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How Are You Using Big Data To Inform Your Hiring Needs?

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data-stRecruiting is no longer a sector of business that simply relies on search terms and assumptive hiring. Gone are the days of internal recruiters referencing a pile of Post-It notes to identify hiring needs within the organization. Does anyone really miss the days of sorting through a stack of paper resumes to find the best applicants? Now, big data plays a huge part not only in identifying problem areas within an organization, but hiring the best talent for the organizational needs.

Big data, in the sense of tailored and objective analytics, is used at both ends of the hiring funnel. While it has traditionally crept up within organizations in the way of staffing analysis and corporate structuring, applying it to the actual hiring process is a fairly new and innovative concept. Applying an analytical approach to recruiting results in higher candidate quality and better hiring processes – saving everyone time and making great connections.

Better Candidates

Applying big data to recruiting uses one of the basic concepts of data science; the identification of key data points relative to the process. How do you start spotting those diamonds in the rough?

Big data systems can help you find great candidates who might otherwise be overlooked. Metrics alone won’t get you the best candidates, but it can help drive your efforts by scoring non-applicants that HR identifies, and by keeping metrics on hiring managers with the best records.

As you start to narrow the pool of prospective candidates, big data can also provide a better view of individuals. Dr. Kirk Borne is a Data Scientist and Professor at George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia.

KirkBorne-2014“I believe that one of the fundamental characteristics of big data that is relevant in the hiring process cycle is that big data provides a ‘360 view’ of the candidate. The traits, skills, background, strengths, weaknesses, employment history, references, and so much more are now available and searchable, in a non-biased way (unlike the traditional resume, which may embellished or else leave things out). The objective analytics approach is the primary value that big data offers​ to recruiters who are searching for the key discriminators among a set of candidates.” – Dr. Kirk Borne (@KirkDBorne), George Mason University

What this approach creates is a complex system with simple application. These descriptive characteristics can be ranked and scored, to create scoring models. Similar to common data science theories, these models can be used to identify and highlight key candidate factors. When applied to the hiring process, the results of these models is a candidate pool that has been streamlined and trimmed to offer only the best applicants based on the organizations needs and criteria.

Improve Your Hiring System

Recruiting managers are discovering that using big data can also help in the hiring process. Using recruiting data to define needs, and identify potential qualified employees without the manual process of resume sifting help to increase productivity in recruiting. If recruiting managers understand the conversion rates on every aspect of the funnel, they know how many candidates they need for each role, who to nurture, and ultimately who to hire.

Heather Neisen is the Human Resources Manager at TechnologyAdvice.

heather-neisen-medres“We have seen our staff grow from 18 to almost 50 in the last 14 months by using analytics to identify problem areas and adjust our process. Starting in January 2014, we tracked numbers on our 13-step hiring process for four months, and evaluated our findings at the end of each month. Initially we discovered a conversion rate of less than one percent. Based on this data, we took several corrective steps. These seemingly small shifts moved our conversion rates from 0.8% to 5.09%.” – Heather Neisen (@TACareers), TechnologyAdvice

Measure and Manage

Securing the best candidate for the job has always been a challenge. In a flooded marketplace, using data analytics to narrow down the field and streamline the candidate pool is nearly a necessity. Recruiting applications may never completely replace traditional methods, but they can bring clarity to the entire process. Famed management consultant Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” What better process to measure and manage with big data analytics than the hiring process.


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