Does Data Drive Good Hiring?

To data or not to data? That is the question when it comes to determining if potential hires would make good employees. The arguments seem to favor it but at least one expert is wondering about its true effectiveness.

SHL, a subsidiary of CEB that specializes in talent measurement, is an enthusiastic backer of the concept. Its 2013 Business Outcomes Study Report supports the use of data when it comes to hiring.

“The case-study-based report reveals that organizations are achieving tangible bottom-line results through a better understanding of the abilities and future potential of their prospective new-hire candidates,” pronounced in a press release.

It cited, as examples, “an electronics retailer found that sales associates who achieved high assessment scores averaged 19 percent more sales per month, translating to more than $70 million in increased sales per year. Additionally, a telecommunications provider found that customer service agents who had high assessment scores handled calls faster, were more likely to meet customer service rating goals and were more likely to be rated top performers overall. The company saved more than $22 million annually through increases in productivity.”

Robert Morgan, SHL President and CEB General Manager, said, “… global executives believe the key to delivering profitable growth is a 20 percent increase in staff productivity. Our findings clearly show that those organizations that leverage talent measurement solutions to recruit, retain, and develop top talent typically meet or exceed their performance and productivity goals.”

He added, “As organizations seek to do more with less, many are looking to talent management solutions including pre-hire and post-hire assessment tests, in order to better understand people’s abilities and potential to perform. Organizations need employees who are flexible, collaborative and able to flourish in increasingly knowledge-based roles if they want to grow.”

Of course there are dissenting opinions. In an earlier post here at, Nick Corcodilos, writing at, said headhunters are relying too much on big data when recruiting personnel and it’s hampering their ability to find the best candidates for the job and keep them in their positions.

He added, “America’s employment system is getting even more automated and algorithmized by applying ‘big data’ to process you. According to [an article] in The Atlantic (“They’re Watching You At Work” by Don Peck), the vice president of recruiting at Xerox Services warns that, ‘We’re getting to the point where some of our hiring managers don’t even want to interview anymore.’ According to the article, ‘they just want to hire the people with the highest scores.’”

Kazim Ladimeji, a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and a frequent contributor to, offers his perspective on the issue. He said, “[B]ig data is currently being used by leading companies to boost their hiring processes, making it, in my opinion, an industry best practice that all HR companies should be looking to adopt. I would even go as far to say that given the insights that big data can offer, it is foolish to ignore it.”

He added, “Admittedly, big data has been center stage for some time amongst the powerful employer brands, but big data should now be center stage in HR across the board. It’s not enough for HR professionals to walk into the boardroom with gut instinct and say, ‘I think this is going to happen, and so I’d like this.’ HR now needs to be saying, ‘Our statistics show this is not working and that this approach is twice as effective; so, I recommend doing this…’”

via Does Data Drive Good Hiring?.

Share Button