What Big Data Analytics Could Tell You About Your Workforce

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What if you could predict how many years an employee was likely to stay at your company based solely on their Facebook page? It sounds like science fiction, but in a few short years it may be an integral part of hiring. Big data analytics is the newest technology which is being used to predict employee’s workplace performance and work style. At its core, big data works by exploring the statistical relationships in vast data sets which are far too unwieldly to be explored via traditional means, such as the vast amount of content which social media users produce.

Every day, nearly 500 million tweets are sent, and more than 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook. And this data is being used to great effect to discover some pretty interesting correlations. For example, income can be predicted relatively accurately based on the number of swearwords a person uses on Twitter. Further, by looking at the type of language used in Facebook posts it’s possible to predict personality traits like openness and extraversion.

Some recruiters are already using social media to screen candidates. Fifty-five percent have reconsidered a candidate based on their social media profile, with 61% of those evaluations being negative. But social media red flags aren’t simply limited to candidates doing overtly unwise things like badmouthing their boss or posting pictures of themselves using drugs. Things as small as spelling and grammar mistakes or voicing political opinions are enough to turn some recruiters off.

But employees have become savvy to these techniques as well, with it not being unheard of for candidates to carefully screen the content which they allow on their Facebook wall, or even set up dummy Facebook accounts in an attempt to fool their prospective employers into thinking they work 80 hours a week and never observe public holidays.

While these social media scans are only occurring on a small scale for now, and are largely limited to simply looking at a candidate’s profile, it likely won’t be long before organizations start to employ large scale data-mining operations and specialized software in an attempt to find the best candidates. It might not be too far in the future when one can simply take a list of CV’s, search for ‘extraversion,’ and have each and every candidate ranked according to the things they’ve said and done on Facebook.

Big data analytics is still a burgeoning technology, but we’ll likely see its commercial use blossoming and becoming ubiquitous over the next couple of years. And while it’s unlikely we’ll see a future where interviews no longer exist at all and all employees are hired by data trawling their Facebook page, big data is certainly set to make a big impact on the way which we do recruiting.

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How You Could Have Avoided that One Hire You Regret

sleep2You know the one I’m talking about. The candidate who had a resume which was the recruitment equivalent of Mona Lisa. But as soon as they started, you realised they couldn’t even spell team – let alone participate in one.

These are the hires who avoid work like the plague, are rude to their colleagues and managers, and have emotional outbursts whenever you confront them about it. In short, they’re a black hole of productivity and end up wasting immeasurable management hours simply through trying to prevent them from negatively influencing others’ work.

It’s not an easy situation to deal with, and while it might be too late to avoid those bad hires who are already in your company, there is a way to avoid them in the future: screen candidates using a personality assessment.

Personality is of utmost importance in the workplace, and we now know enough about it to have a pretty good idea of how it influences behavior. Here are just a few of the maladaptive behaviors that crop up time and again in those regrettable hires, and how you could have weeded them out before they had a chance to take root in your company:

* Poor planning: Have you ever had to get a file from a bad hire, have them spend half an hour trawling through windows to find it, only for them to realise that they’d printed it out and deleted the soft copy? Then you’re probably dealing with someone who is low on conscientiousness. Conscientiousness predicts the tendency to plan and have self-discipline, and is absolutely critical. In fact, the research shows that conscientiousness is the number one predictor of job performance.

  • Arrogance: There are an abundance of personality traits which predict arrogance, and key among them is narcissism. Narcissists are out for glory, and they’ll step on anyone who stands in their way to get it. But personality tests have long been able to predict narcissistic tendencies. Ever seen a question which asks ‘Do you always excel at what you do?’ That’s not testing for ability, it’s looking for narcissism. And it stands out from a mile away in a personality test.
  • Poor company fit: Admittedly, the candidates who are simply unequivocally terrible at their job are relatively uncommon. Far more likely to appear are candidates who are adequate at their job – but never quite manage to excel because they don’t fit in with the company or their workmates. Personality testing is able to help you design a team who you can be sure will work well with one another to achieve success.
  • Hostility to others: Some people are better team players than others, and the degree to which the ability to work in teams is important will vary from role to role. However, employees who are overtly hostile to their peers are going to cause irreparable damage to your productivity and brand. A particularly terrible employee may even be abrasive enough that they cause other excellent employees to seek a new job. Fortunately, these maladaptive personality behaviors can be predicted, and traits such as agreeableness can detect how well a candidate will work in a team.

Many of these behaviors will not become apparent until after the interview, or even appear a few weeks or months into the job. While a thorough interview process can weed out some of these personality traits, themost scientifically objective and proven way to detect them is via personality tests. Applicants can exaggerate or outright fabricate their achievements, work ethic, and behavioral

tendencies on their CV and in an interview, but they can’t do it on a test which is specifically designed to detect mistruths. By measuring personality, you can get a good idea of how candidates are going to behave before they even step through your door.

¬What big data analytics could tell you about your workforce

What if you could predict how many years an employee was likely to stay at your company based solely on their Facebook page? It sounds like science fiction, but in a few short years it may be an integral part of hiring. Big data analytics is the newest technology which is being used to predict employee’s workplace performance and work style. At its core, big data works by exploring the statistical relationships in vast data sets which are far too unwieldly to be explored via traditional means, such as the vast amount of content which social media users produce.

Every day, nearly 500 million tweets are sent, and more than 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook. And this data is being used to great effect to discover some pretty interesting correlations. For example, income can be predicted relatively accurately based on the number of swearwords a person uses on Twitter. Further, by looking at the type of language used in Facebook posts it’s possible to predict personality traits like openness and extraversion.

Some recruiters are already using social media to screen candidates. Fifty-five percent have reconsidered a candidate based on their social media profile, with 61% of those evaluations being negative. But social media red flags aren’t simply limited to candidates doing overtly unwise things like badmouthing their boss or posting pictures of themselves using drugs. Things as small as spelling and grammar mistakes or voicing political opinions are enough to turn some recruiters off.

But employees have become savvy to these techniques as well, with it not being unheard of for candidates to carefully screen the content which they allow on their Facebook wall, or even set up dummy Facebook accounts in an attempt to fool their prospective employers into thinking they work 80 hours a week and never observe public holidays.

While these social media scans are only occurring on a small scale for now, and are largely limited to simply looking at a candidate’s profile, it likely won’t be long before organizations start to employ large scale data-mining operations and specialized software in an attempt to find the best candidates. It might not be too far in the future when one can simply take a list of CV’s, search for ‘extraversion,’ and have each and every candidate ranked according to the things they’ve said and done on Facebook.

Big data analytics is still a burgeoning technology, but we’ll likely see its commercial use blossoming and becoming ubiquitous over the next couple of years. And while it’s unlikely we’ll see a future where interviews no longer exist at all and all employees are hired by data trawling their Facebook page, big data is certainly set to make a big impact on the way which we do recruiting.