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Use Big Data to Give Your Hiring a Makeover

“Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the Web like deer on a freeway.” – Geoffrey Moore

Moore is right: without access to the information the business world has become so accustomed to, there is simply no way employers would be able to effectively hire employees. It is easier for employers to hire candidates with this data, but it’s crucial to use it correctly. With outdated HR technology systems, all of this information can’t be organized or searched effectively. The data is useless if you can’t find what you’re looking for. Who will rescue HR from the jumbled mess? Enter big data software.

Numbers, percentages, figures: big data. It seems cold and calculating to use in human resources, but the truth is, big data makes hiring much easier. Seventy-seven percent of human resource executives said their companies have a hard time finding talent to fill open positions. With the recent integration of big data into human resources, recruiting is changing. Data-based recruiting isn’t a theory, and it’s not a way of the future. Companies use databases to analyze resumes, social profiles, and employment records to determine the best candidates to meet with the hiring manager for an interview. Even in-house training can be tracked in the same way.

Before Hiring

Companies use the Internet to filter through social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to scan for potential candidates. Career-related information from LinkedIn and personality information from Facebook and Twitter are used to assess the strongest candidates before they advance to the next stages of the hiring process. The machinery behind big data helps to keep bias out of the hiring process as much as possible, at least until it comes time for interviews. Take Xerox, for example. They reduced their turnover rate by 20 percent. How? They used big data to bring in the new hires who would stay long enough for the company to make the $5,000 back they spent training each new employee.

Although the big data systems decrease time-to-hire, they could potentially miss talent due to weak points in the program. There are circumstances that can alter the natural professional progression for many candidates. Consequently, big data systems won’t pick up on these situations and leaves these candidates rejected. For example, Professor Peter Cappelli, director of Wharton’s Center for HR, said, “The people who complete college in four years might be better on average than someone who took five years, but maybe they took a year off to help a sick parent or to prop up a family business that was struggling. That changes the picture quite a bit and the data wouldn’t necessarily reflect that.”

After Hiring

HR departments can use tests and training games in the same way. They accumulate information about employee ability and store the data for future reference. This gamification gives solid numbers to measure and map employee skills and strengths. According to Rajat Paharia, “By capturing the big data on user activityand using this data to create a more engaging experience, businesses can better engage and motivate employees.” Utilizing big data during and after the onboarding of new employees gives companies insight into where employees need further training or how the training program might need adjustments.

Recruiters who embrace big data are able to embrace the recruiting narrative from a technological perspective. Big data takes the storytelling of recruitment and systematically organizes it to make the story easier to tell. Cofounder and managing partner of Riviera Partners Ali Behnam says, “It’s a man-plus-machine approach to big data. Aggregating the most valuable of these sets and then meshing them with intelligence from our team and extended network.” The algorithms that keep all of this information organized are complicated.

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