How Big Data is being used to Boost HR Departments

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Competing for talent and retaining top performers have long topped the priority list for HR professionals. Indeed, finding the talent to execute the corporate vision while providing valuable insights back to the business is crucial for recruiters.

Descriptive analytics vs Predictive analytics

Until recently, the descriptive data analytics failed to provide HR actionable insights for proactive hiring strategy. Basically, descriptive analytics are raw data which have been gathered in order to summarise what happened in the business. For example, the numbers of posts, fans, followers, pages views, etc. So there are thousands of metrics but it is usually very pointless to list them.

However, adding some data science or predictive analytics to the mix can definitely kick the strategic power of the recruiting up a notch. A step up, predictive analytics enhances data reduction and utilizes a variety of statistical, modelling, data mining, and machine learning techniques. Overall, predictive analytics software is what crunches the collected data to determine the right answer a company is looking for.

Therefore, predictive analytics is able to study recent and historical data, thereby allowing analyst to make prediction about the future. Predictive analytics can be used in different ways by human resource departments, it can help to increase talent acquisition conversion rates, enhance employee retention, and maximizing productivity and profitability by aligning people, processes, and assets.

Textkernel or one of the most powerful Semantic Recruitment Technology on the european Market

In order to harness this data, HR professionals have a number of predictive analytics tools and softwares at their disposal. However in the recruitment area, Textkernel is one of the well known semantic recruitment technology working closely with big corporations such as Manpower, Adecco and many more.  But, how does this software work? The software works by first analyzing all the information a company gathers about a candidate. This includes everything from applications to social media data.

The software plugs that data into predictive models. Using specially created algorithms, the models are able to project future trends and problems based on past behaviors. The model, can help predict hiring needs or skills trends to help improve efficiency and to adjust recruitment needs.

The big data trend or the predictive analytics, has quickly made its way to the human resources industry. In fact, according to a recent SAS study, they predict that by 2018 6,400 organizations will have implemented big data analytics. Recruiters can now sift through real time data to influence hiring and ongoing talent cultivation.

Nevertheless, according to the Software’s Advise recent survey: 37% of small companies use analytics compared to only 27% for medium size companies. A truly staggering disconnect, don’t you think?

Big data is the new frontier for innovation, competition and productivity and is currently applied to the talent acquisition process in a number of ways.

Diving deep to reduce the turnover

In today’s tight-talent market, understanding both macro and micro conditions that might impact talent availability (salary, responsibilities, benefits decision and hiring timeline) is important to a well-analysed recruitment strategy. This information enables recruiters to set expectations and adjust their approaches to retaining and attracting candidates for hard to fill positions.

Many companies are now using HR technologies and incorporating big data platforms. Gathering information through an internal system such as an ATS (Applicant Tracking System), performance review systems, and sales performance systens, allows human resources managers to better motivate employees and retain the workforce. As a complement to internal systems, external systems such as recruiting informatics, social media, traffic and transportation data allow recruiters to better target the ideal candidate and easily be in touch with him/her.

Cloud based big data platforms have an intelligence engine for talent acquisition. New HR technologies likes Textkernel which provide the semantic search or the external search, analyze and categorize a wide variety of data streams that are fundamental in recruitment. The results that the Big Data analysis reveals can enable a company to adjust its hiring strategies and to achieve fully staffed status.

Targeting recruitment marketing for building a solid Candidate pipeline

Job boards are evolving and represent a gold mine of information for employers and talent acquisition professionals. Tags and widgets have been implemented by job boards to track candidates looking at a job posting. This, enables recruiters to access essential information on job hunters. Consequently, recruiters are now able to precisely target sources that have the greatest likelihood of increasing candidate’s’ flow for specific positions.

As a matter of fact, recruiters are now able to accelerate the hiring process and build a stronger candidate pipeline. Smarter marketing spends are made by not wasting money on job boards that don’t perform on their target audience.

Predictive analytics can also be collected from a huge volume of data job boards. For example: how easy or hard would it be to fill a nursing position in Belgium, or what would be the best day of the week to post a digital marketing position on a particular job board? From this point of view, big data can also be a big asset to help uncover valuable trends and patterns “onclick decisions” (why or why not a candidate takes the critical steps to apply for your position or not). Using this data, recruiters can quickly adjust their course of action to lure more candidates.

Mining the internet for hidden talent

Talentsquare has garnered a great deal of attention for its combination of data aggregation provided by Textkernel services. Companies from a wide variety of fields are able to track information related to candidates. Thus, recruiters are informed about the quality of candidates’ professional knowledge and skills. This, eliminates the guesswork and blind faith that recruiters could sometimes have when they do not have practical experience hiring a particular position. For example, an HR professional who needs to recruit a nurse and has never recruited a nurse before could miss the mark in promoting this position.

Proactive Talent Acquisition

For organization with mountains of internal data and a large workforce, Big data analysis would necessitate a data specialist in order to help determine how many employees are needed now and forecast how many will be needed in the future. To give an example, the company IBM is doing just that. IBM’s big data is a mashup of internal data from two sources: its HR database and its global services billing database. IBM’s big data analysts were able to detect dozens of issues from an HR database and their global services billing database. This helped IBM forecast shortfalls in critical talent areas. IBM then began the training or hiring process needed to fill current or projected gaps. IBM was also able to analyse where they had talent overages and trimmed accordingly.

By leveraging big data, recruiters can transform their hiring image within the company from being reactive to talent needs to responding to the “just-in-time” talent needs of the business. They are transformed to a proactive business partner with the foresight to make more precise talent acquisition-related decisions.


Big Data takes the blinders off and eliminates the guesswork all along the hiring process from recruitment to training. Well equipped with predictive analytics insights, recruiters are able to anticipate and act quickly. Big data can take you from reactive to proactive or from habits to evidence-based-decision-making.

Yves Loiseau, Business Manager at Big-Data company Textkernel. Framed the importance of Big Data in the HR world in this video and about the future of recruitment: ‘I think that today we have a tendency to put talent in boxes, whereas the economy itself pushes us towards, things that didn’t exist yesterday’.

Big data eliminates the guesswork that has been on necessity embedded in the recruitment process. From now recruiters will be able to act proactively and anticipates changes easily. That kind of advantage is unvaluable to every kind of organization.

The bottom line?

If you are interested in discussing this thematic come and join the #hruBrussels the 18th of February 2016. Yves Loiseau from Textkernel will be there to share his expertise on the big Data use in the HR everyday work.

Enjoy our 20% discount by booking your ticket through this link and don’t forget to enter ‘talentsquare’ in the code area (if it is not already done).

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Do you need more information about the event or the #HRU concept? Drop us an email at info@talentsquare.com.