If you have not heard yet of the Big Data movement you had better start reading up. The term is associated with the burgeoning field of taking everything there is to know about you, your habits, your preferences, and general life activities, to provide you with laser focus choices from the food you are most likely to enjoy to the next car you will buy. Now the growing trend is for companies to find out about potential employees long before they are considered for openings.
In the world of Big Data, the web can be crawled and analyzed so your social media, testimonials, resume, or any other data traces left on the internet can be catalogued, reviewed, and given a value. These values can be used as predictive measures of your fit and ability for a company’s workforce and it’s all happening behind the scenes even if you never applied for a job.
The advent of the Big Brother feeling behind Big Data may seem concerning, but actually job seekers can take advantage of being discovered and targeted my recruiters more easily. The importance of a consistent online and offline presence is more critical than ever in terms of standing out and painting a professional image to employers who leverage the power of aggregated unstructured information. This is not a keyword dilemma it’s about your job profile. Activities like blogging can be searched and aligned to stated expertise on your resume. Testimonials on LinkedIn can align with your award for best soccer coach of the year.
Your data should flow both in your skills and your personality so the model of who you really are, your profile, emerges. If you think this level of computational sophistication is not as predictive as it seems, just look to the joint research between staffing data firm Evolv (www.evolv.com) and the Wharton School of Business. In their collaboration to look at job satisfaction and predictors of engagement to work, their research uncovered the following insights:
- People with criminal records in many cases make better employees.
- An individual employee’s success can often be tracked and predicted based on their manager’s performance.
- People with two social media accounts are high performers, but those with more or less are less likely to succeed.
- Graduate degrees and higher education aren’t predictors of employee loyalty. Personality traits like reliability and curiosity are stronger signals
Their goal is to uncover the nature of when a person might quit and allow companies to predict attrition. They are starting to look at managers as well to understand when and how supervisors become blockers and drive employees to leave. Imagine the same logic applied to leadership in general – can we predict which CEOs are likely to drive new business ventures to huge success or which ones will go bust? Understandably, investment houses are taking notice and see the potential Big Data has on human capital initiatives.
For the job seeker, getting ahead of the Big Data crunch is a matter of doing a little clean up. Review your social media profiles and posts to make sure the professional piece comes out strong and the personal side is appropriate. Think in terms of a random person finding a piece of information about you but with no context. What would that information contain and how would it cast you in a favorable light? This is no different than the way people judge you based on your appearance. The cleaner and more put together you look - the more people will attribute positive things to you. Big Data works the same way collecting all there is to say about you and aligning it to what employers need at a particular point in time.
Embrace the convergence of cloud computing and the web in terms of the Big Data push to make sense of all the information out there. The better you are at harnessing this new technology trend, the better positioned you will be for your next big opportunity.