My logic here is that every year before now, I’ve gone on ESPN and checked the predictions from the sportscasters. I have that little bit of hope that this could be the year I actually win a bracket contest. And do you know who I lose to? Usually it’s the person who knows nothing about sports - the one who picked favorite colors or what mascot would win in a cage fight and I’m left with a completely busted bracket after day 1. And usually, I'm a little pissed about it. I'm competitive, what can I say.
Hypothetically speaking, if the stats were always right, you should be able to pick the #1 seeds in each conference and win every time - they’re #1 for a reason, right? Put it all down on paper and pick the winner of the four #1 seeds and boom – you should win. But we can’t do that because we’re working with something completely unpredictable – groups of humans.
I bet you’re catching my drift on how this applies to recruiting. If not, let me break it down for you.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with recruiting statistics but I’m saying, they just might not be right or something you can necessarily use. Rankings and statistics mean shit when you lose – in March Madness or with a great candidate. The #1 candidate isn't always going to pick your company and you won't always have the best in class employer brand to even get those candidates to apply. Then, we take a pile of statistics from the analysts and try to hold our companies to those standards (and fail miserably, just like I am in my bracket).
That’s the thing about recruiting - we're dealing with humans; every person is different, every job is different. Yeah, it’s great to know that 50% of the time x-y-z strategy works according to some study, but bottom line, we’re really flipping a coin on what will work if we don't know the metrics that align with our business, not the big brand standard. We need more companies to be really honest and talk about their stats, not citing the blanket stats that are the average for everyone. That’s how we can really help each other be better at this hiring and selecting thing.
A great "big data" recruiting strategy should start small - with the baseline metrics for YOUR company, looking at annual reviews, staffing projections, workforce planning – not the baseline metrics on average from companies you don't work for. Why? Because you don’t know if that’s bull shit in the first place. 84% of all stats are made up. (Hell, I just made that one up.)
What do you think? How do you make the big data work for your small company?
(Have to give a shout-out to Steve Levy for inspiring this post with a late call on a Friday afternoon. You're the man, Levy)