Recruiting the right candidate for a position is a time-consuming task. HR spends a few weeks to several months sourcing applications, evaluating candidates and shortlisting individuals. This effort is tantamount to finding the legendary needle in a haystack. Recruiters and HR teams have to still manually sift through applications to shortlist the right candidates. Industry averages estimate that HR teams spend up to 85% of their time on administrative activities and only 15% on strategic value-adding activities central to their organizations.
Through Big Data Analytics, many of these chores are being automated and holistic evaluation of candidates’ profiles is being performed by aggregating datasets that cannot be manually performed. Such an approach is shortening the recruitment cycle and freeing up HR departments to focus on strategic growth initiatives.
Though companies have been leveraging data for strategic and operational decision making for decades, recruitment is an area that has been slow to evolve. Privacy laws, regulations and governance structures have traditionally restricted HR from embracing applicants’ online data in the recruitment process but Big Data has changed the game.
The recruitment landscape is changing as social networks and career sites are eliminating information asymmetries and empowering job applicants and HR personnel alike. Furthermore, both the companies and candidates are increasingly acknowledging the power of Big Data and embracing recruiting and job hunting technological efficiencies.
Today, applicants have a comprehensive digital footprint that is their first impression to recruitment professionals. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks combined with blogs, blog comments, forum content and finally online resumes capture a candidate’s inclinations and behavior over an extended period of time. This online data captures a candidate's interests, leadership traits and standing in a social network, affiliations, behavioral traits through peer interaction, collaboration characteristics, teamwork, etc. These online signatures are distinct differentiators and crucial variables in candidate evaluation.
For example, consider an opening for a Social Media Marketer where all candidates share similar educational and professional qualifications, have experience in online marketing and belong to the same social networks. Despite these common denominators, an applicant with a Klout score above 60 is better networked and considered an “influencer” compared to a candidate with similar qualifications, but with a lower Klout score.
Klout scores quantify social media interactions and scores are earned over a period of time. Similarly, a Data Scientist with a pedigree of participation and wins in Kaggle contests would most likely have earned the credibility as a Subject Matter Expert and have a significant standing in the data science community. Such accolades, which summarize social, behavioral and functional qualifications, are more representative of a candidate’s credentials, which help HR personnel identify the right candidate.
Though we are towards the beginning of the Big Data Era, there is no doubt that Big Data Analytics could eventually deliver the benefits it promises. Through HR Analytics using Big Data, Key Performance Indicators relevant for the company or the job opening could be defined and the corresponding data automatically sourced and used to immediately identify the right talent. The chosen metrics could also be used to create data visualization dashboards, establish statistical significance among metrics, reveal correlations and insights from data and also present further evaluation metrics that recruiters may potentially have overlooked. By attributing relative weights to the various metrics, the perfect candidate could be found in seconds instead of weeks or months.
These metrics and systems offer immense benefits to HR but keep in mind that overuse of such a framework could also lead to abuse. Conscious, well-informed and structured approaches to recruitment and solid corporate HR policies with adherence to the legal requirements around data privacy are all important considerations a firm has to make before employing Big Data Analytics into the HR department.