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Show and Tell: Revelations Hidden in Job Listing Data

January 30, 2018

WeAreHiringIt's obvious that your company's employment listings are public and searchable. After all, that's how you connect to candidates and fill your need for talent. But have you thought about else what your employment ads might be saying, or revealing, about your company?

(This is part of an occasional series we write to inspire you about data, even if it's not in our wheelhouse - yet!)

Today's technology makes it faster and easier than ever to retrieve and analyze large datasets, and this data can reveal more than you might think about your company goals, your strategy, and potentially even your weaknesses.

For example, analysis of over 2000 job listings at Facebook gives a lot of insight into the company. We can see that more than 17% of all their job listings are focused on next-generation computer tech, with the Oculus VR system accounting for 9% of all recruitment efforts. That's ~180 openings in the Oculus division alone. Sales and marketing were only a slim percentage of the overall openings, but with more focus on global sales compared to analytics or SMB. Pair that with the 14% of listings in infrastructure, and we can infer that Facebook's expansion efforts are focused abroad. And all the openings in regulatory and legal departments may very well be both a response to increased regulatory scrutiny in America, as well as in anticipation of international expansion.

With all the insights to be gained by a single analysis of the current employment listings at Facebook, one can just imagine what information might be available if this data was updated and reviewed periodically over time.

All of this raises two important questions:

  • what are you revealing in your company's job ads?
  • what are your talent competitors revealing in theirs?

Intelligent review and analysis of your competitor's job ads may give you a significant boost in your recruitment efforts. You could potentially not only assess their openings, their goals, and their strategy, but you may be able to recruit talent from untapped resources, offer opportunities that are better aligned with the aspirations of your talent pool, and identify skills that are a better match for your future.

And remember that it's not just what you say, but how you say it. The verbiage used in employment listings offer deep insights into company culture. This review of the text used in employment ads at different top companies reveals not only what companies are looking for in candidates, but how these companies perceive themselves. It's no accident that Amazon repeatedly uses "fast-paced" while Apple uses "empathetic". We can see that Slack cares about relationships, while Microsoft is highly competitive. Candidates use these words as cues not only to the nature of the work, but to the nature of the company and the culture. Again, this information can be very valuable in your own recruitment efforts as you find the right people for your team.

And note the use of gender cues in the wording of these employment ads. Studies show that employment ads written with traditionally masculine wording attracts male candidates and discourages female applicants. Analysis of the words used in employment listings can reveal certain biases, and careful attention to gendered wording may be helpful in building more inclusive, diverse, supportive workplaces.

Data-driven analysis of your competition's talent pool, recruitment efforts, and employee's public information can reveal important insights into their goals and strategy, uncovering new opportunities for your own recruitment efforts. And that same analysis can be used within your own company, to uncover new opportunities, increase efficiency, and recruit more effectively. As we find new ways to leverage public information to inform decision-making, it's important to not only be aware of these tools and methods, but to use them intelligently, effectively, and ethically. At SwoopTalent, data-driven talent management is what we do, so contact us to find out how to reveal new opportunities and advantages that may be hidden in plain sight.

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