The Inbound Advantage: 5 Easy Wins to Supercharge Your Inbound Signal-to-Noise Ratio

For Talent Acquisition (TA) and Diversity leaders, attracting high-quality candidates organically is a dream come true. Inbound candidates are generally lower-cost, higher-caliber, and reflect a more diverse talent pool. As Amit Bhatia, CEO of Datapeople stated on the webinar, “You’ve got more diversity in those candidate pools. It works faster, but sometimes it can be overwhelming when you get thousands of candidates.” 

In today’s job market, the combination of a winning employer brand, unwavering interest in remote positions, and industry shifts such as the rise of one-click applications has led to a surge in inbound applicants. This has added noise, and work, to finding true signals of effective high-quality hiring. Further, it has deteriorated core metrics like pass-through rates. It is no wonder many companies are now also on watch for recruiter burnout

Fear not! By investing in a handful of smart actions, you and your team will harness the potential of inbound candidates. With a few smart improvements, you can increase signal-to-noise to identify and attract the talent you desire. And build the right motion to secure long-term hiring succewss.

The inbound conundrum, finding quality in quantity

This blog summarizes a recent webinar, “5 Tips to Instantly Improve Inbound Candidate Pool”. The webinar highlighted the recent surge in inbound candidate applications, making it harder to find qualified candidates. This struggle has forced companies to invest in expensive outbound channels, in a misguided pursuit of stronger quality signals. However, this investment often amplifies noise and further strains resources. As Amit shared, it’s understandable that a “temptation for recruiters sometimes is let’s throw all of those away and let’s start focused just on specific channels, agency hiring, sourcing, referrals, and that’s a mistake.”

5 Actionable tips to filter out the inbound candidate noise

Improving inbound quality isn’t rocket science. By analyzing your current performance and making small adjustments you can significantly boost your results. A recent Datapeople webinar, hosted by Amit Bhatia CEO of Datapeople and Brett Van Buskirk VP of Marketing at Datapeople, tackled this head-on. In “5 Tips to Instantly Improve Inbound Candidate Pool”, Amit and Brett provide the roadmap to increase inbound signal-to-noise ratio. Doing so will ensure a steady flow of qualified inbound candidates from the highest performing and lowest cost source – inbound:

Tip 1: Diagnose your inbound candidate passthrough rates

  • Pass-through rate: A simple yet impactful rate and also one of the most important to understand, measure, and action. It is calculated by dividing the candidates who progress through a stage by the total number who entered it. Your pass-through rates (both overall and from stage to stage) are crucial indicators of your effectiveness and efficiency. Further, they can be broken down by any other candidate grouping mechanism such as channel, gender, or other diversity criteria.
  • Implications of bottlenecks: A pass-through rate below 1% indicates a need for intervention. Analyze which stages are causing drop-offs and address them accordingly. As Amit highlighted, “if you’re getting four hundred, five hundred applicants to make a hire, this is a problem. This puts a huge burden on you, the recruiting team, and extends to your hiring managers.” Essentially, this ends up dictating a substantially longer time-to-fill.

Tip 2: Locations matter even if your job is remote

  • Location is critical: Location matters. It matters to candidates: Datapeople research has shown that remote roles are receiving 4-5x applicants. It also matters to job search engines as they treat the display results differently between “Remote” and “San Francisco,” possibly preventing target talent from even seeing your post. 
  • Target specific cities: Even when posting remote jobs, consider including specific city names while clearly stating the remote work nature. This can attract qualified candidates from targeted areas. Further, sites like LinkedIn or Indeed display results for “Remote” and “San Francisco or Remote” differently. If you only list the job as “Remote” it will only be shown when a job seeker selects “Remote”. So even if your role is remote (e.g. it carries no onsite expectations at all), consider listing different cities to ensure it is viewed. We recommend you consider dense talent markets (e.g., New York, Austin, Dublin) to maximize visibility to high-quality talent. 

Tip 3: Qualifications should be market calibrated

  • Qualifications as a checklist: Whether you intend them to be or not, job seekers often view qualifications as a checklist. Requirements are how a candidate assesses their fit. Ensure they can make the most accurate self-assessment and avoid triggering the confidence gap, by crafting clear, market-calibrated qualifications. 
  • Role, team, and market-calibrated: Being intentional about only including required and specific qualifications outperforms the “laundry list” of requirements. Context matters when crafting a high-performing job post. As Brett shared from his first-hand experience with the Datapeople Smart Editor, “It was illuminating to see my job post language challenged in a way that strengthened the output. Candidates shared how the language was distinctly different to others in the market and how it resonated with them.” 

Tip 4: Turn off ineffective sources

  • You are what you measure: Nothing is more frustrating than feeling powerless to improve your hiring processes. Whether you’re facing deteriorating KPIs or candidate ghosting, your ability to measure and action metrics can make or break your hiring success. In all of this data, it’s crucial to not lose sight of the difference in performance and outcomes from different sources. As Amit shared, doing so “requires a level of precision instrumentation and also, to a degree, vulnerability.” It’s crucial to recognize accurately, and honestly, which sources are performing for a specific role in near real-time.
  • End-to-end performance: Ensure your team has end-to-end hiring funnel visibility. Regularly analyze which sources yield the strongest candidates. Analyze which job boards and sourcing channels are delivering the most (and least) qualified candidates. Cut ties with those consistently yielding low-quality applicants to reduce your noise and costs! 

Tip 5: Streamline screening fairly and efficiently

  • Streamline applicants, fairly: Efficient and effective hiring demands a quick and accurate assessment of candidate fit and potential. While some companies have turned to tools, doing so may incur risks. As a Bloomberg study found when using OpenAI to sort resumes, they may impart racial bias. Thus if you use a tool powered by OpenAI you may miss quality candidates. As Amit shares, a knock-out question ensures “they’re not even making it to your candidate pool”. They are immediately excluded when an inbound candidate lacks a critical requirement (such as work permission for your target region). Knock-in questions offer the candidate a chance to provide a response that will offer deeper insight into their fit.
  • Utilize knock-in/knock-out questions: Utilize a combination of “knock-in” and “knock-out” questions within your application forms to zero in on high-potential talent. Knock-in questions assess must-have skills, while knock-out questions eliminate candidates who lack the essentials. When writing these questions, you can think about them through the KSA (knowledge, skills, attitude) model. By being deliberate with these questions, you can save time by immediately disregarding low-quality and highlighting high-potential inbound candidates.

Embrace a data-driven hiring approach

While managing the flood of inbound candidate applications can be a daunting task for talent acquisition teams, it’s also an opportunity to refine your recruitment strategies and position your organization for long-term success. By taking advantage of inbound candidate recruiting to find higher-quality candidates more quickly, your teams can improve outcomes and reduce costs. To learn more about the actionable tips shared above, watch the “5 Tips to Instantly Improve Inbound Candidate Pool” webinar on-demand

From writing clear, calibrated job posts to ensuring you have accurate and accessible recruiting analytics, improving inbound candidate quality in today’s market might seem like a daunting task. But you don’t have to do these things all by yourself – you can use Datapeople to alleviate the burden and zero in on what actions will deliver the most impact. We have looked at more than 75 million job posts and millions of hiring outcomes to distill signal from noise. Our platform can help your team harness scientific interventions to massively improve hiring fairness and efficiency. To evaluate how our platform can help you harness your true inbound hiring potential, schedule a demo

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