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Data is boring. The definition of data is “facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis” — there’s nothing even remotely exciting about that.

Until you visualize it.

For data to be useful, you have to find ways to turn something like this list of the 50 most valuable sports franchises into something like this visualization from Column Five:

column5valuablesportfranchises

The visual captures attention, engages the reader, and sticks in your mind much longer than the simple list does. More importantly, it causes you to click around — it spurs action.

If your recruiting team is resistant to the idea of leveraging data in their daily recruiting process (and yes, it is a huge advantage for them to embrace it), find ways to visualize key pieces of information.

Here are three reasons it will be worth your time:

1. You convey information more easily with visuals than with simple numbers

Recruiters are allergic to data because it’s hard to find direction in a mass of facts and statistics. People who are busy don’t want to sit and stare at a block of numbers trying to figure out what message they should be taking away from it all.

Consider this sample on State migration patterns since 1900 from The Upshot:

Where We Came From and Where We Went

It’s effective because the story for each state is obvious — you can see whether the population is trending up or down, and it’s immediately clear where the population is coming from and going to. Now, imagine the same story with the original census data. You’d spend twice the amount of time uncovering the exact same information.

2. Your recruiters will actually pay attention to their data

Recruiting metrics are meant to highlight key pieces of information from your recruiting process and act as warning signs when recruiters need to make changes to the way they work.

If your recruiters don’t heed those warning signs, it’s because those signals aren’t getting across. This article from the Harvard Business Review, Swimming in Data? Three Benefits of Visualization, does a great job of summarizing how data visualization solves that problem:

  • Visualizations are efficient — recruiters don’t have to waste time finding meaning in their data
  • Visualizations simplify the process of analyzing problems and help recruiters find solutions
  • Visualizations clarify a plan of action and improve alignment between team members

The big takeaway there is visualizations make data relevant and actionable, which encourages recruiters to look at the numbers and use them to improve their performance.

3. You Kill Analysis Paralysis

Analysis paralysis is the unforeseen consequence of gathering a lot of data. When you have too much data to work with, you get lost in it and ultimately miss the key takeaways you were looking for in the first place.

Visualizing the data effectively removes that problem by cutting to the heart of what matters, and highlighting key pieces of information that will have an impact on your performance.

If, for example, you are a recruiter trying to determine which job orders you need to work on, and you look at this:

job order columns

It’s much more difficult to prioritize effectively than if you were to look at this:

job orders

The chart and the graph display the same data, but the story is much clearer with the chart. Job orders that aren’t being worked are called out in red (which evokes urgency) and provides a clear picture of which ones should be prioritized.

You have to work a lot harder to find that same information in the chart — which is why analysis paralysis is a problem, and why visualization is an incredibly powerful tool for eliminating it.

If you’re still not convinced that visualization is an essential tool to get value out of your recruiting metrics, consider this: The average post I write is 850 words, and doesn’t contain any images. This one is 650 words, and includes 5 pictures. Would you have read it if it were one of my average posts?

The same principle applies to your recruiters, and to the recruiting metrics your firm relies on.

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