The irony is obvious – we work recruiting Big Data professionals, but we still use little overt (big) data in our processes. I’m not convinced that recruitment is still quite ready for the big data revolution – particularly in niche sectors, so what are the issues holding us back? Surely there are multiple ways of using more data in our recruitment decisions?
For me, much of the benefit will come when data is mobilized to analyze the compatibility of actual past achievements with future requirements. If the 'cloud' contains all the details of every career achievement of every professional in a given field, it’ll be relatively easy to draw some in-depth conclusions.
A hiring company will be able to key in the crucial projects that they would like you to undertake, and they’ll be able to see how compatible your current career has been. They’ll be able to create a 'heat map' of the companies where you have worked – understanding the common cultural and professional qualities that were valued. Needless to say, they’ll be able to quickly build a personality profile from your social media activity and probably even analyze the language in your emails to assess your relationships with colleagues…an interesting thought.
All this data will be priceless, but will it ever replace an in-depth chat with a candidate? I don’t think so. It’s one thing for a recruiter to interview a candidate and make a decision regarding their suitability, but it’s another thing entirely for the potential hiring manager to sit down with them. Nothing will ever be able to replace the subtleties of human interactions, and no amount of data will be able to replace that gut feel of “I think she’s a good fit for us.”
This is one of the key challenges for the big data industry. In the commercial world, where business is done on a human-to-human basis, we’re so used to this interaction that putting data first will not happen for a very long time (if at all). We have to learn to trust it, and we won’t give up on our millennia of interpersonal skills in a hurry. Data will remain a nice to have in many instances, and it will only truly explode when we get the sense that it is making our decisions that extra 20% or 30% better.
I don’t think that day is too far away, especially with the current advances in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, but I can understand why big data isn’t dominating recruitment or any other more “human” industries just yet. Clever algorithms will make manufacturing and supply chain instantly more efficient. They’ll assist in financial services, healthcare and e-commerce to name but a few more. But recruitment is a little different – we deal with people, and they are pretty hard to reduce down to a binary code.
I’m sure that Big Data will have an increasingly significant effect, and hopefully, at Big Cloud, we’ll be at the forefront, but it won’t be the ultimate solution.
People are just that little bit too complex.