Modern Recruiting: Big Data for Big Talents

The fact that no HR manager is more in the mood for printed applications should now only annoy the quick-stapler industry, and for all other participants, the application process is simplified by a unique, digital application folder with a personalized cover letter.

But this procedure is basically no longer in vogue, because especially in the technologically pioneering United States is now relying on tools to actively approach applicants. Here a few days can decide where a suitable candidate goes – and this can be crucial for the future economic success of a company, especially in the disciplines of tech, business and science. Especially in an increasingly digitized world, applicants with the required knowledge are in demand, no matter what their core competence is.

Social Networks as new job boards

The “War for Talent”, which has often been cited for years and minted by McKinsey, is therefore real. Recruiters are increasingly using social networks, such as XING or LinkedIn, which Microsoft has not in vain has cost 26 billion US dollars (22 billion euros) for the value of such a huge personal database.


With its Dynamics 365 business environment, the technology giant from Redmond offers the “Sales Navigator” tool as an interface for recruiter, in order not only to generate leads, but also to simplify employee search.

Algorithms then not only scour the records of more than 500 million global members for manual entries. Connected contacts, groups, former employers and basically all data and metadata of a profile are also processed to filter out suitable candidates from the huge pool.

First of all, it’s all about the rough overview that HR managers used to need to get through meticulously formatted application books, but of course, such automated tools take a lot of work off of them and paint a much more detailed picture of an applicant – as in the case of LinkedIn, in Microsoft’s ecosystem from business tools is integrated and makes suggestions, similar to Amazon’s division “other customers also bought”.

Big Data for Big Talents

Incidentally, HR analytics is even a step further, expanding the approach described above once again. As with other analytics tools in the big data environment, HR Analytics also uses algorithms. However, they not only search in a single social network, but take information from all publicly available social media accounts, profile data from job boards, as well as anonymous search queries or statistical key figures to help, which may be used publicly.

Relatively strict EU data protection laws such as the GDPR prevent too much insight into the privacy of potential candidates, but in the US this is not considered as close. Especially large corporations such as Google, IBM or Walmart use HR analytics tools to find employees, but also for forward-looking personnel management.

For example, if there are changes in the customer portfolio or larger projects, such tools can automatically search for experts for the posts to be filled. So, potential candidates are queued while the door to the job is still closed.

Looking for companies because applicants are too passive

Incidentally, the “War for Talents” is not the only reason why companies, recruiters and temporary employment agencies are now much more active in finding a job, whereas in the past this was the job of the applicants. On the one hand, it is because of the desperate need to look for employees in certain industries, so that they do not even apply themselves, but rather let the companies “come”.

In the IT industry, data analysts and visualization experts as well as cloud architects are in urgent need of search. In marketing, on the other hand, more and more talent is needed, who can bring along a sense for relevant and honest content and can also create it, since classic advertising measures and channels have long since ceased to have the influence of the past.

On the other hand, there is simply the problem in normally frequented industries that many applicants are deterred by the application process and do not finish it until they are hired. Indeed, one of the largest job boards worldwide, Indeed, found in a study that two out of five applicants drop the process by themselves, whether or not they are qualified.

Reasons for this are too complicated application procedures with technical hurdles (for example the uploading of documents), missing feedback and status information on the part of the companies, what about the application or partly antiquated assessment center procedures.

Technology-based job search is on the rise

Incidentally, the measures described are not yet the norm, especially in Germany. In Germany, only about 40 percent of the 1000 largest companies in Germany use records to find potential candidates.

However, the trend is clearly heading in this direction and will increasingly decide in the future who will get lucrative jobs in digitized companies and who will not. At least in the first selection process, IT technology will play an increasingly important role. But the artificial interview itself will probably only be able to lead artificial intelligence within a few decades.

The middle ground of personal assessment by HR managers and the use of data pools is currently probably the most advanced variant. After all, job success, former job positions and certificates do not always paint a comprehensive picture of an applicant. And a personal conversation leads loud Harvard Business Review to significantly more success for the candidates in the application process than a data sheet or just a neat job profile on the Internet.

It is therefore necessary to combine the human with suggestions from HR Analytics. Because algorithms and artificial intelligence are indeed much better in data analysis than we humans. But they are clearly inferior in character nuances and the famous gut feeling of experienced HR managers.

In any case, application folders are already counted and the classic application process will continue to change thanks to a younger generation with different expectations.

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