May 10th, 2019 | by

A decree signed by Julius Caesar in 55 B.C., housed in the collections of the British Museum, promised to reward soldiers with 300 sestertii (a third of their annual pay) if they recruited another man to join the Roman army.

Fast forward over 2,000 years, and the process of passive recruiting job candidates has arguably improved.

Technology, combined with a profound wealth of information, introduced in the last two decades has brought work history data online. It’s now easier for recruiters to find the right candidates – some might not even be looking for a job – no chariots or togas required.

But even these improvements have their limits.

Brett Kindschuh, DiscoverOrg’s director of human resources, says the kind of work history data easily available today still only gives you a one-dimensional glimpse into a candidate’s background.

director of human resources Brett Kindschuh

Brett Kindschuh, Director of Human Resources

The new iteration of data, however, tells you not only where a prospective candidate has worked, and for how long, but integrates with more data about the organizations that employed the prospect.

“By combining work history data with organizational data, you can gain deeper insights into a candidate’s true abilities and fit for your organization in a way that you couldn’t before,” explains Kindschuh. “You can also identify candidate pools you may not have even known existed.”

The deeper insights that Kindschuh references give recruiters the ability to target hires more accurately.

Next-generation recruiting data offers:

  1. A better understanding of leadership experience, professional skill sets, and cultural fit
  2. Insight into a prospective candidate’s willingness to make a job change
  3. The ability to expand your passive talent pool

1. Better understanding of leadership experience, professional skill, and cultural fit

sales research

A prospective candidate’s skill level is more immediately understandable if they’ve worked for companies like Google, Salesforce, or Verizon.

But what if their former employers are companies you’ve never heard of?

“Job titles mean a lot of different things at different companies,” says Kindschuh.

“If I’m looking for someone to manage a sales team, and their resume or work experience says they’ve done that, but I’m not familiar with the company, then having more information about that company’s size and structure can be critical to determine if they’re actually qualified.”

In the past, finding this information required additional research on the part of the recruiter. Integrating work history and organizational data cuts this extra step out of the process so you can more easily gain insight into a candidate’s true capabilities.

“With accurate information about an organization’s departments and reporting structure, I have a better understanding of the size of the team they managed, the pace at which they had to manage that team, and the kind of culture they’re used to working in,” Kindschuh adds.

Work history at a startup, for instance, would indicate that a prospect is used to moving at a faster clip with less-defined processes.

Meanwhile, a prospect coming from a mid-sized or larger company might not be used to a breakneck pace, but is probably equipped to navigate organizational bureaucracy.

With additional data sets augmenting basic work history, Kindschuh says a more accurate picture of a prospective candidate begins to emerge.

In addition to organizational data, corporate hierarchy data can tell you if a company you haven’t heard of is actually part of a larger parent enterprise. This can give you even more context around a candidate’s level of skill.

2. Insight into a prospective candidate’s willingness to make a job change

Internal shifts within an organization can prompt a prospective candidate to be more inclined to leave their job. Some examples of these shifts include:

  • Changes in senior management
  • Recent acquisitions
  • Data breaches

Staying informed of changes like these lets you know when a prospect might be more open to a new opportunity.

Real-time organizational intelligence gives you insight into a company’s latest initiatives (and its issues) so you can identify the best time to approach a prospective candidate with an opportunity, and increase the likelihood that they’ll be open to hearing more about the position.

3. The ability to expand your passive talent pool


Kindschuh is quick to note that previous employers listed on a prospective candidate’s resume are potentially rich sources to identify more passive talent.

The work history of a prospective candidate can help you find other, similar companies with employees that have skill sets similar to the position you’re trying to fill. Notes Kindschuh: “Sometimes when researching one candidate, I’ll find other companies in the space that I just wasn’t aware of.”

From there, he adds, he uses the org chart to navigate a new company and zero in on new targets.

He also uses it to hedge his bets.

“When you’re recruiting, you may find a prospective candidate you really like, but that one person is not always going to be the silver bullet. By using the org chart to find other potential candidates within an organization, you can broaden your opportunity.”

And in a marketplace that’s experiencing a widespread shortage of workers? Broadening your reach to recruit more prospective candidates is the holy grail.

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Charity Heller
About the author

Charity Heller

Content Strategist, DiscoverOrg

Charity Heller, DiscoverOrg's content strategy manager, has been developing, composing, and editing content since age 2. Before her dive into content marketing, she founded and operated a book-editing company for 10 years. Charity has a B.A. in English literature, Professional Editing Certification from U.C. Berkeley, and she's a certified Project Manager.