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Big Data? Start with small data.

Written by David Johnston on 11 Feb 14
Big Data? Start with small data.

Someone once said to me "How do you eat an elephant?"

The answer? One bite at a time. It's the same with data in recruitment.

Lots of highly regarding individuals talk a lot about the power of big data and many clients are asking me, "How do I capture and use all this information?"

Someone also once said “Analysis can cause paralysis.”

When it comes to data in recruitment, it's essential to start at the beginning and look at data which can impact your business, provide a picture of where your marketing spend is going and, more importantly, what return you are getting.

Start with Google Analytics – it’s free and provides a wealth of information on how your website is performing, but to start with look at the following key metrics:

Total Visits – the total number of visits your website receives

Unique Visits – the number of unique people who have visited your site.

A balance of total visits and unique visits is always good as it shows that your site is not only attracting new people, but people are interested and are coming back.

Traffic Source – Where are your visitors coming from? Typically, this will be a mix of Google, Indeed, Bing and other referring websites, such as Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook, or relevant sites you have profile pages on. If you’re paying for a profile page to generate traffic, make sure that you’re actually receiving visits.

Content Landing Pages – Since Google started hiding information on the keywords that your visitors used to find your website, landing pages are critically important.

For example, websites such as, Orionjobs, CDI AndersElite and many other clients of 4MAT receive over 50% of their traffic to a page which is either a sector or job family landing page or a specific job.

These pages typically attract job seekers using broad search phrases, including 'oil and gas jobs', 'offshore jobs', 'energy jobs' or 'rail jobs' and do so because their search engine optimisation is being constantly managed.

A modern recruitment website with well-optimised jobs will also attract visitors searching for specific job titles, locations and keywords; often known as long tail searches.

These are good relevant visitors, but if you notice that most of your traffic is going to job pages, you are missing out on visitors using the broader searches and are either don’t have landing pages or you’re not managing your seo.

If most of your visitors are landing on your home page, then I’m afraid you’re only attracting people who know your name and you will probably be heavily reliant on job boards for attracting your candidates.

There’s a lot more to look at on Google, but those are always the first pieces of data I look at and quickly show whether a website is living up to expectations and attracting the right candidates.

Next time, we’ll look into source tracking and how this can really show where your marketing is being most effective in generating either revenue or cost savings.

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