Sometimes it IS about the methodology!

data point tuesday_500

There’s no denying that Linkedin is a 600 pound gorilla in the talent acquisition space. But as I write that, I wonder in what space exactly Linkedin is. Wikipedia says Linkedin is a business-oriented social networking service. Linkedin says it’s the world’s largest professional network with 380 milllion members. Is it the ultimate job board? Is it an employer branding consulting firm? Is it a talent research firm? Is it a recruiting company? Maybe it’s all those things. Maybe it’s none of those things and it’s something else altogether. But whatever it is, I think we’d all agree that it’s big, it seems to be influential, lots of companies in the talent space are afraid of it, and most professionals – all over the world – wouldn’t look for a job without it.

So I read with interest Linkedin’s new report, Global Recruiting Trends 2016. It’s a quick read with some interesting data. The report sections are:

  • Introduction

  • Key takeaways

  • Quality of hire: The magic metric

  • Employee referrals: On the rise

  • Employer brand: A cross-functional priority

  • Retention and internal mobility: Time to align

  • Parting thoughts

  • Methodology

I like simple and straight forward reports like this. They tell you what the headlines are, give you charts and graphs that are easily understood, and then they end with a summary and the description of their methodology.

So the highlights are these:

  • Quality of hire is most important to talent acquisition practitioners, but there isn’t a lot of agreement on how to measure it
  • The use of employee referral programs is continuing to increase
  • Other functions, most notably Marketing, are getting in on the Employer Branding act

That’s about it. Not really surprising. But here is the really interesting part to me: the methodology.

  1. It’s a global survey – 3,894 talent acquisition decision makers in corporate HR departments who have some stake in the recruitment budget took the survey.
  2. Those responders were Linkedin members.
  3. They were from all over the world (see below).

Linkedin 2016 survey footprint

Although the report doesn’t specify that the numbers shown by country represent the number of survey respondents by country, we must assume that is the case. And if it is, I find it fascinating that only 200 U.S. respondents were included. It’s true this is a global survey. And it’s also true that the world of talent does not revolve around the U.S. But when 400 U.K. responses, 300 Australia/New Zealand responses and 231 Brazil responses are included – and only 200 U.S. responses were included – I’m not sure whether this analysis is compelling. The U.S. has ~7 milllion organizations; the U.K. has ~ 4 million; Australia and New Zealad have ~ 2 million; Brazil has ~1 million.

I’m not arguing that there are too many respondents from countries other than the U.S. There are some incredible talent innovations emerging all over the world in countries like India, Brazil and China. I’m positioning, rather, that there are too few respondents utilized from the U.S. I’m pretty sure that if the survey had included 400, or even 500, talent leaders from the U.S. instead of 200, the results would have been different. It’s hard to say how different, but different nonetheless. Having a more representative national sample vis a vis other nations would make the conclusions more compelling.

With a hat tip to Laurie Ruettimann, this raises the issue that we have to be mindful of the results of vendor research analysis. When sample size is too small, or when questions are ambiguous, or when the answer selections are biased (which they almost always are in vendor sponsored research), we really do need to take the results and analysis with a grain of salt.

There are interesting analyses and conclusions here that are worthwhile. But I wouldn’t build my budget from this report if I were a talent leader in the U.S. I appreciate that Linkedin, the world’s largest professional network – or whatever it is, is asking its members questions related to the talent acquisition challenges with which every employer around the world is grappling. And it’s interesting to see the results country by country. I’m just not sure the U.S. data are solid enough on which to build action.

What do you think?

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3 Comments

Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Data, Laurie Ruettimann, Linkedin, Quality of Hire, Talent Acquisition

3 responses to “Sometimes it IS about the methodology!

  1. Pingback: Quality of Hire: A Vaguely Valid Metric? |

  2. Pingback: Sometimes it IS about the methodology! | Talent...

  3. Pingback: Sometimes it IS about the methodology! | Mesure...

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