Using ‘big data’ to evaluate cultural fit

by Sarah Megginson08 Oct 2014
Reviewing a CV to evaluate a job seeker’s credentials and experience is becoming perfectly provincial to some employers, who choose to vet their applicants using ‘big data’ in a big way.
A number of organisations are moving beyond automatic keyword matching by using more sophisticated analyses, such as recruitment technology firm Electronic Insight.
The firm doesn't look at an applicant’s skills, career history and experience when analysing CVs on behalf of clients. In fact, instead of analysing what the applicant is saying, they analyse how they say it.
“We just look at what people write and how they structure their sentences,” Marc Mapes, Electronic Insight’s chief innovation officer, told BBC News Business.
By using this algorithm to analyse language pattern, he said they can gain a better understanding of a candidate's personality and attitude, which allows them to hire in line with their cultural profile.
“About 84% of people who get fired do so because of lack of cultural fit, not because of lack of skills,” he said.
While there’s no denying that big data has the potential to revolutionise recruitment – so much so that Gartner research predicts big data in itself will be a $230bn industry by 2016 – it still requires expertise in driving the search to achieve best results.
“Big data is the future of recruiting, but you can’t just data mine your way to the right candidate," said Ali Behnam, cofounder and managing partner of global recruitment firm Riviera Partners.
“You need the right tools, the right combination of external and internal variables and – most importantly – the right people who know how to analyse all of it.”
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  • by Jane West 8/10/2014 12:11:18 PM

    I was interested in the suggestion that analysing structural elements of an application can be used as an indicator of cultural fit. As I have written a lot of applications for different people, that analysis would assess MY cultural fit with the organisation, but not the applicants. How is this overcome? I assume the cultural analysis is only one pointer used to support the more usual evaluations of applicants and applications?

  • by Michael 8/10/2014 4:54:31 PM

    I'm amazed with all this "technology" and "AI" in recruitment.
    Recruitment is about people and the more you remove people from the process the further away you get from making the right decision.
    No system is perfect or can be applied to all but in my experience weighting candidates and using technology to sort is fraught with danger.
    And yes old fashioned but it hasn't failed me yet.

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