IT Recruitment Bushido

Is BigData going to kill Recruiting?!

Recruiting will never be the same


Imagine if a company, needing an employee, could just enter an inquiry into computer. In 5 seconds the machine finds a couple of thousand potential candidates, then in 5 seconds evaluates them by hundreds of metrics and chooses the most appropriate ones. Then the program composes a personalised message and test for each candidate, processes their answers and picks the person. That’s Jall — the employee is hired.


Is this science fiction? No, this will happen in the nearest future (maybe some Chinese wunderkind is writing the code for this program right now). Will the profession of recruiter survive the tsunami of Big Data? Let’s find out.


The Geeks have arrived in recruiting


The ability in seconds to find detailed information about tens of thousands individuals (including sock size and what sauce the person likes to add to their barbecue) creates many possibilities for recruiting… and dangers, for recruiters. 


10 years ago, recruiting decisions were mostly based on CVs, recommendations, some internal databases and interviews. Today exist hundreds of metrics to describe a potential candidate, including behavioural patterns from online games a person plays and quantity/quality of friends in social networks.


With this information, recruiters can discern insights they could never have found out before. Using algorithms, you can estimate the possibility of a candidate leaving, salary expectations, accordance to corporate values, how to persuade them to accept the proposal etc.


The human mind cannot process such volumes of information — that’s why models and programs are conquering the world. Recruiting is traditionally a soft profession but now it’s evolving into a discipline that requires a lot of hard skills. The number of coders and analytics in HR departments is growing every month. Predictive talent analytics, web scraping and behaviour analysis — only techies can do this stuff. The Geeks have arrived…


What do they bring to recruiting?


A lot. New methods eliminate tons of routine work, especially on research and selection stages.

  • Set more detailed, deep and even crazy search criteria. Need a senior Java developer who collects frozen donuts from all the world? OK.
  • Gain access to a larger number of potential candidates and better aggregation engines. Human search engines as mentioned earlier, help you gain and structure information from hundreds of resources. That allows you in seconds to find over 9,000 appropriate potential candidates.
  • Gain detailed information about a person. Every individual leaves their own digital footprint on the Internet. Of course, the major part of this is private, but even open data creates a lot of possibilities. Technologies help to analyse a person’s behaviour and get insights from it. With this data it’s possible to predict a candidate’s behaviour — strong and weak characteristics, team compatibility, possibility of resigning etc.
  • Learn how to better recruit. Using data, it’s easier to anticipate what a candidate needs and what their work preferences are.
  • HR departments can also deploy tests and games to analyse candidates, measuring reactions and answers for ideal patterns and skill sets. For example, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell recently used two video games produced by Knack, a Silicon Valley startup, to analyse incoming candidates — helping its business leaders assess which minds were likely to generate successful ideas. 

These are only a small part of the facilities that Big Data provides. But we know that there is only one question in your head... 


Will recruiters still be needed?


Yep. But much less than today. Let’s be honest — recruiters spend 80% of the time on research and selection stages. Big Data instruments dramatically reduce this number. Therefore, recruiters will spend less time to hire more people. As a result, fewer recruiters will be needed, and so many will find themselves out of work in the near future. 

The Industrial Revolution led to an enormous reduction in manual jobs. The Big Data Revolution will do the same with intellectual work.


Man or machine?


So, who is gonna recruit and hire in future? A set of algorithms on a cloud server or human hearts and brains?


Both. It seems that routine research and primary selection will be conducted by machine, but no machine can replace (for now) human intuition and decision-making. That’s why the final decision should still be made by a human being.


But there is a big chance that the profession of recruiter will be divided into two subspecialities that will differ significantly. Let’s call them “analyst” and “headhunter”. 


The main task of the “analyst” will be creating recruiting models. When the analyst receives an order to close a vacancy, he develops a model which traces hundreds of channels, analyses interconnections of data and makes conclusions. After that, it proposes potential candidates and provides insights about them. For this job, good hard skills are needed together with a deep understanding of the talent market. 


Then the “headhunter” enters the game. His task — to persuade the passive candidate to accept the offer or make the right choice among active candidates. His role is the most similar to classic recruiting. 


Due to the peculiarities of the analytical stage, it is expected that most of this job will be outsourced, so a new type of company is going to appear, the analytical recruitment centre, which will process thousands of requests per day.  “Headhunters” will mostly work for companies in-house because they need a deep understanding of corporate culture.


How to avoid dismissal


First, answer yourself, whom do you prefer to become, analyst or headhunter. If you always loved to dive into hundreds of CVs and compare candidates by slightest differences, then it’s better for you to immerse into the labyrinth of Big Data. Start fromCS50, then manage R Programming and finish your basic training with Data Science and Engineering with Apache Spark. That way, you will manage some fundamental principles of working with Big Data and define your goals.


The second stage is when the “headhunter” receives the profiles of potential candidates and has to choose an appropriate one. To become a strong professional you should concentrate on developing your soft skills and ability to fill a position with the best possible specialist. Also really important, are the rules of the market you headhunt from. Getting the best Ukrainian Software Developer is not the same as getting the best butcher from Austin, TX or Financial Specialist in suburban London. Having an understanding of local mindset is crucial. 


We wish you to not only survive the Big Data wave in recruiting, but use it as a springboard to achieve new heights.


With respect, 8Relocate team
P.S. if you are interested in getting more info on this topic we'll be happy to send you some articles we've analyzed, just send a request on vp(at)




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