Talent Analytics—What Do they Mean to You? By Shaun Bradley

As the competition for talent heats up, HR managers are looking for more sophisticated tools to help them hire the right people—and retain them.

Big data is moving into recruiting in a big way. When companies combine native data with analytic capabilities, or a well-honed analytic team, the benefits are tremendous.

How does data help?

Cognitive tools, like those available with IBM’s Watson, use linguistics to make inferences about the personality and social behaviors of a target candidate. Through this predictive analysis, HR managers gain insight about a candidate, and how a candidate compares to other applicants and current employees. Here is how it works:

  • Predictive tools use past and present data to make suggestions about the future.
  • Using information gleaned from sources like LinkedIn, Twitter feeds, blogs, email, or other social media, analytics are gathered and inferences are made.
  • With sufficient information, analytics are displayed in a graph, offering you a rich, projective, characterological portrait at a glance.
  • Using predictive analytics, managers have a tool to match not just for skills—but for qualities that spell the difference between the right—or wrong—hire.

The analysis of candidate and talent data offers a wealth of information. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), some key benefits of talent analytics include:

  • Insight into important hiring factors: Although many employers believe educational background is a key predictor of success, some analyses suggest initiative, or other qualities, could be better differentiators. While the talent demands of each business are unique, the key attribute needed for success in a particular position may not reveal itself until a data model of currently successful employees is created for comparison.
  • Pricing with job banks: Analytics give you previously hidden information about referral points during the recruiting cycle. If analysis shows you are getting relatively poor, or unsuccessful candidates, from a particular service, use your information to negotiate lower prices or improve service.
  • Engagement, engagement, engagement: High levels of employee engagement lead to better retention of talent, lower recruiting costs, and increased customer and client satisfaction. Using intelligent tools, you can discover where to recruit the best talent, focus points, and how to challenge your human capital after on-boarding.

From perspective analysis that offers you insight before hire, to metrics that help you adjust HR practices on the go, talent analytics are becoming go-to methods for managers invested in hiring for human, and business, success.