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Big Data, Big Win: 5 Reasons Talent Analytics Improves Hiring

By Scott Erker, Ph.D.

Scott Erker, Ph.D.Business organizations are embracing talent analytics as never before. They are turning to big data for valuable insights into how to engage employees, and how to retain them. However, a key area of talent analytics—and arguably the one with the most potential—remains largely untapped. Few organizations are taking full advantage of big data to hire and promote top performers, particularly those who will help companies meet their rapidly changing business needs.

It is not because of a lack of information. Organizations are collecting enormous amounts of raw data on job candidates, from sources ranging from pre-employment assessments to background checks to social media profiles. At the same time, they are gathering extensive data on the characteristics of their most successful employees. Talent analytics has the power to bring these two areas of data together, enabling companies to identify—with far greater accuracy—the most promising job candidates. When big data is harnessed in this way, HR no longer needs to rely on the “gut instincts” of interviewers and hiring managers, or on overly general and potentially outdated hiring tools. With this approach, talent acquisition, following the path of many other areas of business, becomes truly objective and scientific.

The talent analytics process has such a significant impact on hiring for several reasons:

  1. ALL data is considered–Instead of limited samples of data, talent analytics uses all available data for a full picture. Tens of thousands of data points can now be examined to determine which are the most accurate predictors of success.
  2. Data patterns are identified–By searching for patterns in data, talent analytics identifies critical connections that might not otherwise be seen. When those patterns are found in the hiring data of high performers, the analytics can search for the same patterns in job candidates.
  3. Various tools are integrated–It’s not a new practice for interviewers to ask tailored questions based on a candidate’s assessment. But talent analytics takes it one step further by being able to pinpoint specific areas that may need further exploration based on assessment results.
  4. Hiring process can be refined with changing business needs–Talent analytics makes it possible for organizations to immediately begin hiring potential high performers that meet new qualifications. And that task can be accomplished without the need to rebuild the hiring tools, as you would with many conventional approaches to hiring.
  5. Hiring process is connected to strategic direction–In addition to predicting job candidates who are most likely to become the best employees, HR must also be able to determine whether the hiring tools are helping the business. Talent analytics enables organizations to directly track changes in hiring tools to changes in business performance.

At many companies, big data and talent analytics are now transforming the hiring process. HR is more confident than ever that it is bringing aboard future high performers who will directly contribute to business growth. The obstacles, though sometimes formidable, are being overcome. In a sense, HR is merely catching up with other functions—including sales, marketing, and operations—that are already well along in using analytics to achieve their goals. By applying talent analytics to the hiring process, HR is helping to fulfill its critical role as a strategic partner in the business.

Scott Erker, Ph.D., is the senior vice president of DDI's Selection Solutions.

For a more in-depth look at how talent analytics impacts HR, as well as how to overcome some key challenges of talent analytics, read DDI’s latest Point of View: Big Data, Big Win: 5 Reasons Talent Analytics Improves Hiring.

Posted: 24 Apr, 2013,
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