Armed With Data, Kesha Owens Fears No Hiring Manager

Kesha Owens
Kesha Owens

When Kesha Owens meets with hiring managers about a req, she goes in armed.

Her weapon of choice? Data.

Data showing the comp for the job locally and nationally. Data showing the number of available candidates and where the supply is greatest and who else is looking for the same candidates. And that’s just part of the ammunition she has these days when she explains to hiring managers why relocation needs to be included or why the comp is too low or … You get the idea.

“Without that data you go into meetings with managers and you are rambling,” says Owens, manager of recruiting and training at Lincoln Electric, a global provider of welding equipment and cutting tools with one of the most studied of business models, including multiple articles published by the Harvard Business School.

“Now that you have the data,” she and her team go into those meetings with confidence. “You can go in with the comp and location and background and say how many candidates there are that are available … I can show them that there aren’t that many welding engineers here (in Cleveland, where the company is headquartered). But there are a lot more available in Texas. It tells them there may a relocation cost.”

And because Owens has the charts and data to back up what she says, hiring managers “understand why” a search is taking so long or why they might have to come up with something different.

Her data comes from CareerBuilder’s Supply and Demand Portal, a big data tool that meshes huge amounts of statistical labor force information from local, state, and federal government, with data from private services and from CareerBuilder’s own resume database.

“Before we had this tool we had to struggle,” says Owens, who manages a team of nine, including two trainers. Her recruiters fill 60 or so professional positions annually, and another 300 other jobs, including hourly positions.

Her team ran ads, scouted colleges, and searched through resumes. Too often, when recruiting for hard-to-fill positions like welding engineer, they’d come up empty handed. Explaining the situation to impatient hiring managers was not a job she relished. Telling them they weren’t getting the applicants or the leads, but not being able to objectively say why was “not acceptable to hiring managers,” said Owens.

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Then recruiting got a look at the Supply and Demand Portal. It was, she said, “an eye opening report supply. You could see where those candidates were.” The report on demand for those candidates, she said, was “scary.” There were 34,610 candidates who met her criteria for the test job, one her group regularly recruits for. But the demand side showed 57,871 openings.

And, she added, “You get to see who is out there looking for those same candidates.”

Armed with data, now going into meetings with hiring managers, “has made me feel a whole more confidant.” When she makes a suggestion about providing for relocation, upping the comp, or maybe modifying some of the requirements, she has the data to back it up.

Besides improving her group’s recruiting efficiency, it has raised recruiting’s credibility. Managers, Owens says, now listen and argue less, though, of course, they don’t always follow her recommendations.

Having access to the kind of data available in CareerBuilder’s Supply and Demand Portal has had another, less tangible, but no less important consequence, she added. “It took away the fear of having to have that face to face conversation.”

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


15 Comments on “Armed With Data, Kesha Owens Fears No Hiring Manager

  1. Great example on how recruiting can act in a consultative way and not just in a “support role.” Its great to be able to go into a new req meeting with a hiring manager and be able to advise and guide them… and not just ask questions.

    Curious…how much does CareerBuilder charge for this product/service?

    1. I was wondering the same thing, Sean. This looks like an especially great tool for agencies and corporate. On the agency side I see it being used for similar reasons as above, but also for pipeline planning; concentrating on generating leads for a particular type of hard to find candidate would be a great role for a sourcer or recruiter. You know the order will come in eventually, and you will also know your sales people will likely have clients who are having trouble filling those types of positions.

      1. I have tested this product for free from Careerbuilder and it is a really beneficial tool. I was quoted $7,500 for an annual license.

        1. Thank you for sharing Shannon! Did you feel as if it provided information above and beyond what you could find using LinkedIn? I typically use standard searches in Recruiter to give my stakeholders labor market info. Curious to see if this in on par.

    2. I tested the CareerBuilder/EMSI product out in April 2013 and they quoted me $25,000. Must have been a different package than the $7500 quote.

  2. Lincoln Electric is hardcore on employee performance. You hear a lot about “unique company culture”……Lincoln has it. They even park their cars a certain way, and its a BIG parking lot….

  3. Some of this same information (very limited) is available as free downloads from our NAS Insights Library page ( We prepare this info for our clients all the time. There is no sign-up required, or info required to access this data – just look for the “Sourcing Research” documents and download. The reports are limited to categories like IT, Engineering, Retail, Hispanics, and many Healthcare positions.

    1. Does NAS provide access to the data or custom queries? Or just the overview report? Reports are great, but a recruiter should be able to take action on the data..meaning, reach out to those that match their target set.

      1. Our research team (NAS Insights) is able to provide customized research based on your specific requirements – your location, occupation, industry. For example, if you are sourcing for Physical Therapists in say San Diego, we can tell you how many potential candidates there are and how hard or easy it will be to recruit them there, and recommend alternative markets. And if you need to know top competitors in San Diego within an industry or occupation, the research team can do that, as well. Diversity breakdowns, salary information and other intelligence is also available. It’s easy to call and get a customized quote.

        Marketing to candidates (outreach and outbound marketing) is something our Media Dept handles.

        Questions regarding “Candidate Attraction” (inbound marketing) would be handled by our NAS Activate™ Team.

        Social Media (social) and Search Engine (PPC) recruiting is handled by our SoMe/AdWords Team.

        For identifying individual candidates to reach out to (sourcing), I believe we offer a few different solutions that our clients use.

        Let us know if we can help in any way, Sean. Quotes are always free, and if we don’t offer what you need we’ll point you in the right direction.

  4. Daniel here with CareerBuilder! So glad to see the recognition that the S&D Portal has received in this article and the comments. The portal provides intuitive analytics, it’s easy to use and to Kesha’s points, equips you with facts when speaking to (educating) hiring managers on the recruitment environment. If you don’t have a CB rep and would like to learn more, feel free to reach out to me ( Source well, recruit well!

  5. So I think this tool is great to show the “battleground,” so to speak. The next step would be to present your target list to the hiring managers.

    In my experience, your target list or sourcing list or slate…what ever you call it… Hiring managers love to see a list of the people you are reaching out to. Not the applicants that applied on the career site, but who are the recruiter..reaching out to.

    Keep it simple…name/title/company/status/notes.

    Keep sending them an updated list each week of your effort and results. It literally shows the effort it takes to present 5 qualified/interested/available candidates for HM review.

    And please, please, please..don’t store this info in a spreadsheet. You can present in a spreadsheet but put your data in a team database that you share, collaborate, and build together as a team now and in the future.

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