How Recruiting is a Balance of Data and Instinct

Joseph Stubblebine
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Data-driven hiring, or using indicators to predict the success of a given candidate in your company, is the latest technological trend to hit recruitment. The best recruiters know how to combine the possibilities of data analysis with human instinct to find the candidates who will be the best all-around fit. By employing both in your HR department, you can build a stronger team and reduce turnover.

The use of "Big Data" in hiring is useful, but it is not without its shortcomings. Though data can predict how a candidate will perform, it cannot necessarily find the person who will get along with your employees or the one who will be happy in your company culture. Likewise, it is a mistake to create a recruiting process based entirely on instinct, which is also fallible.

The most effective recruiters are those who strike a balance between data and instinct. To do so, you must figure out how to work data-driven hiring technology into your recruiting without allowing it to take over.

For many companies, the best place for data-driven hiring methods is at the front end of the process. Data analysis companies, which are emerging quickly as the trend grows, can help you identify the candidates who are most likely to succeed in your field. Using information gathered from your company and other sources, they can assess your applicants and narrow the field.

When you use a data-driven hiring process to find the most qualified candidates with the highest potential, instinct can begin to play a larger role. Your instincts can help you spot personality-based red flags that won't show up in a data analysis, such as a hot temper, social awkwardness or an inability to communicate professionally. They can also be useful in spotting the candidates who will make a good addition to the corporate culture.

The process should not always be 50-50, says Business Insider. Instead, it should depend more on the nature of the position and the company. If you're hiring a person for independent, highly task-oriented work, it might be more effective to put more weight on data-driven hiring methods. For a more creative, people-oriented position, your instinct can be more valuable to the recruiting process.

Finding the best balance between data and instinct takes time and experience. If you are a new human resource recruiter, it can be difficult to trust your instincts; in that case, you may need to rely more on data. Over time, however—and by trial and error—you'll discover the right balance for your company.

As data-driven hiring systems grow in popularity, it is important not to lose sight of traditional hiring methods in favor of new technology. By utilizing Big Data and trusting your instincts, you can get the best of both worlds and create a more effective recruiting and hiring system.

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