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Finding a job today is no easy task. Yes, recent technological advancements have seemingly made the process much easier and more user-friendly, but when looking at other variables, it may now be more complicated than ever. Although it is easy to post your resume on a job board online, it is also just as easy for someone to overlook that very resume. As job seekers and recruiters continue their respective searches in earnest, a new tool is quickly rising to the top as a way to find the best people for the right positions: big data. Surprised? I wasn’t either, considering big data is expected to be a $232 billion industry by 2016. The trick that can give you an advantage over the competition is knowing exactly how big data can be used for recruiting and job searching.

So, how are recruiters using big data to find their qualified candidates? Instead of scouring through the sometimes thousands of resumes from a single online opening, companies are engaging in what is often called people analytics. This method essentially applies big data analytics practices to a field of perspective job seekers. Businesses are doing this by employing big data technologies, parsing through applicants’ data and enabling more convenient, faster searches based on a predetermined list of criteria the business is looking for.

Another method companies are using involves creating social profiles. Through developing ‘profiles’ on potential candidates, businesses are able to identify details about skills, attitudes, interests, and patterns of behavior from looking at sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They can then determine if these factors align with those of current and future job openings. This then allows recruiters to reach out to these people, and even follow them on social media if necessary.

Companies are also using big data for recruiting in a way we may be more familiar with- collecting data from resume databases, employment records, and even business cards.

One critique of this big data approach to hiring is that it creates numbers and algorithms out of people, ultimately taking away the human element. Supporters counter this argument, saying a heavy use of big data removes evaluator bias and takes factors like race, gender, and religion out of the equation. Even so, supporters of this approach do say big data should only be used as an initial evaluation tool and that interviews should still be conducted in person.

Supportive of big data’s new role in recruitment or not, it’s good to know that it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Now, take advantage of big data and use it to get noticed!


Learn more about Big Data and analytics here.

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