CIOs: How to Use Big Data to Recruit

Are IT hiring issues keeping you up at night? This is a common problem for CIOs. IT professionals are in high demand, and CIOs need to fight for top talent. Top talent is hard to come by, and six in 10 CIOs worry skills shortages will halt their companies from keeping up with change. Since it’s so hard to find top talent, CIOs need to do everything they can to solve their hiring problems.

While you may not be able to hire as many great candidates as you’d like, your open positions probably attract many applicants. Since today’s job seekers often apply online, instead of through paper resumes, you have a lot of data about your past applicants.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re using all that data. The data could just be stored in your applicant tracking system or workforce analytics system. Data doesn’t do you much good when it’s in storage, but since there’s so much of it, you may not know how to start analyzing it.

If you can get a handle on all the data you’ve collected, you can use it to recruit the IT talent you need. This can help you solve your longstanding talent problems and build strong IT teams. But where do you get started? Here’s how CIOs can use big data to recruit top talent.

Clean up Your Data

Over the years, you’ve collected a lot of data. You could have thousands of resumes in your system. Not all of this data will be useful to you, and it needs to be cleaned up before you can do any analysis. If you try to analyze bad data or poor-quality data, you could end up with incorrect insights, which won’t be helpful to your recruiting process.

Cleaning up data is a big job. Data scientists spend 60 percent of their time organizing and cleaning data. Since you and your team are so busy, you may want to hire a data scientist to help with this task. It makes sense to outsource jobs your team doesn’t have the time or the skills to handle.

For example, you could have duplicate records in your system. Applicants may apply for many different positions at companies they’re interested in, so their resumes could be on file many times. You could also have incomplete data sets in your system. For example, if applicants never provided their phone numbers or email addresses, or provided them in unusual formats, their files could be incomplete. Random errors, like glitches in your system, could also cause problems that need to be sorted about first.

Some of the data could also be too old to be of any value. You may not want to include decade-old resumes in your analysis. The field of information technology changes very quickly, and you might not get good insights from older data. Decide how far back you’d like to analyze your data, and exclude anything that’s too outdated to be useful.

Gather External Data

You have a lot of internal data about previous applicants and hires, but there’s plenty of data available externally, too. Candidates’ resumes aren’t the only source of valuable information. Job seekers may be active on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, and their public posts on these sites could be useful to you. Industry-specific forums, like Stack Overflow, can also be a good source of data. You can monitor these types of online forums and gather useful data to help with the recruiting process.

It’s harder to monitor external data than internal data. That’s because you have to head to the internet to find it, while internal data is already in your systems. Still, the hunt for data can be well worth the effort. It can help you learn more about candidates.

Use the Right Tools

To analyze the vast amounts of data you’ve collected, you need to have the right tools. Applicant tracking systems are designed to help companies search their data, so your existing tools may meet your needs. If you can use the tools you already have available, you’re off to a good start.

If your applicant tracking system isn’t letting you find the data you want to analyze, there are plenty of tools on the market designed to enable companies to use big data for recruiting.

For example, you could start using a tool like SwoopTalent. This tool lets you build a database across all your systems. If your data is spread among an applicant tracking system, a CRM, and paper resumes, this tool could help you see the bigger picture.

Other tools let you gather external data to use for recruiting. TalentBin is an example. This tool lets you gather candidate data from over 100 different websites, like social media platforms. You can find information about candidates’ personal and professional interests with this much data. The tool aggregates and scores each candidate’s information.

Determine Your Goals

To use big data in recruiting, you need to determine what your goals are. When you know what you want to learn from the data, you can quickly find it and put the data to use.

For example, you may decide you want to learn where your best applicants are coming from. You could analyze the data to see what percentage of applicants are coming from job boards, social media sites, referrals, or other sources. Once you know how your best applicants are finding you, you can invest more energy in those sources. If one source isn’t sending you many good candidates, you may decide to stop using it.

You could decide you want to see what universities your best applicants attended. When you know where your top applicants studied, you can put more effort into recruiting from those universities. You could hold a job fair at the university to hire top candidates before another company finds them. You could also search LinkedIn for candidates who attended the university in question.

You may decide to see what geographic areas your best candidates are coming from. With this data, you could see that many of your top candidates are coming from a certain city. You could travel to that city to hold a job fair. You could also attend conferences there to network with potential candidates.

Another option could be to find out what job titles your top candidates identify with. You could search sites like LinkedIn to see what titles candidates are using to market themselves. If you find a pattern, you could start using those titles in your job postings. This could help you attract top talent. For example, you could learn the Java developers you want to hire tend to call themselves Java Wizards on their LinkedIn profiles. Posting an ad for a Java Wizard could help grab their attention and get them to apply.

With big data on your side, you’re sure to improve your recruiting process.

New Call-to-action

Mike Leacy

Mike Leacy

Michael Leacy is Vice President of IT and Engineering Staffing Services at Ian Martin.He is also President and Board member of the National Association of Canadian Consulting Businesses (NACCB).His experience is enabling organizations to deliver technical/functional expertise for IT and engineering projects. He lives near the lake and can lay out with the best of them in centre field to make the catch.
Mike Leacy