Making Big Data Work for You #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 data is carving out its place in the HR industry and many recruiters, HR professionals, firms and departments are figuring out how to make it work for them. This is both the challenge and opportunity of big data: finding out how to use it in the way that makes the most sense for you and your organization. Since each business is different, you’ll have to evaluate what types of big data are beneficial to the nature of your business and the tasks you pursue. Once you’ve determined which types of big data will work for you, it’s time to think about how you’ll use the insight to guide your decision-making. It may take some trial and error to find what works for you, or you start small and do your homework to see how each piece can impact you. Either way, when you find that sweet spot of mastering big data, it becomes a tool that can have a significant, positive impact on your day to day.

Making Big Data Work for You #BigDataHR


The truth is, every business goes through a discovery period in which they explore big data and all it has to offer. To put your own big data journey in perspective, take a look at these three companies who are doing it right. They’ve discovered which gathering methods work best for them, what types of data are most effective and how to use it in a way that makes a difference.


In short, Amazon is the king of big data in retail environments, or for just about any other industry as well. The company gathers information on its more than 150 million users and utilizes it in a number of ways, with the most notable being product recommendations. The reason Amazon is such a master of big data, though, isn’t necessarily the amount of data they gather but the ways in which it’s used. For instance, their customer service representatives have all that data available at the click if a mouse, enabling them to provide the most thorough assistance. 

The Takeaway

Gathering information about your current employees, from their strengths to past experience to their level of leadership ability in data form can assist with succession planning, project assignments, targeted recruiting in the future and more.


It’s no secret that Netflix relies heavily on big data, but the extent of what most of us know about its use is based on the TV show and movie recommendations we get when we plop on our couch and turn it on. What we don’t see are the several resources that create this big data infrastructure behind the scenes. For instance, they utilize Amazon’s S3 technology, a Hadoop platform and Forklift to transfer data. All these big data blocks work together to gather, transfer, process and analyze all the clicks you make when you sign in to the streaming service. By making use of a variety of big data blocks, they gather as much data as process it in the most effective ways they can.

The Takeaway

Netflix diversifies when it comes to big data and you should too. Don’t be afraid to gather data internally while also utilizing outside sources as well.


With dozens of variables on every given listing on this ecommerce platform, from price to shipping charges to picture quality to offering a buy now option, the data is ripe for the picking. With this expansive amount of data, it can be easy to get lost in the numbers and not see how the data can make a difference. Ebay made its data work for them by using Hadoop, the same platform Netflix uses, to process and analyze data. For instance, they had the platform analyze photos to see whether or not there was a correlation between the quality of the photo and its selling price, which it turns out, there is. Now Amazon can tell its users that on average, a higher quality photo leads to a selling price of a certain percentage more.

The Takeaway

Make big data work for you by finding connections in the data. Knowledge is great, but utilizing that knowledge to make improvements is what makes big data worth its weight in gold.

Have you jumped into the world of big data? Let us know how you’ve been making the most of it in the comments section below. 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.


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