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Big data, better talent acquisition

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By S J Raj

Modern-day hiring practices have evolved a great deal than what was before. While earlier, it used to be through newspaper advertisements or billboards or even hiring newsletters. It then started to change with the onset of the Internet where vacancies were published online, giving rise to online job portals or sourcing and shortlisting CVs.

While these methods are still relevant in today’s time, it may not be easy to find the right candidate with all the desired skills even with all the HR and recruiting software in place. Given the enormity of recruiting channels, growing job complexities and varied skillsets giving way to a rapid expansion of candidate diversity and job databases, the current methods may not be as effective in today’s time. Especially when one needs the candidates who can align themselves with the company’s ethos. So we can say that the Human Resource Management’s quest for the best talent is not an easy one. Enter: Big Data

We’ve all seen the tremendous effect Big Data makes to businesses ranging from banking, healthcare and manufacturing to even predicting the climate. Organizations across industries are looking at leveraging big data in a number of business segments. Human Resources is one such area where it can be leveraged as a recruitment tool to make better hiring decisions based on scientific methods. One can begin from sourcing candidates’ profiles, analysing their skillsets and evaluating basis key metrics, something which is not just hiring, but strategic hiring.

The goal is to enhance outreach to potential candidates, thereby increasing efficiency in the overall process and reducing time spent on segregating, selecting and finalizing the ideal applicant from the rest. In fact, the toughest part of any recruitment process is not interviewing but identifying and screening candidates from a large pool of applicants. The goal is to get a high-quality match of jobs description to the resumes of probable candidates. Of course, as easy as it may sound, it’s not just about matching the right keywords and voila! There goes in a lot of technological algorithms to make the hiring process more effective and agile.

For instance, just like an employee’s performance is not merely calculated basis the resume, but a 360-degree review from reporting management, peers and subordinates. Similarly, a number of factors are to be considered before finalizing a candidate. When hiring, personality traits and cognitive abilities are just as important as the skillset. It may happen that the candidature of a college dropout or a person working with not a well-known brand turns out to be a better fit than an Ivy-League graduate. Another example can be of a candidate whose resume shows frequent job hopping. Now, in a normal scenario, the recruiter might not be willing to hire such a person, owing to the lack of loyalty to the company, but with data technologies, it may turn out that the candidate performs better than most long-term employees.

Big data can be used to churn various dimensions of one’s personality via various channels such as the resume, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. and help recruiters determine who would be a good fit for the organization, Psychometric tests are another example to determine the personality traits. The bottom line is, with so much of data at one’s disposal, it gets quite tricky to manually scavenge for the right factors and match it to the metrics manually. Of course, the final decision to hire someone will lie with the human resources team, however, big data can save them a lot of time and effort by narrowing down the candidates to a select and relevant few, thereby freeing up time for focusing on other HR activities.

Big Data tools allow you to crunch data in more ways than ever. With over 500 million users on LinkedIn alone, one can imagine the amount of data and resumes which recruiters have access to. With recruitment becoming one of the critical business strategies, companies are on the lookout for new best practices which can help them find an ideal workforce, giving that competitive advantage in the long run and big data is surely one of them.

(The author is the Senior VP, HR, Newgen Software)

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]


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