BinocularsBig data and talent analytics are transforming the hiring process as we know it. 

By definition, talent analytics is the practical application of big data techniques to human resources, taking into account the data of past, current, and potential employees to produce insight. With this insight, businesses can more easily identify top employee qualities and use this valuable information to hire precisely the right candidates. 

The ability to attract talent — the right people, not just anyone – is now one of the biggest differentiating factors in the business world today. As a result, there’s an emerging marketplace for tools and solutions that can help enterprises assess their cultures and find people who “fit” – fit within their strategies, their cultures, and their teams, as well as the open jobs themselves. 

With the right data in hand, HR managers today have discovered that recruiting the best candidates is not only faster, but also more cost-effective and objective. In fact, analytics technology is bringing about a transformation that is gradually changing HR’s function entirely, making it more integral to business goals and strategies than ever before.

Talent analytics can give managers insights into whom to hire while keeping costs low, increasing the efficiency of the process and widening the pool of candidates. It also can help companies better analyze turnover, conduct more effective succession planning, stay on top of certifications and training, and identify top performers, ensuring they are effectively engaged. 

There are numerous points throughout the recruitment, hiring, and retention processes at which talent analytics can help. These cutting-edge technologies can help HR personnel to:

1. Find Strong Cultural Fits

Even a perfectly talented, high-performing individual can fail in a company culture that is not a good fit. The traditional interview typically focuses on an applicant’s resume and original first impression. Even subsequent interviews are highly prone to error when assessing if a job seeker will fit in with the company’s overall culture. Talent analytics can identify candidates that are closer cultural fits, increasing the chance of placing new hires in positions and teams where they can thrive. 

2. Listen to Their Networks 

Social listening is the next frontier in social recruiting. Most companies now use the likes of LinkedIn and Facebook as core social recruiting sources. Talent analytics take this one step further. By combining natural language processing technology with trends across platforms, talent analytics solutions can identify strong candidates before they even become job seekers. 

3. Build Dream Interview Teams

Like candidates, interviewers have strengths and weaknesses. One manager may be quite adept at assessing a candidate’s problem-solving abilities, but may be completely blind to assessing cultural fit. Talent analytics can help focus and balance your interview team to collectively deliver the best assessment of each candidate. An understanding of interviewer weaknesses can then be used to conduct training that improves overall recruiting and interviewing skills across the company. 

4. Hire for Predicted Success

Talent analytics can help managers analyze success traits of existing employees, identify tangible and intangible traits, and align screening practices with these success characteristics. This is relatively easy to implement for high-volume hires; examples include positions such as tellers, call center personnel, and grocery store clerks. Talent analytics can also identify a relatively small number of questions that tend to differentiate between good hires and poor hires. 

5. Redefine the Meaning of ‘Best’ 

As Malcolm Gladwell notes in his book David and Goliath, students at the top of their classes will get their degrees, others won’t — whether or not they’re at Ivy League schools. Sure, students in the top 1 percent from the top schools are indeed extraordinary. But after that, the playing field levels. Graduates of the top schools are not necessarily the top performers in their fields.

Apply this same idea to finding good candidates: don’t just focus on the “best companies” to recruit from; focus on the “best performers” in their fields. Look at skills, not experience; consider results, not just degrees; consider class ranks, not institutions. Widening the scope can seem daunting, and that’s where talent analytics enters the process — with the ability to look at a very broad set of criteria and scour the Internet to help you find the gems.

Talent analytics is becoming a key component to creating successful talent management processes in today’s competitive business environment. Companies that embrace these new approaches are seeing significant impacts – in large part because a broad variety of rich data can now be considered, allowing more detailed pictures of candidates and the talent market overall to emerge. 

Organizations are also using talent analytics to discover critical connections and generate high-quality prospect pools that regular hiring channels simply can’t. The result: teams of employees who are more qualified, easier to train, happier, and more likely to be valuable contributors in the long term. 

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