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Big Data: An ‘Easy Button’ for Recruiting? Why It’s Not as Crazy as It Sounds

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an ‘easy button’ when it came to recruiting? A way to pinpoint exactly where the candidates you need are hiding? A litmus test to predict which candidates will be successful in your organization? A navigation device to show you where you need to focus your recruiting efforts and what message you need to send to bring in a better quantity and quality of applicants? Well, your dreams may soon become a reality…

“Big data is like an easy button,” says Rob Wittes, manager of business intelligence development in CareerBuilder’s Information Technology department, of what can be both a blessing and a curse for companies trying to turn out better products and gain a competitive edge. Big data, Wittes explains, “is really just a term for what’s been around for a long time, which is multi-structured data.”

The beauty of big data is its ability to help organizations collect more accurate and detailed information about their customers than ever before, which in turn helps them enhance their product and service offerings. “People are trying to understand their customers better than ever – from the services they want to how they buy,” Wittes says. Big data helps with that.

The problem so many companies run into with big data, however, is making sense of all of the data that is available. In fact, data – for all its potential – is a major source of anxiety among many business leaders: In a recent IBM study of 1,700 Chief Marketing Officers, data explosion ranked as the top challenge CMOs face today, with 70 percent reporting feeling unprepared to deal with its impact. And it’s no wonder CMOs feel overwhelmed: If Google’s former CEO, Eric Schmidt, is to be believed, we’re now creating as much information every two days as we did from the dawn of civilization to 2003. (Yep, you read that right.)

But thanks to newly generated and ever-evolving tools and technologies (such as Hadoop), companies can collect these different pieces of data, store it in one place, and then run queries and analyze it to understand their customers and their businesses better than ever before, according to Wittes.

CareerBuilder is among those companies leveraging big data to meet customers’ needs. “At CareerBuilder, we’ve amassed large amounts of data around the recruiting process and job candidate profiles,” Wittes explains. “The ability to merge those elements, using big data products and architectures, have yielded us the ability to innovate toward products that help clients understand how this data benefits them, and how to harness this data in order to improve the way they recruit.”

One innovation in particular is CareerBuilder’s Supply & Demand Portal, which is designed to help employers leverage data on labor market trends – not simply accumulate more of it.  “People don’t need more data. They need more intelligence,” says Abdel Tefridj, vice president of workforce analytics at CareerBuilder. Tefridj has long been working with employers to make sense of the data contained in the Supply & Demand Portal. When used correctly, it enables companies to find information on everything from who they’re competing with for top talent to where candidates are most – and least – available.

“The beauty of Google and Apple is, they make using data and technology look so simple,” Tefridj says, referring to the way Google makes it easy for people to quickly run search queries and get results – without having to think about the complicated logarithms and analytics that take place behind the scenes in order to generate those results. Tefridj’s vision is to have the Supply & Demand Portal be for employers what Google is for the average search engine user: a way to quickly and easily answer virtually any recruitment-related question.

For human resources professionals, having this talent intelligence not only gives them access to needed information about where to allocate their budgets, but it also gives them credibility in the board room. In a recent study from the Hackett Group, a remarkable 79 percent of companies reported dissatisfaction with the HR support they receive for collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Human resources professionals can and should utilize the vast amount of recruitment intelligence (such as that contained in the Supply & Demand Portal and other data-based recruitment resources) to start a meaningful conversation about how this intelligence can enhance their recruitment efforts and ultimately affect the bottom line.

The Bottom Line on Big Data
Perhaps IBM’s Arvind Krishna said it best when he wrote, “Navigating big data to uncover the right information is a key challenge for all industries. The winners in the era of big data will be those who unlock their information assets to drive innovation, make real-time decisions, and gain actionable insights to be more competitive.” That statement is as relevant to business growth as it is to recruitment – and to your own professional future. Simply put: if you’re not willing to get behind big data, be prepared to get left behind.

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
4 comments

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