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WCN panel discusses what to do with Big Data

WCN, the leading UK and global e-Recruitment software provider, hosted an interactive debate focusing on & lsquo;The Future of Recruitment: Transformational Opportunities for Improving Effectiveness’. The panel was chaired by Charles Hipps, CEO at WCN, who was joined by a panel of recruitment professionals including, Carl Du Plessis, Interim Head of Resourcing and Talent, at The Co-operative Bank Paul Arthur, Solution Architect Technology Consulting at Alexander Mann Sandeep Bhandal, Head of Strategic Development at Penna Walter Hueber, CEO, at Cammio and Filip De Geijter, CEO at, Actonomy.

Arthur remarked: “Big data is a massive influence on any recruitment process, but are we using it to its full advantage? We are collecting data all the time and know it can drive better efficiencies, so why not make it available to other analytical platforms and share what is collected, otherwise it is just going to waste. I feel that being open and transparent is key to further advancements within the industry and a better use of this big data.” 

Geijter added that it is not always clear what people are doing with big data they collect: “We should be using big data to enhance our job descriptions, making them more relevant and job specific. At the moment we are letting technology run the process rather than using it as an invaluable tool for finding the best talent.”

Du Plessis agreed: “We just need to be clever with it. This data can be used on targeted markets as well as to understand changing demographic conditions. It is an important part of the total process, but we need to use it wisely.”

Hipps rounded off: “Recent research has shown that a computer is more accurate at predicting a subject’s personality, than a work colleague by analysing just 10 Facebook Likes more than a friend or a roommate with just 70, a family member with 150, and more than a spouse with 300 Likes.”

During the exhibition, WCN undertook a visitor survey to find out what the biggest challenges recruiters are facing within the industry, among those questioned were Blackrock, Fox International Channels, Dairy Crest and House of Fraser just to name a few but once again budget restrictions topped the agenda, with

31 percent of those questioned selecting this issue as the main difficulty they faced.

The panel explored the idea that in order to effectively reduce costs it is important to put the onus of costs back onto the business. Du Plessis remarked: “We look into the company as a whole and challenge the whole picture. It is essential to make sure each person is taking accountability for every penny spent. By doing this we are making the costs real to each individual, highlighting it is your money and this is how you are spending it.”

Bhandal commented: “The first step is to make a company budget, not separate teams. You can automate the process, with a better use of ATS systems and technology, making the process more cost effective. Finally organisations have to work out what the best channel for them is – do they go online or traditional, should they be looking at talent pools to find suitable candidates, or webinars and networking?

Geijter added: “If people look at HR and recruitment teams separately it will always be a serious issue. Cost is always human. The more humans the higher the cost. Organisations need to be looking at where they can spend less human hours and where these hours could be more valuable in the long run. It is important to track the process in order to measure value. Without value we don’t have a way of judging success.”

Social Recruitment was another popular topic preoccupying the audience. The panel argued that social recruitment is an effective tool, but it could be more valuable. Du Plessis said: “Many use social networks as a job board, but I have always been of the opinion that is should be more of an engagement tool. Use it to let people know about your company, increasing engagement from the market. Get your internals blogging, posting and interacting with followers, then once engagement is high, release the advert and reap the benefits. We should be using social networks to do our job better, not let it take over.

Hipps concluded: “Market engagement seems to be the main theme amongst the panel, when it comes to social recruitment. It is clear to see that there is no guaranteed best practice method, but everyone agrees that technologies and innovations within recruitment are playing a more prevalent role within the process. It is important to remember that these technologies are here to facilitate us, not take over.”

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