What’s the Big Deal with Big Data in HR & Recruiting? #BigDataHR

Solid decision-making filled with relevant and accurate information is the backbone of any business. Well-informed and timely decisions are expected from all areas of the business including human resources, recruiting and hiring. They are the stuff of not just great but amazing companies. Our reliance on technology to facilitate our business operations, not only can increase production, lower costs and increase productivity, but the data collected in our business can be used to improve business operations particularly in the human capital industry.

What’s the Big Deal with Big Data in Human Capital and HR?

Over the past twelve to twenty-four months, the media has been filled with stories of big data and service providers and analysts have followed suite as business leaders began to equate better business success by evaluating the numbers and analytics within their business. This is idea is the foundation of what big data is all about. As a new and emerging source of information for business decisions the concept of big data has took on a life of its own. The concepts, usefulness and resources related to big data have become a cruel form of buzzword bingo. Everyone is talking about big data but no one is providing foundational ways to apply and analyze the information for the average business leader. It’s sensationalized and scrutinized leaving many practitioners in our industry scratching their heads. Big data in this industry is extremely complex which is why we decided to keep it simple and get back to the basis starting from the beginning allowing practitioners in the human capital industry of all levels to understand, what’s the big deal with big data when it comes to the human capital industry.

Using Data to Drive Hiring and Employment Decisions

The notion of big data and the information explosion was first discussed in 1944 by Freemont Rider from Wesleyan University in The Scholar and the Future of the Research Library estimating that American university libraries were doubling in size every sixteen years. He estimated that the Yale Library by 2040 would require a cataloging staff of over six thousand libraries, persons and employees. And so the assumption is made that big data equals lots of time and energy spent collecting, organizing and justifying. And it’s not like I don’t have enough on my mind or on my to do list these days.

I explain big data just like my bedroom closet; it’s a big mess. Big data is the analyzing of human capital information and numbers with the goal of finding patterns to support and thus, make better business decisions. But where to begin? That’s what I hope to facilitate discussion as part of our Big Data HR Week on Blogging4Jobs.

My big data is there is a foundational knowledge gap particularly in HR and recruiting resources and recruiting. We don’t have the time or interest to sift through the research journals and papers. We’re busy hiring and working in the now. That’s where my job as a writer, speaker and HR anthropologist comes in.

Join Us for Big Data Week

Next week we will have nearly 30 writers starting Sunday for an entire week sharing insights, information and their point of view when it comes to how big data is used in human capital, human resources and recruiting on Blogging4Jobs. We will be flooding the HR internets with insights about big data and how it can be used in the practical world beyond all the analyst hype and media spin. You can follow the updates by subscribing to the blog’s RSS feed or you can follow our official hashtag on Twitter, #BigDataHR.

Business leaders already see the value of big data, and a recent Deloitte report found that 49 percent of business leaders agree that big data analysis results in improved decision making. It’s time that HR really understands how it is being used. The workplace is moving to a more technology focused business where candidate applications, employee evaluations and internal social interactions are happening increasingly online, it is important to understand that the data as a result of human resource departments can assist companies in making better business decisions and better use of the organization’s most valuable resource, its people. And the people in the workplace, starts with HR.

Join me next week in Big Data HR week and discussing what’s the big deal with big data.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. JoeGrisham says

    This is a really difficult read. It has a lot of grammar issues and just a poor overall flow. The content here is usually good, I don’t know what happened.


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