The #BigDataHR Manifesto: Time for a New Way of HR & Recruiting

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

I’m knee deep analyzing and building and mapping workflows for a special project I’m working on evaluating big data. It’s exciting, interesting but incredibly hard and overwhelming for me to understand, evaluate and quantify. The information makes me feel less than awesome and uncomfortable making me feel extremely vulnerable and less than qualified.

I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. I want to avoid the uncomfortable and go back to the established way of doing things and yet I push on forward by asking questions, reading and attending events to wrap my mind about how big data is being used in other ways.

Pushing Beyond the Recruiting & HR Spreadsheet

Big data is more than the Excel spreadsheet I’ve come to rely on in my 14 years of HR and recruiting experience. It’s more involved, complex and extremely satisfying.

As I’m building workflows to establish the process in which we will evaluate our big data, we have to have a plan to collect it first. What data sources matter and how might they help us with our established hypothesis. This means understanding the data points we want to pull from, evaluate and understand along with plans in how we are going to use or analyze the data.

It’s completely crazy, overwhelming and mind-boggling. I’ve never been more excited about a work project in my life.

Living here in Silicon Valley, I’m surrounded by smart PhD’s, data scientists and amazing engineers. In fact, I’m heading to a data scientist meet up next week. I’m certain I will be the only one attending who doesn’t have a background in engineering or a PhD. My education is that of a typical HR practitioner, not a data engineer or scientists. If these guys have to wield Ivy League degrees in order to analyze and find patterns in data what does that mean? What it means is that I’m enrolling in a free summer machine learning course offered by Stanford to really establish a baseline understanding.

For big data to be useful, interesting and approachable for HR and recruiters, we have to get out of our comfort zones and try something new. We have to evolve, push ourselves and commit to learning new things. Do I know if the data will support my gut feelings and the old way of doing things. I have no idea and that is what’s exciting.

What is Big Data in HR and Human Capital? I Mean Really?

Big data is more than a few statistics or information that you pull from a dashboard, your ATS or social networks. It’s the sum of possibly 25, 50 or even hundreds of data points with thousands or millions of actual data or information being collected to help establish a better process, expected outcome based on patterns instead of just following what we know to be true because it’s bigger than you and me.

Over the next few months, I, personally will be collecting potentially millions of data looking at social network updates, company mentions, job seeker profiles, online reviews and job postings. It’s time for our industry to embrace analytics, data and information to make for a better business partner at our companies.

Bringing the Science of Work to Our Industry

If HR and recruiters want to truly be recognized as business partners, corporate innovators and game changers, we have to step out from behind our Excel spreadsheets, look at the world from the bigger picture to find the answers to better hiring, employee retention and developing an understanding of our workforce that no employee survey, exit interview or focus group can bring. Bring on the big data in HR and the winds of change to driving creativity, science and innovation to an entire industry.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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