Many clients become overwhelmed by the idea of creating reports because they aren’t sure where to start. Here are 3 questions to consider that can help get you on the right track for designing any report:
What are you trying to convey?
The primary purpose of all reports is to portray data, so it is important to first determine exactly what you would like the report to say. If we begin with simply pulling in data points, reports can become very large because we haven’t narrowed down the specifics.
For example, a report used to display how long it takes to progress candidates from applying to being hired may not need specific candidate details such as contact information, education, and work experience. But, if you begin with pulling in submission information, you could end up with a very detailed candidate application report and miss the purpose of their submission cycle time.
How do you want to portray the data?
When considering how you want to portray your report data, it is very important to keep your target audience in mind. Will the report consumer be an HR admin that needs to see each candidates’ raw data (which may take a few hours to build), or are we sending the report to a leadership team that only wants a snapshot of data which could be displayed in a pie chart in under 10 minutes?
What is the most trusted source of data?
The source of your data is by far the most important consideration when building a report. Let’s refer to the submission cycle time from our first question. In displaying the time from applying to hired, the most trusted source would be candidates that are currently in a hired status – but are there any other things to consider? For example, if a candidate is matched to a requisition and moved through the submission process within a matter of minutes, this would drastically skew the data because the candidate hasn’t progressed through the workflow as a typical submission. As the report creator, you would need to determine if it would be more reliable to exclude those candidates from your report or if they should be considered because their process, although not typical, could be the same for other candidates.
While report creation can seem like a daunting task, taking a bit of time at the start of the project to answer these 3 questions can help break the process down into manageable pieces.