Big Bad Voodoo Big Data #BigDataHR

This week on Blogging4Jobs, we are focusing on the theme Big Data sponsored by Jibe. Jibe provides cloud-based recruiting technology solutions that enable talent acquisition teams to strategically identify, attract and engage candidates. Join us April 10th 2014 at 3pm to talk Big Data on Twitter using the hashtag #BigDataHR and join our webinar, “What’s the Big Deal with Big Data in HR & Recruiting” on April 17th at 11a EST. Follow the week by bookmarking us

Big Bad Voodoo Big Data

Past performance does not predict future performance, or so the sages say. However, past behaviors CAN predict future behaviors. Using personality data, a smart HR manager can: screen candidates for fit, provide a more unique onboarding experience, and customize learning and development plans to increase employee success.

“If you can measure it, you can manage it.” So in order to analyze this data, the HR manager must first capture it. There are many methods to measure someone’s personality ranging from under a minute to several hours. The primary mechanisms are: self-assessments, 360-degree assessments, correlation to social media data, and even video games.

In modern psychology scientists have proposed that each person has five top level personality traits and within each of those, six sub-traits. Called the Five Factor Model (FFM), these traits are: Openness to New Experiences, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (Emotional Stability). These make up what some call the O.C.E.A.N. of personality. Here is a visualization of the 30 sub-traits of the FFM and my own demonstration of them. The primary benefits of using the FFM within HR is that it has an active body of academic research building on it and as a person’s behaviors do not change significantly within a two year time period, the results of one assessment may be used multiple times and for a variety of purposes.

Screen Candidates for Fit

Turning the screening process on its head and going “fit first” will allow recruiters to spend more time with the people who are likely to succeed, and less time with the paper of their resume. There are 3 basic types of fit assessments: Person-Job Fit, Person-Group Fit, and Person-Organization Fit. Each of these has its own merits, and when combined with a skills and experience check, creates a comprehensive picture of how well a candidate will perform in that role, will work with that team, and will enjoy being a part of that company.

Create Personalized Onboarding Experiences

One of the simplest ways to improve a candidate’s onboarding experience is to tailor their number of first day introductions. An introverted person has greater sensitivity to being overstimulated through social interaction although they are just as likely to enjoy it as extraverts. If there are team-building exercises and activities, allow for breaks and some personal time so that introverted employees may regenerate in solitude or small groups. The book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking is a great resource for anyone who wishes to learn more about the needs and strengths of introverts (and extraverts as well).

Predict Sales Performance

Recent research by Wharton professor Adam Grant shows that ambiverts, those in the middle of the scale, have higher sales numbers than either extraverts OR introverts. If you close your eyes and imagine a sales person, more than likely you conjured up an overbearing and slick persona, perhaps Alec Baldwin from Glengarry Glen Ross (NSFW). Although contrary to popular thinking (and hiring and promoting within sales teams), this makes sense when analyzed further. Ambiverts can relate more easily to both extraverts and introverts, creating a stronger connection with the customer and an easier path to closing the deal.

Reduce Emotional Responses During Termination

Behavioral data and psychology can even help with the often-difficult process of terminating an employee. Research out of the University of Toronto has shown that human emotions are felt more strongly under bright lights. Dimming the bulbs of room can help them react more rationally. Knowing the demonstration level of the employee’s vulnerability and anger traits will also help to predict their response to the news. A person with a high demonstration of vulnerability may take the news as a statement about who they are as a person and so extra clarification and empathy may be needed.

As big data continues to find its way into the workplace and our daily lives, HR managers will be able to utilize it to not only find the best candidates to hire, but shape the direction of an employee’s growth within the organization and perhaps even, their termination. That recently freed employee will use that same data to find their next role, and join the team that is searching for just their type of… special.

Posted in

Ravi Mikkelsen

Ravi Mikkelsen is the CEO and cofounder of jobFig, an HR focused behavioral analytics startup in San Francisco, CA. A lifelong entrepreneur and nomad, he has been involved with startups in three countries on two continents and has lived in 9 different cities. Connect with Ravi.


Pin It on Pinterest