Big data a big deal for recruitment

Big future for big data in the cloud again
There seems to be no aspect of human activity to which the tools of data analytics, aka Big Data, cannot be applied. They are now finding traction in recruitment.

According to Nick Owen, CEO of US executive search and selection firm, Veredus: "The role of a CEO places new requirements on an individual that they may have never even experienced before and, as such, single or disjointed performance indicators are unlikely to be effective in determining the best candidates. By using all available data when mapping the careers of their employees, organisations can ensure that talent is effectively developed and pipelined for the future. Companies who fail to capitalise on the analytical capabilities that contemporary data management systems offer are certainly missing a trick.”

He was commenting on research undertaken by the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. It looked at the assessment of CEO successor candidates at 560 large US-based companies and found current practices inadequate for determining if candidates had the potential to make the step up to CEO level.

Patrick Wright, Thomas C Vandiver Bicentenial chair at the University, said: “Because the CEO role requires an almost exponential change in complexity, accountability, visibility, and communication, we suspected firms would invest heavily in gathering as much information as possible. However, this proved not to be the case. More information gathered over the course of a candidate’s career would provide a greater foundation for accurately predicting who will quickly and effectively adapt to these increased requirements.”

Wired magazine wrote recently "Big data is the future of job recruiting and development, and understanding how to make sense of it will be critical to a company’s success."

It continued: "These days, big data is helping fast growing companies find their perfect engineers, developers and executives," but added the caveat: "You can’t just 'data mine' your way to the right candidate; you need the right tools to analyse it, and the right people who can provide meaningful insight. ... Today, recruiters need to be able to understand big data, which boils down to discovery, visualisation and insight.

The best recruiting teams will use technology that bubbles up the right candidates, and know how to weight the data points to provide the best possible fits for a position.

According to one report, the benefits of using big data are quantifiable and significant. "A large firm was hiring sales professionals and usually selecting them from a pool of great colleges, ensuring high academic grades among other things," it said. However, when data analysis was used to correlate the performance of new employees with their grades and schools, the results indicated that these metrics did not point to the best candidates. "Previous job successes were more important. In fact so was having no typos or grammar mistakes in the resumé," the report said. The company applied this new approach to its hiring practices and was able to increase revenues by $4 million within six months.


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Big future for big data in the cloud again
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