data, you can create great reports,
inspire them to take action, and ultimately empower your
organization to resolve any inefficiencies you've identified.