Using ‘big data’ to evaluate cultural fit

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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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  • kb on 2014-10-07 3:04:10 PM

    So we shortlist people who are a cultural fit without consideration as to whether or not they have the technical qualifications to do the job. In the same issue you've run this story is another one highlighting the power of seems to me that if you screen for cultural fit you are minimizing the opportunity for diversity as well as overlooking job related qualifications...and then how do you defend against a complaint of discrimination in your hiring practices. You won't be able to point to the fact that the successful candidate had a stronger combination of job related skills and experience. I wouldn't want to be in the position of having to do that. I think cultural fit is an important consideration but I think you have to look first to see who has the technical qualifications for the position.

  • Rene on 2014-10-09 9:51:39 AM

    Well said!

  • Mal on 2014-10-13 12:02:44 AM

    I agree with kb.

    I also fail to understand how they can analyse what the applicant is saying, because in a CV one focuses in showcasing their knowledge, skills and ability, they are not writing an essay. Secondly many applicant seek advise from experts to have their resumes written, so it is not them writing their CV This could lead to matching candidates (who have not written their own resume) to a job that might assume they are culturally fit.
    Furthermore, is this an effective method of finding best suitable candidates? Is there a research shown that supports this method of selection and hiring.

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