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This is a Guest post by Kate Smedley, from Advorto.


The push towards data driven recruitment will continue to dominate headlines in 2016 but when that push comes to ‘shove’, HR seems to experience a disconnect.

Two recent reports reveal the extent of that detachment. CEB’s research brief ‘What’s Next For HR In 2016?’ explores 11 trends identified by HR leaders as key priorities for the coming year. Of these, analytic transformation of talent was ranked highest but only 12% of businesses surveyed have used predictive analytics for making decisions in hiring.

A further report What’s Keeping HR Up At Night?’ reveals the following principal areas of concern:-

  • Engaging and retaining employees.
  • Recruiting the best employees.
  • Developing leaders and managing skills gaps.

All of these concerns can be addressed by developing a data driven hiring process but therein lies the issue. The main ‘technology worry’ for HR is the automation of technology in order to eliminate spreadsheets and manual processes.

Big data and analytics have been proven to improve HR’s efficiency and enhance the ability of businesses to attract talent but the message isn’t getting through. No business serious about competing in 2016 should rely on manual processes in hiring. Something, somewhere will come unstuck. Talent will fall out of the pipeline and the candidate experience will suffer – and that’s just the beginning.

It’s not that HR is unaware of its disconnect with big data. The issue is exacerbated by a lack of confidence in its own abilities.

Two thirds reportedly believe that HR lacks the ‘data and analytics capability to gain a big picture of company talent’. This echoes the CEB survey where only 5% of businesses claimed to be effective at using people analytics. Furthermore, less than half of line leaders believe their HR business partners can apply their talent and business data to support decision making.

The solution, it suggests, is to develop analytics skills and accountability across all HR staff, in other words, to connect – or reconnect – with data.

Utilised effectively, data will improve all elements of talent acquisition and workforce management, from attracting and hiring talented individuals to their development, engagement, retention and workforce productivity (a major concern for UK businesses).

Data isn’t intended to replace the human element in the hiring process but enhance it by enabling better, evidence based, decisions.

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Connecting with big data

To remain competitive in an evolving situation and take the necessary steps to connecting with big data, consider the following:-

Ditch the reliance on manual systems. Start with a recruitment software solution that is scalable. Manual or e-mail recruiting processes should be a thing of the past, not an integral part of your talent acquisition strategy.

Enhance your brand. The problems caused by the skills shortage will persist into 2016. Repeated surveys highlight the low number of applicants for each open job. A positive brand enhances your ability to attract talent – take a look at Glassdoor’s annual Best Places To Work survey. It’s reportedly easier to get into Harvard than it is to get a job with Google. According to Deloitte, businesses with efficient, data driven recruiting processes are generally higher ranked in their employer brand.

Change your perspective. Soft skills will play a more prominent role in hiring in 2016. The move towards the use of blind CVs in applicant screening pioneered by Deloitte is evidence of this. The ability to remove bias from the hiring process is only possible with the use of data.  Hiring becomes smoother, retention improves and workforce productivity can be addressed.

Acknowledge that data driven recruitment is here to stay. The myriad issues facing HR aren’t going away in 2016. Connecting with big data enables HR to create a strategy that works. It’s not something to fear but a tool that will help employers to achieve that sought after analytic transformation of talent.



Download the report here – ‘Big Data – Overcoming the HR Fear Factor’.

IMG011With 18 years of experience in recruitment and HR, Kate Smedley writes on behalf of Advorto. Advorto’s recruitment software provides workflow and structure across the entire hiring process, offering a dynamic database of candidates and analytics. Used by some of the world’s leading organisations, it provides a straightforward first step into HR analytics and big data.