Is Big Data Changing Recruiting?

Document created by 1050210 on Nov 13, 2014
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Published Date: 06/23/2014


Reneé Watkins

By Reneé Watkins


Technological advances are continuing to evolve, creating a phenomenon known as “Big Data.” Big Data is often thought of as large volumes of digital information. However, other components of Big Data include velocity and variety. Big Data is comprised of data from any number of internal and external sources, being accessed at breakneck speed, in multiple formats.


Specific to Human Resources, you may have a data pool consisting of thousands of internally collected and stored resumes, coupled with access to any number of online resume databases, all of which are connected to the various social media outlets. Now, fold in online links to employment records, background checks and job applications. This is a tremendous amount of information at your fingertips, creating a very powerful recruiting tool – if you can get the data out of it in a meaningful way.


Regardless of the centralization of this wealth of information within your technology, it is still the recruiter who is central to the process at this point. Having the data is all fine and good, but analyzing this data and being able to separate the relevant from the irrelevant on a position-by-position basis is key to identifying and qualifying the proper candidate.


The role a recruiter plays in an organization is changing. Before, a recruiter needed to expend their energies hunting down the various pieces of information that define a candidate. To do this, recruiters knew exactly what pieces of information were relevant to the position and could hunt only that information. Now, the information is sometimes automatically gathered and stored. Moreover, additional information that may have nothing to do with the candidate’s qualifications may also be collected. This extraneous information may serve to simply “clutter” the process and must be sifted through in order to make an informed decision regarding an applicant.


This requires some specific expertise that can only be found in the human element. Big Data is definitely an integral part of the recruiting process in today’s world. However, there will always be a need for a capable, experienced recruiter to sort through and analyze the data. Even with concrete, factual data regarding an applicant’s experience and education, there are still going to be “gray areas” with respect to an applicant’s perceived ability to adapt to the corporate culture, their desire to advance in responsibility and willingness to perform as a team player. This is where the human factor must come into play and where a recruiter relies on his or her experience and expertise to make an informed decision.