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HR management : the good use of Big Data

Although it’s summertime, and while my compatriots were enjoying sun on the beach, I was reading the following article regarding the rising influence of « Big Data » on the recruitment process.

As an Online Research Consultant, some points of this article raised a few reflections.

First of all, and as I told before, I am not convinced at all that information management means only pressing buttons. Even more when it comes to HR management. Adding an employee to an organisation is like adding a new element in an existing structure. It can either reinforce it, or collapse it. Therefore, recruitment is not something to be taken lightly. And reducing a potential employee to the volume of data provided by Internet is the signature of an organisation in which everything and everyone must be counted and measured to be judged. This is an open door on this organisation’s vision of its environment and, by deduction, of its development strategy. A useful information for its competitors….

The second thing that bothers me on this article is the automation of online data collection excluding those who are not on Internet. Although, in the lectures I give, I encourage the people attending my lectures in being seen on Internet, particularly on professional social media, I am not convinced that someone who is not personal branding oriented should be discarded. It is the job of a recruitment professional to be in search of « the special one« , who will add value to the organisation. And the search should be lead on every sources : Internet, expositions, schools…Just consider football coaches, setting up the best possible teams. What if they were looking for a midfield player or a stricker only by reading resumes on Internet ? It is my opinion that the recruitment professional should have the skills of a hunter.

Finally, what is the point in digging the candidate’s private life to determine his professional skills ? Should the management skills of a CEO be judged by the way he manages his sentimental relation with both his wife and his assistant ? In France, this is obviously not the case. We have something called privacy. This is also a point I regularly remind the persons who attend my lectures : don’t sacrifice your privacy. If you do not want anyone to know what you do after you left your work, it is your right. And you should not be judged of discarded from a recruitment process for this.

Finally, the interest of this article is to make us think : which world do we want to give our children ? The one described in George Orwell’s « 1984« , where everything and everyone is under control, or a place where they are free to be whoever they want to be.

I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own.” said the prisoner upon arriving in the Village. We are free men, do not turn into numbers.


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