Employers Use Big Data Tools to Find Their Match

Although some recruiters say more companies are focusing on college degrees in their recruiting, there’s another factor candidates have to contend with: How they’re using Big Data and predictive analytics in their recruiting. When they do, experience and education can take a backseat to creativity and attitude.

Basically, this means that instead of relying on gut instinct, companies are using data modeling to predict who’s likely to succeed or fail on an analysis of the turnover, performance and attributes of successful employees in similar roles.

They’re also looking at personality traits, commute times and even a candidate’s attitude toward alcohol to decide who’s likely to quit or miss time from work. In fact, the use of personality tests and other pre-hire assessments is soaring as employers find new ways to interpret and apply the data.

For instance, when hiring a Web developer a company may prioritize high test scores for creativity and problem solving over experience. Or, it may pass on a potential technical trainer role based on the way he or she deals with conflict or frequent interruptions.

So how do you keep an algorithm from thwarting your search?

  • Do Your Homework:Network with current employees to find out how a company uses Big Data to hire or reward workers. Companies usually share the results of surveys and focus groups and publicize initiatives that are designed to improve morale and retention. Also, during interviews ask HR about the company’s approach.
  • Take Practice Tests: See whether your personality aligns with your desired role. You may need to study the logic and methodology behind pre-hire tests to improve your score.
  • Study the Job Description: Address behaviors and attributes listed in the job description when tailoring your resume or answering behavioral interview questions. Don’t underestimate the importance of soft skills and attitude even if you’re applying for a highly technical role.

Wide Impact

The spread of data as a hiring tool is being felt in a lot of ways. IBM’s recent acquisition of Kenexa for $1.3 billion, Oracle’s $1.9 billion purchase of Taleo and SAP’s $3.4 billion acquisition of SuccessFactors proves that big tech companies are jumping into talent management.

In that discipline, the hiring process is only the tip of the iceberg. Companies review employee engagement scores, performance ratings and retention rates to assess the impact of raises and other perks. If an analysis shows that higher salaries won’t prevent software engineers from defecting, they may change the work environment or hire new managers. Or they may scale back raises for tech support employees once they’ve recouped their $5,000 hiring and training costs. Instead of across-the-board increases, they’re strategically allocating funds.

Image: Big Brother Total Control by Bigstock

9 Responses to “Employers Use Big Data Tools to Find Their Match”

  1. I hope you’re wrong. I can’t imagine a more horrible situation where people are analyzed to death. Let’s hope things change for a more humanist approach, or the sick, controlling, overbearing, overmanaged, structure collapses.

    • Leslie Stevens-Huffman

      Employers need to balance data with human intelligence if they truly want to make great hires. What’s changed is that they’re finally incorporating data when they used to make hiring and compensation decisions on gut instinct and rather limited feedback. Since people aren’t machines it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Stay tuned!

      • I would like to give you (Dice Authors, and Dice Corporate) my opinion about the focus of your posts for the IT profession.

        I qualify my opinion on 40 years of software development, and two degrees (1972) from accredited universities.

        Currently our country is going through great turmoil. There are many unknowns. IMO, the content of Dice reporting does nothing to soothe or advance the confidence of the IT labor force, that is visiting your web site (the way you get paid). When I read many of the reporters’ posts I find them either depressing, or “I gotta tell you about another way mega-corps are going to analyze your…. ass..”. My secondary thought is “since you have never worked as a software developer, what the hell do you know?” Another words, I dismiss all the drivel you’ve written, as a copy of a press release.

        Educated, thinking people need good, consistent jobs. They need not be poked, tested, analyzed, out sourced, etc. IMO you are creating a very negative environment for IT.

        In a positive vein, you need to encourage employers to interview more candidates, understand that older, experienced programmers have a wealth of knowledge. Dispel the silliness that they have to have the ‘perfect person’, and be willing to train qualified candidates. If they cannot afford to train (another words they want to steal someone who was paid by someone else) they cannot afford to be in business.

        People need to have lives, and life is a continuum. It’s really not about the next ‘hot’ language.

    • Leslie Stevens-Huffman

      Dear Steve,

      I wouldn’t call it gaming the system. Job seekers will be more successful if they understand the screening process and craft a strategy to navigate the system. Our goal is to inform and level the playing field which is why I write these posts for Dice.

      Good luck.

  2. Don’t make me laugh!!

    How does “Big Data” pick up aptitude? Oh, you take some “personality” tests! Plus, IBM endorses it! So somebody cranks out a couple of hundred words to be the scaffolding of a process to post a bunch of advertising for Dice.com.

    Many technical recruiters, HR execs, and hiring managers have been reduced to acronym counters and personality test monitors. Good frigging luck on having that process be the source of some good solid technological innovation. Now the “Big Data” geniuses have automated that silly process.

    Sometimes innovators have a quirky personality and create resume devoid of useless acronyms. The ability to memorize the semantics of JavaScript often has nothing to do with aptitude to crank out abstract processes. This story may be useful to Dice for some advertising scaffolding, but has little to do with reality.

    • This is all so silly. Honestly, it’s just a computer program. Name, address, items in shopping cart. I can’t believe how blown out of proportion this has become.

      I think Dice’s focus may be that they are trying to drive people to having their resumes rewritten, personal web sites, etc. They may be constructing a ‘reality’ for those who will bite on that kind of crap – desperate people.

      Let me tell you how bad it is…… But I can help you…. Get it?

      PS: See my better post below.

      • Leslie Stevens-Huffman

        Dear DougB,

        Don’t shoot the messenger. We’re just reporting what we see. And no, our intent is not to cause despair or send you scurrying to the nearest resume shop. That’s why we provide free samples and resume critiques on Dice Discussions. By the way, injecting data and employee feedback into the talent management arena is long overdue, in my opinion. If you’ve ever received a frozen turkey instead of a bonus check at the end of the year– you know what I mean.

        Good luck.