I have been excited to see increasing numbers of companies using big data to make smarter hiring decisions (also see “Big Data Does the Job” Blog.reliableinsights.com, October 4, 2012).  Using data-crunching software to enhance talent management is continuing to present promising results that every company should consider.  Hiring decisions are challenging enough in the best circumstances.  Why not tap big data’s power to help?

One company that specializes in providing these services is Evolv.  The San Francisco-based firm works with clients to optimize their recruiting and hiring decisions.  It does this by first having hourly job candidates complete detailed questionnaires, and then it tracks new-hires’ after hiring to identify job-fit and job-performance correlations.  With each bit of data collected, the overall predictive power of the software improves, thereby helping hiring managers to make smarter hiring decisions (Aki Ito, “Hiring in the Age of Big Data” Bloomberg Businessweek, 10/28/13–11/3/13, pp. 40–41):

Since 2007 [Evolv] has collected terabytes of data tracking the results of its surveys and candidates’ real-life employment history—how long they stayed with the company and various measures of job performance such as customer satisfaction surveys.  Evolv’s software translates new applicants’ results into a traffic light system for hiring managers.  (Green means an applicant has ‘high potential.’)” (p. 41)

So far, the results are very promising.  In one typical example, call center workers selected by Evolv’s software were absent almost a third fewer hours during their first six months with a 15% better average handle time compared to before the call center started using the software.

As the data accumulates and correlations are drawn, sometimes interesting conclusions arise that counter conventional thinking.  For example, a job candidate’s history of job-hopping or unemployment is not a reliable predictor of how long that person might stay with your company.  These are the kinds of insights and data points that can help a hiring manager refine personnel decisions.

Better hiring decisions are always win-win situations.  While big data should never replace an interview, companies are foolish not to tap into these terrific technological tools.

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