Meet Your New HR Boss, It’s Big Data And Algorithm

Do you know who calls shots in the Xerox call center’s HR department?
Much to your surprise, these decisions are now being taken by big data and algorithm models, and not by HR managers. Recently, the software gave its verdict to hire candidates with a creative bent of mind. To the popular option, the model rejected those candidates –who had an inquisitive bent of mind. This is the first impact of the big data technology on HR jobs.

These algorithms are also deciding what to look for in a candidate. Recently, they made a grand announcement in the printer and outsourcing company that experience does not matter so far as hiring is concerned.

The model has designed a 30-minute test that analyzes their personality by putting them into real life scenarios that they may encounter during the job. Then the program spits out a score: red for low potential, yellow for medium potential or green for high potential. It may give a signal to hire yellow, if they can be trained.

This new big data and algorithm model has helped the company to cut the attrition rate by 20 percent. Hiring analytics has been found to provide better recruitment recommendations for companies, at least in the hiring of low-skilled workers. This has been revealed in a National Bureau of Economic Research study.

But many HR people are ostensible worried over this development as they feel that this can take their jobs. It’s a scary thought for many HR persons. When the big data arrived in the scene a few years ago, it was more seen as a complement to the HR process. Nobody had thought that it would pose a threat to the conventional HR jobs.

Mitchell Hoffman from the University of Toronto, Lisa B. Kahn from Yale University, and Danielle Li from Harvard Business School, after analyzing the hiring decisions of 300,000 low-end jobs, reached to the conclusion that human interference in the recruitment process actually produces worse results. On the other hand, employees hired on the basis of algorithms had lower attrition.

The role of human judgment will further shrink in future because of the development of predictive analytics. In a recent speech, Andy Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England estimated that the recruitment process of some 15 million jobs in the UK, and 80 million in the US can be automated through such predictive analytics model.

The process has already started. Algorithms has come in action at Xerox, the companies call-center hiring are now looked after by algorithms. They analyze candidate profiles and makes hiring decisions.
This is not enough. They are also helping to take more subjective decisions. Companies like Walmart, Credit Suisse and Box Inc. are using algorithms to find out people who are likely to leave jobs.

But it’s also risky. Weeding out minority and disable candidates is illegal under Federal laws. If the hiring practice is challenged in the court as discriminatory, they may be penalized.

Such software are checking your honesty too. Bon-Ton Stores Inc. uses a system, Kernex, to screen out candidates that may steal items from the store or take leave by making false excuses. The system uses a 40 –minute survey during which it asks many questions to check honesty.
And those who try to fool the system, they are just weeded out.

The future of HR jobs

The job of HR manager will remain intact at least for next 10 years. Though, human intervention will continue to decrease, HR jobs are not going to disappear as it’s a people’s centric industry. HR professionals play a major role in talent management, human resource development, training and many other things. Big data may lead to creation of specialized jobs of big data specialists in the HR department. Their importance will enormously increase in future.
Big data won’t replace the HR department, but it will make the decision making process much more efficient. So chill out!


Chief Content Strategist

An active journalist and blogger with more than a decade of experience. He has worked with various national and international publications. Sharing behind the curtain news is his passion.

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