31/12/2014

By Ben Hutt, CEO, Talent Party


UK businesses have been hampered by slow and expensive recruitment processes for a long time. According to recent research it costs over £30,000 per employee and takes on average 60 days to hire. Worse still, more than half the time people don’t live up to expectations! I believe businesses have become desensitised to how painful traditional hiring processes are because since the dawn of time there has been no real alternative. The advent of big data, machine learning, and cloud technology means this doesn’t any longer have to be the case and as a case in point this week we hired a new team member in 4 days from start to finish leveraging the Talent Party marketplace!

Data and insight can fuel good decision-making and visualisation of complex information. Arming employers, whether senior individual in a small business or HR, with insight, based on vast datasets and using rich, evolving algorithms to find and show precisely what people need can dramatically enhance the process. Recruitment is one of the few remaining industries to be truly transformed and empowered by big data; however, I believe we are on the cusp of change. Our research reveals that almost half (41%) of hiring managers have compromised on the quality of a recruit because they couldn’t find the perfect candidate. This can’t go on and it’s time for businesses to embrace technology to help ease their recruitment pains and ensure they remain as profitable and productive as possible.

Big data isn’t just a buzzword
A lot has been said about big data and Data Science, particularly in the media, and therefore some may think it’s just a passing trend or a buzzword. It’s not. Big data is transforming businesses and allowing consumers to benefit from products and services being delivered, and needs being met, in ways never before conceived.

Big data is gathering insight from a vast collection of data sets which is too large and complex to analyse using traditional means. Looking specifically at recruitment, it should include information related to candidates, skills, competencies, jobs, employers, careers, trends, etc. Whilst these are just basic examples, you can see how it would be possible to form insights from this data that would allow you to predict when an organisation needs to do a recruitment drive or how it manages its succession planning for different types of roles.

It’s also important that businesses don’t get into the mind-set that big data is an IT ‘thing’ because it sounds a little techy. Data science and machine learning are influencing the way every day processes occur in every industry, from retailers’ analyses of user web browsing and purchasing behaviour, through to identifying when to engage with customers on social media. Both of these examples are big data at work, helping organisations to make informed decisions.

The power of today’s technology
With recruitment, I think big data can address a number of the headaches organisations currently face when they are trying to hire new talent. By using complex algorithms to analyse every detail on millions of CVs, in a matter of seconds organisations and HR professionals can be presented with a shortlist of individuals that meet their needs. In turn, they can be connected with talented recruiters with a pre-existing relationship which can be leveraged to quickly get a candidate screened and motivated to interview. Marketplace, only possible because of the internet and cloud technologies, then enables the rapid negotiation of terms between parties, and collaboration leading to an incredibly short time and low cost to-hire high quality staff that meet the needs of the organisation.

Very few organisations globally have sufficient data to meaningfully practice Data Science. However, through bodies in the UK like The Open Data Institute, governments and commercial bodies are working on ways to leverage public data for benefit. In additions, companies with specialist skills and interests like ours will use Data Science and Machine Learning to constantly refine and improve outcomes for Candidates, Employers, and Recruiters the world over.

The future is looking positive
Today, recruitment should take 10 days or less, and it should be a pleasure not a pain! It’s only because of the coming together of Data Science, Cloud, and Machine Learning that this can be achieved. It’s taken three years to achieve, but the fact that organisations of all shapes and sizes can now hire people in as little as four days, is proof that we’ve achieved something dramatic.

The best thing in my view about all this technology, and the digital revolution which is unfolding, is that it provides a great leveller. Small and large businesses have equal opportunities both to have access to services, and provide services, in a way never seen before. Individuals, whether taxi drivers or recruiters in our case, are empowered to deliver their business and their services through a digital channel, on their own terms, profitably, and in a way that makes customers happy!

There are paradigm shifts unfolding around us all, all the time. We’re in the second industrial revolution, and we can expect more change and substantial improvement in how quickly, cheaply, and flexibly we can do all sorts of things over the next 12 months!