Big Data and semantics are opening up new horizons for both employers and applicants
Algorithms: sweeping aside preconceived ideas
Data processing solutions are providing head-hunters and HR departments with new indicators, some of which are shedding an interesting new light on traditional recruitment criteria.
California-based company Evolv specialises in precisely this – Big Data predictive analytics for human resources purposes. Its latest survey of over 20,000 employees in the US lends some rather startling insights into what constitutes an ideal job candidate:
- Job-hoppers (i.e. people who change job every six months) aren’t necessarily bad employees.
- Prior history of unemployment has no bearing on performance or attrition.
- People who actively and regularly use social networks or know two or three people in a company are more likely to stay there longer.
Two years to hire 100 people
According to recruitment website Monster, it takes an average of two years for an experienced head-hunter to shortlist one hundred applicants in a recruitment campaign (from around 300 initial applicants for the position).
So without some basic semantic analytics skills and tools, this is an almost impossible task. In the US, big data analytics have helped HR organisations improve the efficiency of the shortlisting process by up to 70%.
And yet research by Deloitte shows that only 6-7% of HR organisations have acquired advanced expertise in HR analytics. Deloitte recommends that an HR team needs analysis skills, database skills, and business consulting skills to ensure successful recruitment and talent management for the company.
Sources: Deloitte, Success Factors Unwraps Turbo-Charged HR Analytics Solution.
Google: using Big Data in moderation
Thinking of applying to Google? Rest assured: during the interview, you won’t be asked the usual multiple-choice questions or brainteasers like how many golf balls can you fit into an aeroplane.
“We found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time… They don’t predict anything,” says Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google. He also believes academic success is not necessarily an indication of an applicant’s future professional performance: “After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different.” In fact, 14% of Google’s staff don’t even have a university education.
Nevertheless, big data is used as part of Google’s HR process, to determine the number of applications to shortlist, assess existing managers’ performance and determine the ideal number of people in a team for it to perform well.
But data isn’t everything, as Laszlo Bock concludes: “I don’t think you’ll ever replace human judgment and human inspiration and creativity because, at the end of the day, you need to be asking questions like, O.K., the system says this. Is this really what we want to do? Is that the right thing?”