Just a Buzzword? #BigDataHR

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This week on Blogging4Jobs, we are focusing on the theme Big Data sponsored by Jibe. Jibe provides cloud-based recruiting technology solutions that enable talent acquisition teams to strategically identify, attract and engage candidates. Join us April 10th 2014 at 3pm to talk Big Data on Twitter using the hashtag #BigDataHR and join our webinar, “What’s the Big Deal with Big Data in HR & Recruiting” on April 17th at 11a EST. Follow the week by bookmarking us

A Fishing Expedition

It was this (outstretched arms indicating size) big…. We talk, we write, we present, and we bluff.  We lie.  We don’t really know.  We want to know and that fact that so many HR and recruiting experts are writing about it here on Big Data week says something.  We want to believe that we can catch it and devour it.  So we read, we write, we rewrite, and we talk incessantly about big data.

HR loves data, anyway – big or small.

As a former recruiter, I love working for a recruiting and HR tech vendor like Technomedia and learning a bit more about the sourcing and recruiting metrics that actually mean something – that matter to those who spend their time in the trenches and those who pay for the trenches to be dug.  As an executive recruiter, I kept my own metrics and our “big data” was stored in a paper database which looked like several dozen filing cabinets and a coordinated but repetitive ACT database (two sets of files – talk about overkill!).  As a corporate recruiter, I worked closely with my hiring managers to determine fit – and a Google search – searching internet data was a valid starting point to determine next steps – either “sorry” or “can we schedule an interview?”


The buzzword of the decade seems to be big data.  Is it because of cloud systems, full-integrations, SaaS products, and full/complementary suite of HR solutions?  Wonder where this will all land…

I recently asked George LaRocque what he thought about Big Data, how important it really is to HR and what the ultimate impact will be when leading companies to success not only externally, but internally – for said organization.  George emphatically said, “Big Data is certainly a ‘thing’.  One of the first things I notice is that some folks are talking about analytics when they talk about big data.  Other folks talking about big data and are really talking about the incredible volume of data available on the internet and boiling it down to a user level.  And other’s are looking at it from an enterprise level, internally and not talking about any external data.  I think we don’t necessarily need to get the ‘talk’ right, but we should get on the same page. Not that each is wrong, but we are using the same words to call different things – Big Data and this leads to the confusion.  There is so much to gain from looking at an employee life cycle and reveal trends to help HR become more strategic about their program selection and where they are putting emphasis in any given year and/ or looking forward to two or three years…”

It is easy to get confused.

We need a better definition which will lead to a better understanding in order to consider the relevance and the impact.  And we need a little less talk and a lot more action.  And in that action, let’s not forget the human side of human resources.  I fear that in our rush to embrace data that we forget the body and soul of any organization, it’s people.  You cannot predict emotion. You cannot predict outcomes, when a heartbeat can change an action.

Let’s be clear on what we are sourcing, what we are hiring, and what we are managing…

by Rayanne Thorn

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