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How is big data changing the way companies recruit?

Big Data is one of the latest buzz words in recruitment. The phrase has been coined due to the growth of our lives online and the ability to capture and manipulate data like never before. There is certainly no doubt that big data will be the future of recruiting, as it offers an unparalleled opportunity to make the most informed and intuitive decisions when searching for the best candidates we have ever seen.

So how does data-based recruiting work?

Recruiters today have open access to our lives online. Every time we go online we leave a footprint which allows recruiters to analyse and interpret our lives and our engagements. Our likes, dislikes, habits and thoughts all build an online personality which is readily interpretable to recruiters.

Recruiters can comb the internet for data collection, utilising sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter whilst also reviewing CVs, scanned business cards and databases. However, the reach is much further as often tests and games can be deployed to analyse candidates, measuring reactions and answers for ideal patterns and skill sets.

Once the data is gathered the algorithms go to work. The optimal result is a narrowing of an initial candidate pool to candidates who demonstrate the proclivity and experience most suited to the role. This is not by any means an automated process where masses of data can be fed to a computer, there is still a large human element needed to break down the results and interpret what the algorithms produce.

The great benefit of using big data in recruitment is the results are quantifiable and companies and recruiters are taking notice. Xerox recently utilised big data tools to recruit for its 48,700 person call centre. The results over a six month period were impressive and led to the attrition rate being cut by 20% and to the decision to keep using big data to recruit employees going forward.

Whilst big data certainly is an exciting development for recruitment it does require caution as whilst the technology is an asset there is still the need for the human element. Big data allows recruiters to profile and analysis candidates, however you do need the right tools and of course the right recruiters to analyse the data and find and fully engage the closely aligned candidates.

Big data allows recruiters to source talent that traditional methods cannot and when utilised properly the evidence shows that candidates stay longer, work happier and ultimately help a business recoup the cost of hiring, allow for faster training and does so in a more assured way.