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Why is big data important for recruitment managers?

Posted on 4/02/2016 by Jason Rumney


Big data is not just for high-flying tech startups and large multinationals. Any company can develop a competitive advantage by leveraging data in the right way. Those who don’t risk,risk falling even further behind, even becoming irrelevant. I've noticed the uptake of big data among recruiters has been slow compared to other areas, however  we are starting to see a rapid shift in attitudes towards data and analytics among talent acquisition.

So just how useful is big data to recruitment? It can help with everything from predicting hiring needs in real-time, to improving the quality and retention of new hires, and even connecting recruiting performance with business performance.

So what should talent acquisition leaders expect from big data in 2016 regardless of how well they utilize data now? Capgemini and EMC released a new study, Big & Fast Data: The Rise of Insight-Driven Business, and it’s full of insights for any business division.

1. 65% of senior leaders say they risk becoming irrelevant and/or uncompetitive if they do not utilize big data

The survey interviewed roughly 1,000 senior executives and decision-makers representing nine industries and 10 countries. And two-thirds recognize the danger they face if they do not embrace big data initiatives. In addition, 59% feel the data they currently collect is a core aspect of their company’s value.

Companies that apply data and analytics to their recruitment strategies can reach more quality candidates and attract them more efficiently than their data-deprived competitors. A lack of big data can make your products uncompetitive in the same way it can make your hiring methods irrelevant.

2. 37% of respondents blamed the shortage of skilled staff as a top barrier to collecting and analyzing big data

Businesses can’t simply flip a switch and watch data start rolling in.Systems need to be updated or installed that can collect, process, and analyze the insights you want. Some companies develop a data team to provide analytics for the entire business, while others train data specialists in each division.

The Capgemini study also found that 43% of leaders are already restructuring their organizations, and 33% created new C-level roles, to take advantage of the growth in big data. Recruiters can demonstrate their importance to the business by applying data-driven hiring methods to finding the best data specialists.

3. An additional 33% blamed the high cost of storing and managing large data sets

This is a cost every business division should keep in mind, including Talent Acquisition. Luckily the expense continues to fall as big data technology improves. But the rapid pace of technological changes means the integration and management of big data systems should be continuously reviewed.

A related issue here is the time it takes to process large sets of data–a barrier highlighted by 32% of survey respondents. The more agile your big data storage systems are, the more easily your team can access and analyze the data. This can be crucial to recruiters who need to fill an unexpected vacancy, or who need to support rapidly growing teams.


4. 64% of senior leaders say big data is shifting the boundaries of traditional businesses

Anyone with the right tools can start collecting and using big data, allowing non-traditional businesses and providers to make inroads in industries like never before. Just think of how Uber managed to upend the traditional taxi model.

The same shift can apply to talent acquisition, as younger companies with less cachet to their name leverage recruitment technology to attract top talent. Social recruiting, job alerts, mobile-friendly applications–just about every company can use these tools to source candidates today. Recruiting leaders need to keep an eye out not just for data-driven competitors, but also for companies around the world with data-driven recruitment methods.

As recruiters adopt more big data strategies and hire more data analysts for their business, they should stress the importance of up-to-date and accurate IT systems that can process every team’s data needs. It’s just one of the many ways talent acquisition teams can leverage big data to demonstrate their strategic importance to their company.