Big Data is a term that can’t be escaped these days. Whatever it is you need to know – if your data is big enough then you’ll find the answer. Yet it remains a term shrouded in confusion with many in the recruitment sector secretly skeptical as to what Big Data can help them achieve.
Recruitment Grapevine spoke to Sally-Anne Rogers, Brand and Communication Manager at jobstheword.co.uk, to see if she could help bust some Big Data myths.
Myth No 1 Big Data Is Just A Buzzword and Meaningless
The buzzword part is certainly true, but big data in itself is not meaningless. The term has simply been overused by so many because it is ‘on trend’, which is why it is now viewed by some as pure hype.
Big data has been around for decades – some would argue even longer – but what is new in recruitment, is the very latest in technological advances that enable us to marry the work of those with expert analytical skills, with that of those with an in-depth knowledge of the industry. Putting these experts in the driving seat enables them to formulate real business value through the analysis of massive amounts of data freely available on the Internet.
However, managing big data on a technology level is one thing, managing big data so that it supports business goals successfully is another. Algorithms are generally stated as the ‘big secret’ but there are very few base algorithms. It is the exploration of finding the right mix, along with the application of the right type of intelligence, which is key.
Myth No 2 Big Data Will Replace In-House Recruiters
Absolutely not, it will simply free up recruiters’ time so they can do the job that adds value to their organization – promoting the brand and attracting talent.
Imagine not having to trawl through hundreds of CVs, or search endless social media profiles, with a hiring manager breathing down your neck. Imagine just uploading a job spec and have the perfect people come to you with the right qualifications and experience, along with a map to show where they are located.
This is the real power of big data. It could be that for niche roles recruiters are fishing in an empty pond, in which case big data technology can pinpoint on a map to show them where they reside, or even if they exist.
Big data technology will release recruiters from the shackles of search, enabling them to form meaningful relationships with those interested in applying for their roles.
Myth No 3 Big Data Is All About Size
It is not just about size, but also about complexity. To call anything ‘big data’ a combination of both is required. The complexity of any data set is an important factor in the decision as to whether it is big data; no matter how large the organisation, their data sets are not always complex. Big data only deals with unpredictable and unstructured information, which cannot be organised or analysed using traditional database technology.
Myth No 4 Our HR Analytics Is Big Data
Most HR systems are unlikely to fall into the category of big data. HR analytics is a popular topic, but it is usually based on predictable structures. Just because you have a bigger organisation with lots of data in an HR system, coupled with insight from social media platforms, does not mean you are using big data.
Myth No 5 Big Data Means Big Brother
Not according to Chris Hoyt, Pepsico’s Talent Engagement and Marketing Leader. He says his people understand they are accountable and their performance needs to be measured. Recruiters at Pepsico see it as a great tool for keeping themselves on track.
The Reality of Big Data
Big Data is about acquiring and making sense of very large unstructured, unpredictable data. The real power of big data is finding the needle in the haystack. Imagine trying to solve this question asked by your hiring manager:
'Find me people today with the skills we need, who will fit our organisation, and are currently working for our competitors, all within 30 miles of our offices. Then invite ten of them into our talent pipeline.'
There are recruitment technology companies emerging that can now solve this exact problem.
Image courtesy of wiki author calvinius