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Recruitment technology

How to Make the Most of Big Data

Clare Hopping

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Big data is becoming increasingly important for recruiters as they try to find the best talent and stay ahead of the competition.

Many HR professionals can't take full advantage of the information available at their fingertips. In this post, we consider how best to implement big data to its greatest effect.

Recruiters now have access to vast amounts of information they can use to secure the best talent.

However, although many HR professionals are aware that this information, often called big data, exists, few are harnessing it and maximising its utility.

Big Data Explained

Sometimes described as the future of recruiting, big data allows companies to track the performance of their recruitment campaigns and use their findings to inform and streamline decisions, as Alegis describes.

Smart Data Collective claims that big data provides recruiters with insights into when to hire, how many people to hire, and whom to hire, while keeping costs low, increasing the efficiency of the process, and widening the pool of candidates.

Previously, companies could only assess the value of their recruitment retrospectively, by which time it may have been too late to address any problems. Big data encourages a proactive approach.

Regardless of technological advancements, analysing large amounts of data can seem a daunting task when a proper plan has not been put in place. So, how should recruiters use big data to find talent?

Insight from Job Boards

Jeffrey Zeldman/Flickr Jeffrey Zeldman/Flickr

According to The Undercover Recruiter, job boards are evolving to provide a gold mine of information for employers and talent acquisition professionals.

Since job boards refer 10-20% of hires, recruiters need to make sure that they are posting notices anywhere great candidates are looking, according to Smart Data Collective.

Job boards can educate recruiters on how well they are ranking, the best day and time to post jobs, job titles and keywords with the highest click through rate, hiring trends and patterns, and how their ads are performing compared to their competition.

With this information, recruiters will be able to determine how variably difficult it will be to fill a specific position in a certain office ahead of time, or the best day of the week to post on a particular job board to attract the best talent. Similarly, this valuable insight gives recruiters the opportunity to quickly adapt their course of action and strategies before anything goes wrong.

Social Media Performance

Along with measuring the performance of job boards, recruiters can also analyse how successful their social media presence is. This is particularly important as the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn gain popularity as recruitment tools.

Recruiters should also consider what posts yield the greatest engagement on which platforms and why, along with the best time of day to post on each of their social pages.

Estimating Staff Numbers

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Organisations that have mountains of internal data and a large workforce can use big data analysis to determine how many employees are needed now and forecast how many will be needed in the future, says The Undercover Recruiter. This is exactly what computing giant IBM did, when the company analysed data from its HR database and global services billing database to predict shortfalls in critical talent areas.

How Other Companies Use Big Data

Another company, Royal Dutch Shell asked candidates to play two video games and analysed the data they gathered to determine which of them would be better at creative thinking and generating ideas. The game highlighted the candidates’ ability to demonstrate persistence, creativity, and to learn from mistakes, says the Smart Data Collective.

The Future Role of Recruiters

There is no denying that big data is an invaluable source of information for companies, but it will never replace the critical functions recruiters perform.

As new technology takes hold, recruiters will still offer competitive intelligence and talent identification. After all, recruitment is and always will be about finding people, which requires emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills that machines and equipment cannot match.

In fact, recruiters should not fear big data or other technological advancements, as these tools are designed to make their lives easier and more successful.

Technology for Recruitment

Bob Mical/Flickr Bob Mical/Flickr

The 2014 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey, as cited by a global survey of 1,048 companies, found that one in three companies plans to spend more on technology in the coming year.

Alongside this, UK Recruiter reveals video interviewing is becoming increasingly popular.

Launchpad Recruits’ video interviewing platform is easy to use and allows recruiters to screen candidates infinitely more effectively than by sifting through a pile of CVs.

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.