5 Minute Read

Big Data for the Little Guy

Big data has become one of the most popular subjects in the business world over the last few years. And given that the market for big data is expected to grow by 50% by 2019 it’s safe to say it probably isn’t going anywhere.

However, that doesn’t make the popular buzzword any less mysterious to the common job hunter or employee. Most people don’t know that data companies have specific information about 99% of the property in America. So the question remains:


What does the big data revolution mean for the little guy? Click To Tweet


Big Data and the Job Hunt

HR professionals are always looking for ways to make the hiring process quicker and easier, so it is only natural that big data is used in almost every mid to large sized company’s HR department.  It just makes sense, with a few pieces of analytic software they can tell if candidates will be a good fit before an interview even happens. Things like your skills, interests and hobbies are on the internet in some capacity and HR departments have access to them.

This goes deeper than the old adage to “not post anything you’d regret on social media”. Big data pulls information like everything from Google searches (there are 1 billion every day and each one provides valuable insight to companies) to purchase histories on Amazon, and everyone’s share of the 30+ petabytes of data on Facebook. So if a resume on Indeed talks about someone’s skills in graphic design then every company that pays for data analytics has that information and can pull that up if that someone applies for a position there. It makes it easier for companies to divine candidate’s personalities and skill sets, something that is usually long and expensive, no company enjoys paying 50-40 thousand dollars to find someone to pay to do a job.

There is a benefit for the job hunter in all this, though, more and more jobs will be finding you. All of this data that is being analyzed is helping companies write and target help wanted ads toward the people that want or need them. Help wanted ads made with big data in mind, get from 15-40% more responses because they are tailored to candidates.


Big Data on the Job

Big data’s uses extend far beyond suggesting what books Amazon users should buy next or handing coding job openings to recent computer science graduates. HR is also using big data to make sure the people that a company currently employs can do their job well and are happy while doing it. It shouldn’t be shocking to hear that 70% of employees are not happy at their job, something is wrong in most every office or they just might not be a good fit. Companies want them to be happy, though, after all, engaged employees are 20% more productive. How can companies tell if employees are happy though and if they are unhappy what would make them happy? That is where big data comes in.


Did you know 70% of employees are not happy at their job? Click To Tweet


By examining employee data while they are at work and while they are at home companies can get a good idea of what is making them unhappy and what it would take to fix that. Xerox recently used big data to raise their employee retention by 20%so it’s safe to say to expect more companies to copy Xerox in the future (pun intended). Companies do it for training too, gaps in employee training become very obvious when the proper analytics are used, they can then patch the gaps in their process, which given the average yearly cost of $1,200 per person to train companies are rather invested in employees being well trained.


Big data is an ever expanding field and what it can bring to the field of HR is changing all of the time. It can be intimidating for job seekers and people currently in the workforce to keep track of what companies are using it for, but it can be beneficial to keep an eye on it.