Ben Hutt: Big data disruption – the recruitment industry is ready

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Many UK businesses have been hampered by slow and expensive recruitment processes for as long as they can remember. Worse still, they’ve now become desensitised to how painful traditional hiring processes are and so they’ve come to expect that it will take them months to find the right candidate.

At the same time, our own research found that almost half (41 percent) of hiring managers have compromised on the quality of recruits because they couldn’t find suitable candidates. It’s clear that these processes are simply no longer fit for purpose and it is most definitely time for a change. It’s time for businesses to embrace technology that will help ease their recruitment pains and ensure they remain as profitable and productive as possible.

Technology already plays a significant role in recruitment. For example, candidates can apply for jobs online via jobsites and recruiters can headhunt individuals on LinkedIn. However, recruitment is one of the few remaining industries to be truly transformed and empowered by digital technologies. So how far have we really come with recruitment technology and where are we headed?

Online jobs boards

The first online jobs board was launched in the 1990s which helped to make the job-seeking experience easier for candidates. According to the ‘Evolution of Technology in Recruitment’ infographic from Flo Software, between 1990 and 2000, 22 percent of applications were submitted via email or online and by 2014, 90 percent of applications were submitted via email or online. It has become the norm. A candidate wants to find a job, they type the job they want into Google, they’re then directed to one of the many job sites where they can send off their CVs to recruiters and apply for jobs at the click of a button. It’s quick, easy and accessible.

The problem is that all too often, jobs boards present companies with average candidates, not necessarily the best ones. Because it is so easy to apply for a job, there tends to be a huge number of applications, yet these candidates often don’t possess the right skills that are needed for the role, which in turn makes the recruitment process longer and more inefficient.

LinkedIn

In 2003, something big happened in the recruitment industry. LinkedIn was launched. This meant that recruitment agencies and employers alike were now able to network online and connect with professionals to network and stay in touch. It was a big step and made information which was previously private to either candidates or recruiters and make it (at least in brief) publicly available.

In fact, reports earlier this year from the site revealed that LinkedIn passed the 15 million user landmark in the UK. Most of these users don’t have a full profile (roughly 7 million do), and those that are “complete” often include only a very abbreviated resume.

While LinkedIn is a great platform, from a recruitment perspective it’s flawed.  Updating your profile is a classic signal to your boss and coworkers you’re looking for a new job. As a potential hirer, while you can find people, there’s no guarantee they can do what they say they can, and you’re dependent on a skillful call and strong brand and job offer to entice someone who’s already happy in a job to consider a switch.

Data Science

The past couple of years have seen many industries become transformed by the use of data, cloud and mobile technologies.  Big changes are afoot in the recruitment industry too. HR professionals and employers can now reliably and repeatedly cut the time it takes to hire high quality staff from the average of 60 days to an average of less than 10. In our own experience, we’ve managed to hire someone for the team in just four days, from start to finish.

This can now be possible for companies of all shapes and sizes, all over the world.  It’s the magic of the internet, supported by data science which enables a massive talent pool based on the detailed and validated data of recruitment agencies to be sifted through magically and quickly. Data science and analysis of someone’s CV can help build a more accurate picture of them so you can predict which candidates are likely to be best suited to a role, based on their career paths and qualifications. We can even predict what the best time to approach someone for a new role is.

Organisations must ensure that they don’t just rely on their IT departments to understand and make use of evolving technologies. Driving change that can substantially impact the time to hire and quality of candidates gives HR an opportunity to have a seat with influence at the top table.

What’s next?

It’s difficult to predict where recruitment technology is headed, without the knowledge that companies will adapt to new ways of hiring. One thing looks certain though, if businesses don’t take the important step into the world of big data in 2015, they will find themselves taking a step backwards and this could have a devastating impact on their talent pipeline.

Big data can dramatically reduce the time it takes to recruit high quality staff.  It drives a better candidate experience, better quality candidates, better commercial outcomes for businesses and teams the world over.  It’s the future and it’s here now.

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