These days, many people have more data available to draft their fantasy football team than they do to hire top talent for their organizations.

This can be particularly true for small and midsized business owners, many of whom have one HR professional juggling payroll, recruiting and everything in-between. According to an ADP survey, nearly half of midsized business owners said that recruiting and talent acquisition are "extremely" or "very" challenging.

So with the job market heating up, how do these companies -- already struggling with challenges attracting and retaining good people -- compete with larger organizations in the war for talent?

Consider how sports franchises approach recruiting to build successful teams. When football scouts are looking for new players, they wouldn't consider recruiting a new player unless they had a high degree of confidence that player would, on the first day, make a successful contribution to the team and grow to become a superstar. Recruiters perform in-depth research, analysis, and view player statistics and game reels to help them identify potential recruits. When their new player walks onto the field for the first time, there usually are few surprises about how that athlete will perform.

Midsized businesses who are recruiting need to employ this same strategy to increase the chances of their new hires bringing their "A game." When employers adopt a more data-driven approach to how they attract, engage and retain highly qualified workers, they reduce the risk of new employees not performing as expected. Interviewers shouldn't be relying on instinct and resumes alone to inform the hiring process.

Benchmarking can provide insight into compensation packages most likely to attract top candidates, and analytics can help identify where talent can be tapped. For example, if you're looking to hire a successful software developer, analytics can tell you what salary requirements are needed not only to hire that employee, but also to retain her five years down the road.

To drive better talent decisions, a growing number of companies are considering cloud-based solutions that enable them to connect various data streams, collecting everything from HR and financial information to weather patterns and government reports. Once companies begin analyzing information from multiple data sources, they'll start to see a more complete picture emerge. Examining internal employee benchmarks alongside data specific to organizations of similar size in their industry and geographic location can help identify where potential problems lie, and suggest possible solutions.

For example, a retailer may see overtime rates at its California location are significantly higher compared to its other stores. Upon further investigation, the company discovers that its more tenured staff has been working overtime due to high turnover. The data may suggest a solution that is as easy as investing more on retention programs or recruiting more entry-level employees.

One of the biggest areas where predictive talent analytics is starting to surface is in helping employers identify those employees most likely to leave. Football coaches aren't waiting for someone to leave to start the recruiting process -- they keep their talent pipeline full knowing they can lose top players to injuries or other circumstances at a moment's notice.

Employers need to adopt that same mentality and monitor retention rates using real-time data. This will help them make better decisions about when to recruit new hires and better incent existing employees.

Analytics also can identify which employees are more likely to leave based on a combination of factors, including commuting distance, length of time in a job, and pay relative to others in the company and in the market. Further, if a company has invested critical resources in certain positions, analytics can pinpoint key employees for HR to monitor and engage to ensure top performance. Once those people are identified, the firm can take immediate action to retain those employees, considering such options as regular meetings to solicit ideas, offering career advancement training, flexible scheduling, monetary compensation, and more.

If you're looking to differentiate your company in the market for top talent, using data analytics is a no-brainer. In the war for talent, the more data your company has to quickly discern insight into who will make the best recruits, and who might leave and when, the better prepared you'll be to play ball with the competition and win.