How to make use of Big Data in Hiring
published by , on 15/08/2017

By Perry Oostdam (CEO of Recruitee)

Big Data is defined, generally, as large quantities of complex data that can be analysed for the benefit of organisations. However, the conceptualisation of Big Data changes dependent upon its application. In HR, the datasets may certainly be large, but the emphasis is on the results. Advancements in HR tech allow new ways of tracking, storing, and manipulating employee performance data. Modern thinking has led to predictive maintenance based on past data analysis and real-time reports. HR teams now have the tools to make better decisions based on data rather than gut feeling. Below are four easy ways to use Big Data practically for your hiring process!

Offers “the big picture”

When you are immersed in the hiring process, it’s difficult to separate yourself from the task at hand and step back. For example, it’s important to source all the time, whether you are actively hiring or not! This doesn’t leave much time for analysis, unless you use Big Data to your advantage. Get the right HR technology – ATS (applicant tracking system) in this case – that can track the right data automatically and deliver reports that you can put to use right away.

Shows where you need to improve

Now that you’ve saved a ton of time tracking data and formatting reports, you can identify the points in your process that need some improvement. For instance, if the time-to-hire is too lengthy, look for weak parts of the strategy. Which process took too long? Where can you save time? This could be anything from using a more collaborative hiring approach (is one team member doing too much?) to automating candidate emails. If you take a look at your careers site conversion rates, you can see if the site needs revamped. If they aren’t what you projected, tweak the site. Add team photos and videos and reanalyse. Similarly, are the places you are posting your job openings bringing in high-quality candidates? Focus on the sources that work and test others!

Gets you better hires

As you can tell, Big Data doesn’t do the work for you. However, if you have the right tools and mindset, you will have time to craft your hiring process to perfection (or as close as possible). You will now be able to continuously optimise your strategy based on quantifiable results from previous efforts! This will not only lead to a smoother, more streamlined process for your hiring team, but a better candidate experience. A better candidate experience leads to the right talent applying and more of it, for that matter.

Big Data may also be used when tracking quality of hire. Make a set of performance evaluation criteria for each new hire. Are you getting ROI for your hiring efforts? Bad hires waste valuable time and money, so Big Data not only brings in better hires and streamlines the process, but it saves resources!

Optimise training and onboarding

Similarly, time is money, and taking the time to train and onboard a new employee is an expenditure of revenue. Most often, training periods are paid, so it’s crucial to make sure your efforts are worth it in the long run. Tracking the quality of those hires also comes into play here. Make note of specific tactics used in the training and onboarding process. Then, compare those tactics to employee retention and quality of hire. What training techniques make for the best employees in the least amount of time? Use those!

HR can obviously benefit from using datasets, as long as they have the time to track and analyse them! From quality of hire to individual hiring team member performance, numbers can show patterns that you may not have seen otherwise. Ultimately, Big Data is just data, until you use it correctly. Then it can make all the difference in your hiring process.


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For more information about Big Data in HR & recruitment and HR technology in the broad sense : see on eHRM at

– 13 articles

– Facts & figures

– Case story  Philips

– Description 53 tools





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