In 2012, “big data” was mentioned in 2.2M tweets by 980,000+ authors, at a peak rate of 3,070 times per hour!
However, as is often the case with relatively new and nebulous concepts, there is quite a bit of confusion surrounding big data and Moneyball and how they can be applied to HR and recruiting, as evidenced by the obviously incorrect usage of the terms in many cases. It’s also nearly impossible to stay on top of all of the content being generated on the subject (although I am trying my best!).
This is precisely why I’m going to take the opportunity to clear up any confusion by concisely explaining the concepts of big data, analytics, and Moneyball as it relates to HR and recruiting, as well as illustrate some obviously incorrect references to these concepts in recent articles, including those from the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Economist, The New York Times, and more.
Let’s talk about the future of predicting job success and why the world’s biggest evangelist for pre-hire assessments thinks tests are in danger of becoming extinct (and is OK with it).
There are a number of emerging trends in hiring right now that center around the currency of the new millennium: data. The impact of our ability to collect, organize, and interpret data is rapidly changing all areas of the economy. Should employment be any different? There are three ways in which data is slowly killing the employment test as we know it.
The Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams famously said baseball is “the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of 10 and be considered a good performer.”
Maybe not the only one: The same could be said for hiring.
Everyone in recruitment is (seemingly) looking for the next big thing, new angle, new tool, new bit of software etc. to enable them to find more candidates easier, quicker and more cost effectively, so that they can make more money (agency side) or reduce costs (corporate side). I can even see you nodding your head right now!
Surveys in the HR Market
I was complaining to a colleague about the heaps of misinformation in the marketplace. She was quick to correct me. “Marketing surveys delivered by vendors and consultants provide valuable information. You just have to remember the source.”
The term “employer brand” has been around for a while, but the branding game has changed radically in recent years.
This article is going to focus on numbers that HR should be putting in front of executives and investors that really do matter to the business models of most companies. Think of it this way, if you are doing something great from a HR perspective that is making your human capital (your company's assets) better in some way - then don't you think your investors care? Don't think of this from a risk perspective (e.g. you could lose investment) but think of it from a positive perspective - it could make your CFO and Company better due to the ability to have a great Human Capital strategy. Because here is the newsflash - the analyst and investor community are already doing it - they are just guessing. One of previous articles explain how most of a company's stock price has nothing to do with book value - it has to do with what the people are doing.
According to the Aviation Week 2012 Workforce Study conducted by Deloitte, when asked about the ability to meet the challenges of a volatile economy and dynamic business environment, respondents cited having a highly skilled workforce as the most important factor.
Talent management drives the attainment of a highly skilled workforce, and aerospace & defense (A&D) companies — who have long faced a pressing need for skilled workers — are frequently cited as having leading talent management programs. Such programs can increase interest among students to pursue a science, technology, engineering and mathematics education (STEM), can create learning pathways for career advancement, and can recognize and reward performance.
Mobile …finally! DNA footprints in the cloud; recruiting back to basics: getting to know the candidate; the end of the traditional ATS; emerging markets dominate; augmented reality; disruptive marketing and stunt PR; the end of social media; candidate cloning and the end of recruiters as we know it!
I was cleaning the attic the other day when I discovered a book that Kevin Wheeler and I put together back in the fall of 2001. This dusty tomb provided me with a treasure trove of insight along with a good deal of food for reflection.
Our book, titled “ Screening and Assessment: Best Practices” includes a variety of information about screening and assessment tools including the results of a usage survey examining use patterns for assessment tools, a summary of best practices for screening and assessment, and predictions for the future.
Some of what’s new, what’s changed, or that you just may not have heard of before.
Today’s tools include Facebook recruiting, keeping track of job applicants, college grad hiring, startup recruiting, and in-house recruitment training.
Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure; Married in haste, we may repent at leisure. –William Congreve, 1693
If you work from a job description only to find it does not correctly define candidate requirements; if you send multiple candidates to the hiring manager only to him/her complain about wrong-skilled people; if turnover stubbornly stays high; if too many people fail training programs; if newly promoted managers fail on the job; if 80% of salespeople produce only 20% of sales, or if half the people you hire tend to sink to the bottom of the pool, then William Congreve defined your problem over 300 years ago.
Many great recruiting departments and organizations pride themselves on being “metrics-focused” or “metrics-driven” — And for good reason. There’s plenty of research that confirms the value of having clear strategic and operational targets.
In addition, employees appreciate having expectations (think: metrics) that are “SMART” (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time bound). In the recruiting world, some common metrics include time to find, time to hire, survey scores (from hiring managers and candidates), as well as various quality of hire metrics.
As I continue to attend conferences and hear awesome speeches about analytics such as the one by Josh Bersin, I am thoroughly convinced that talent acquisition (testing and assessment included) are at the beginning of a new era. The coming decades will represent not just a new era for testing and assessment, but rather its “golden era.” I began talking about this trend almost a decade ago, and I continue to watch for signs of the major transition that is currently underway.
The use of the Internet with a smartphone is fast becoming the next mass media channel. That’s particular true with social media such as Facebook. Recents statistics from a company called comScore show the mobile Internet audience is using Facebook nearly an hour more a month than they’re using it on a desktop.
Facebook mobile users have a choice of downloading an application, or using the mobile Facebook. Eighty percent of mobile Facebook users use the application. With Twitter, users prefer the application, too. This data has confused many industry commentators, with many bloggers writing that applications are “winning the battle.” This interpretation is wrong.
The integration of new talent, whether promoted from within or hired from outside the organization, represents a critical career inflection point for the new employee. Too often this process is overlooked in small businesses or simplified in larger organizations through a quick orientation or onboarding process.
This past week I was interviewed by a reporter from a major news magazine. He contacted me about a controversial article I had written on ERE addressing the lack of forward-thinking when it comes to companies developing talent acquisition strategies. In the article I suggested that follow-the-leader seemed to be the dominant strategy of choice used by most companies.
We then got around to talking about the skills gap in the U.S. workforce, whether it was real or imaginary, and if anything could be done about it. “Plenty” was my instant comment. Here’s what came next
Resumes are dead. Interviews are largely ineffectual. Linked-In is good. Portfolios are useful.
But projects are the real future of hiring, especially knowledge working hiring. No matter how wonderful your references or how well you do on those too-clever-by-half Microsoft/Google brainteasers, serious firms will increasingly ask serious candidates to do serious work in order to get a serious job offer.
LinkedIn is introducing something it calls “Targeted Updates” and “Follower Statistics” with a select group of early release partners, kind of like it tested the “Pipeline” product with a charter group.
Best-in-class organizations are using assessments not only to understand the skills and traits employees have today, but also their capacity to grow.
As companies are required to do more with less, talent decisions take on greater complexity. The mandate for greater efficiency with fewer resources draws attention to the power of assessments. The data derived from these tools can help to maximize performance and productivity while reducing the cost and risk associated with bad hires. Assessments also can inform workforce and succession planning.
Many job seekers have long suspected their online employment applications disappear into a black hole, never to be seen again. Their fears may not be far off the mark, as more companies rely on technology to winnow out less-qualified candidates.
photo courtesy of ToobyDoo
I’ve never felt better about the evolution of pre-employment assessment. In this coming year we’ll see some real progress toward new levels of assessment adoption that will be based more on results then on hype. But there are some significant challenges to be faced.
As we enter this exciting new year, here are the trends that I feel are going to define the future of pre-employment assessment.