Increasingly, recruiters and managers are going beyond the resume and evaluations and turning to Big Data. That means a lot of old practices for evaluating people and stereotypes about who succeeds are falling apart.
Google, known for rigour in evaluating people, has devalued SAT scores and college GPA, which have long been critical tools for gauging potential.
Prasad Setty, Google’s vice president for people analytics, told The New York Times that they’ve found that those numbers alone didn’t lead to success at the company, and “are no longer used as important hiring criteria.” According to their data, the most innovative and happy workers feel like they have autonomy and a strong sense of mission, so Google looks for employees who have an entrepreneurial bent over those with the best test scores.
Those insights come from an incredibly detailed employee data tracking program, which tries to optimise everything from optimal levels of pay and benefits to the length of lunch lines. Data comes from the usual sources, surveys, employee feedback, and so on, but also from experiments from the company’s People & Innovation Lab designed to figure out best practices. Google applies that wealth of data to both hiring and management.
And though Google was an early pioneer, more and more companies are starting to join this trend. IBM recently acquired Kenexa, a company which gathers data from upwards of 40 million applicants, managers, and employees each year. Even dating site eHarmony plans to get into the talent search business.
Companies can take what they already know about their own people, which can include signals from their instant messages, emails, phone calls, or more sophisticated tracking, and combine it with the increasing amount of data available about applicants (through LinkedIn, other social media, and more).
Each company looks for different things and will collect different data. But increasingly, management, hiring, and promotions are going to be more focused on Big Data rather than people’s opinions and other measures, like academic records and SAT scores.
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