Recruitment and big data – match made in heaven?


Recruitment was never an industry to shy away from new technological advancements and tools that would help people do a better job. In fact, you might say that as far as the business world goes, recruiters and other people from the industry have traditionally been among the first to adopt new technologies and aids that made them more efficient and successful.

It is therefore no surprise that a number of recruitment companies and other people who work in the industry have started including big data in their conversations. Some people have already started tapping into the immeasurable pool of information that is big data, while others are still thinking of ways to put it to good use. The important thing is that it is becoming more than just a buzzword of the day.

Big Data Basics

Before we start talking about how big data and the recruitment industry work together, we should probably introduce the concept to readers who may have not heard of it before.

There is still no truly official and standardised definition of big data, but most experts agree that it denotes a set of data which is immense in size, which is being expanded at a very fast rate, and which provides a wide variety of insight, i.e. it is not just a huge amount of one and the same kind of data over and over again. In short, it is large, it is fast, and it is varied.

It goes without saying that the explosion of new technologies is the main reason for the emergence of big data, along with the digital storage methods and a relative availability of this data.

In any case, it is out there and the recruitment industry is taking notice.

Building the Perfect Hire

One of the most efficient and beneficial ways in which big data can be used by the recruitment industry is in “building” the perfect hire for a certain position.

Let’s imagine, for the purposes of this article, that a recruiter has to find someone for the position of the senior marketing analyst.

Big data, in theory, allows the recruiter to analyse a huge number of companies from all over the world, as well as their senior marketing analysts. Through the use of all this data and proper analysis, a recruiter can collate the traits, the strengths and the weaknesses of the perfect senior marketing analyst who will always fit perfectly and do their job to the satisfaction of their new employer.

This will dramatically increase customer satisfaction, as well as employee retention rates.

Enhancing the Candidate Strategies

In addition to improving their candidate targeting, recruiters can utilise big data to improve their entire approach to finding and interacting with candidates.

For example, thanks to the abundance of information that can be acquired by using big data, a recruiter can learn that there are particularly good months and even days in the week for finding IT technicians in a certain part of the country. The data might show that, for example, IT technicians from the Northeastern part of England are more likely to answer to a job ad on Tuesdays than any other day of the week. It may sound like science fiction and too much detailing, but it’s not.

Another great way for recruiters to improve their candidate outreach and communication is by tapping the big data potential of social media. The vast majority of people are on social media these days and the companies behind social networks often sell their data to companies that collate and pass on this data. A recruiter can learn so much by analysing this data which is natural and somewhat elusive, but always revealing.

Tracking Employee Success

As we all know, placing ones candidate should never be the only goal of a recruiter. A recruiter’s job is only done when said candidate becomes a valued member of an organisation with which they were placed, and when the said organisation is satisfied with the job the recruiter has done for them.

With big data, it’s far easier than ever before to analyse how ones placements are working out, how satisfied the employers are, and what can be done to improve these relationships. With good enough analysis of the right set of data, it is possible to identify patterns and trends which will provide the recruiter with insights that will improve their future efforts and make their placements even more successful.

Limitations of Big Data

Of course, if things were this simple, everyone would be doing it and everyone would be benefiting from big data, right?

There are a few reasons as to why big data is still not being used by absolutely everyone in the recruitment industry.

For one, it requires a bit of expertise, as well as the use of specialised business intelligence software which will allow recruiters to successfully put all this data to use. It can also be complicated to determine exactly where to go for data and which sets of it to acquire to maximise chances of success.

In addition to this, in order to fully utilise big data, one needs to formulate the right strategy and to know where to look and what to do with the patterns that become apparent.

It is as much art as it is science and it scares some people.

In the end, however, it is important to recognise that big data is becoming an integral part of the business world and the recruitment industry.

To ignore this would be a huge mistake.

James Burbank

James D. Burbank has spent a decade and a half in the trade show industry, seeing businesses all over the world succeed and fail. He has also seen innumerable facets of the employer-employee relationship. If you find the time, you can also check out his blog – BizzMarkBlog.

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