How do you see it: a fruitful intersection or two one-way streets?
Many technologies navigating the big data recruiting space are still brand-new, and one simple reality has left some to focus on uncertainties rather than the promise of cutting-edge candidate insights: there are still technical and philosophical questions that need to be answered about the methods and analysis. “Talent Analytics” (big data’s role in Human Resources and recruitment practices) is a concept, and novel methodology, that may inspire trepidation and skepticism—leaving people to question its ethics, insights, and future utility.
Joyce Lain Kennedy, in “Big Data: Recruiting future or fad?”, presents two distinct viewpoints on the issue, while offering her own doubts as to whether there is a scientific foundation to the process. Kennedy highlights the opinions of Dr. Wendell Williams, managing director of Scientific Selection, as an umbrella assessment of skeptics and critics.
Williams’s main point is that big data metrics are about numbers and not about (the “little understood”) human performance on the job. The concern is that the data will only reflect past performance—having little relation to how an employee acquires knowledge, thinks critically, makes decisions, and communicates effectively within a new company. In short, he argues that the data has the potential to confuse things and, more importantly, hiring managers don’t have a way to gain direct correlations between specific skill-sets and accomplishments. “Absent the full story, big data will just be another short-term HR fad.”
While it’s not easy to navigate all of the hype surrounding big data, it’s important to note again that big data in recruiting is just getting off the ground—and perhaps our focus should shift toward all the new questions that are being answered every day.