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Big Data, Recruiting and Employer Branding in The Cloud

Posted by Samara Parker
April 1st, 2013

Just in case you were wondering, we are living in the future. And by “The future” I mean a sci-fi movie. Specifically, Minority Report starring Tom Cruise.

Google can predict flu outbreaks in real time, Target knows if your teen is pregnant  and most importantly, The Cheesecake Factory can look into a Big Data crystal ball and predict exactly how crispy the pickles on your cheeseburger ought to be. Now that is “Absolute Customer Satisfaction”. It’s also just a little bit creepy, but probably worth it, for a seriously perfect pickle.

There’s been quite a bit of buzz lately about the implications of Big Data for Recruiting and Employer branding. A lot of it is super-complex and detailed, like this post on HRExaminer.com. But most of us just need to understand the basics of what Big Data is and how it’s changing the candidate attraction and hiring process. Unless you are a massive fast-food chain willing to invest millions into understanding the complex nature of the diner/pickle relationship, the following should be more than enough info.

Firstly, What is Big Data?

It’s pretty impressive sounding, that’s for sure! And, honestly, it is impressive.

Big Data can be described in terms of a problem it presents. Wikipedia says : “Big Data is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications.”

It can also refer simply to a large amount of complex data that requires advanced programs to be captured and processed. Big Data can even be used to refer to the ways in which that data is processed, stored, and applied.

Basically, thanks to computers, we now have the ability to gather, store and utilize crazy amounts of information about people.

I know Wiki’s definition is sexier, but mine takes way less time to say, and Big Data tells me that time is money, so you are welcome.

Secondly, How does Big Data affect you?

Always the most important of questions.

Big Data impacts recruiting and employer branding in several key ways. I’m going to present five of them, because in my expert opinion, they are the most important. Also, my “expert opinion” is backed by Big Data (me Googling) that’s so compelling, Tom Cruise should star in a movie about it.

1 – The talent search

There is a lot of talent on the internet. We now have Facebook, job boards, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Vine and even Instagram in our recruiting tool belt. That’s some seriously Big Data at your finger tips and mining that data is a great way to discover passive candidates. Monitor social sites for keywords (the more specific and technical the better) related to your recruitment effort. Apps like HootSuite make search monitoring easy, while Gild is another app that gathers Big Data to help with (specifically tech) recruiting.

Big Data can also help solve one of the biggest obstacles in talent acquisition : resume spray.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s awesome that social sites, like Facebook, increase the amount of visibility and applicants that a job post gets. Having more candidates to choose from is definitely not a thing to complain about! Except, perhaps, when you get overwhelmed by resumes… But thanks to tools for Big Data processing, employers can efficiently sift through those resumes and leverage the data they provide to weed out the most qualified candidates.

That processing can also be done via the Cloud, instead of on local servers, which cuts down on both time and costs, quite significantly. This doesn’t mean you won’t need to interview, but it should help narrow it down to a better caliber of candidates who make it through to the interview stage. For more detailed information, check out this post on making the candidate search faster and more exact with Big Data. If you’re looking for a free tool for large scale data processing, check out Hadoop, more specifically Hadoop MapReduce, which is explained nicely in this article.

And that’s a lot of words! This article may be about a seemingly endless stream of data, but I think blog posts are better kept short and sweet.

Next week: 4 more ways you can use Big Data for recruiting and employer branding, and I will attempt to predict the next Mrs Tom Cruise using information I’ve gathered from Google! Stay tuned.