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Back in 2012, Reading based recruitment consultancy Austin Fraser was looking for analytics that would allow for improved management reporting. They had tried using software developers to custom-build their reporting system in the past, but nothing ever got the job done.

Then they adopted Bullhorn as their ATS, and gained access to all the tools in the Bullhorn Marketplace, including InsightSquared.

Austin Fraser’s Challenge

According to Simon Curtis, Managing Director for Austin Fraser’s UK Headquarters, the moment that he saw InsightSquared at work, he knew he had found his solution:

“A couple of you guys were over in the UK, and came in to visit us to show us the product. They plugged into our data and, genuinely, from the minute it was plugged in via the iPad, I could immediately see the potential.”

InsightSquared recently spoke with Simon about the impact that InsightSquared has had on Austin Fraser’s performance since that time, and learned how they have revolutionized their approach to negotiating with clients, managing their job order pipeline and thinking about their approach to recruiting.

Where has InsightSquared had the biggest impact at Austin Fraser?

I think one of the really interesting aspects that we have been able to utilize InsightSquared for is how we interface with some of our key customers.

So there are probably quite a few examples of the constant push you get in professional services — the more business that you get from a customer, the lower the price they expect it to be. There is this kind of trade-off of volume against the margin or the price that they are paying you for your services.

A lot of the conversation you have around driving down cost is when you actually look at the cumulative amount of time that each vacancy is taking.

Our highest volume clients can often be our most difficult too, and often take up most of our time. So I have actually managed to counter quite a few rate reduction type negotiations in our favour by presenting and making data comparisons between two clients who are effectively recruiting a similar volume.

When you present the data in that way, rather than just the recruitment tradition of talking through what you do in return for your money, it is actually a much more powerful argument — a much more powerful case.

I have seen some clients who tend to be quite hardball negotiators who have been slightly stumped for a response.

How have most clients responded to this new approach?

So recently one of the things we’ve started to experiment with is doing Join.Me screen shares with our clients to show them the information within InsightSquared; we predominantly focus around time-to-fill.

[The goal is] to, rather than just talking about where we feel their recruitment process is failing, actually show them the amount of days they are spending, CVs sent before they book their first interview, the amount of time they are taking to interview before they make an offer, and so on.

With the clients that we are doing more business with that is actually proving to be a really valuable tool. In fact I showed it to someone the other day and they were like, “Well why haven’t you shown me this before?” One of our clients is pretty competitive and has actually set himself a goal of he wants to have the lowest time-to-fill, out of all of our clients.

We are incentivizing the clients to use less of our time but still get the same result.

How has access to data affected how you operate internally?

Everyone’s become a lot more aware of what they are doing on a day to day, week to week, month to month basis.

The time-to-fill I thought was an interesting concept — it is actually something we talk about quite a lot now, because it could be that the clients who are maybe not paying you quite as much are taking up a disproportionate amount of your time. So there is always a potentially more efficient use of time and money.

One of the things that I quite like about InsightSquared is the way in which it presents data to you that you wouldn’t necessarily look at otherwise.

So rather than looking at the jobs that you won, actually looking at the jobs that you lost. Kind of flipping [your analysis] on its head and going, “Okay great, I know where our wins are coming from, but where are our losses coming from?” Which traditionally before we had the tool, we wouldn’t even have have thought to look at that type of information.

And obviously that does then present quite an interesting case for investigating from a management point of view.

How have the rest of your recruiters benefitted from InsightSquared?

As recruiters, we always talk about what our pipeline is, what does our pipeline look like? And predominantly that is usually based on how someone feels about their day, their week, their month, whereas the one thing that people quite often overlook in their personal scorecard is the pipeline and how that breaks down.

So they have their job order total and it gives you the stages of jobs shortlisted, CV sent, first interview, second interview, offer, etc.

If you can start to understand your ratios from other areas of InsightSquared you can actually start to forecast and predict your sales better based on a productive conversation about what your pipeline looks like — what your pipeline actually is, rather than what it feels like.

Before, it would have been more like an administrative task to close off the jobs that you [aren’t working], whereas now, if you genuinely want to understand what your real pipeline looks like, then it has to be clean.

Another thing that is really quite interesting is trend analysis, whether that is your sales, your activities, your ratios, your pipeline and being able to, with a few clicks, to look at an extremely long period of time and understand what sort of trajectory you are on if there is any relational impact.

It could be something as simple as, okay, we believe the more CVs you send out, the more interviews you book. You can actually establish whether that is true or not. If you see a particular spike in your sales or a particular spike in your activity quite often, it is easy to trace that back to some root cause.

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