Hire Better Talent With a Big-Data Scientist

This new breed of HR employee will integrate data sets, interpret findings and compare different data sets to make new discoveries.

learn more about Heather R. Huhman

By Heather R. Huhman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

According to a recent report by SilkRoad, 65 percent of human resources professionals surveyed said one of the biggest problems faced by companies that don't have HR tasks "integrated with automated systems" is a lack of critical data and analytics.

To solve this problem, employers need to hire big-data scientists for their human resources department to collect and analyze data regarding job seekers, potential candidates and current employees to determine future outcomes for hiring and management decisions. A Towers Watson survey earlier this year found HR data and analytics is among the top three areas for HR technology spending.

Related: Not Using Big Data for Hiring? You May Be Missing Out on the Best Candidates.

Big-data scientists can be IT professionals or other professionals with a background in statistics and mathematics. These individuals understand how to integrate data sets, interpret findings and compare different data sets to make new discoveries.

Indeed big-data analytics demands skills in data analysis, statistics, data cleaning and problem solving. Most HR professionals don't have these skills, so there's a demand to find big-data scientists who can work together with HR. Here's how to do it:

Related: How to Hire the Absolute Best Talent for Tech Jobs

1. Get leadership on board. According to a 2013 survey by CareerBuilder, 36 percent of organizations said senior IT leadership within a company are the biggest driving forces behind implementing big data.

To get leadership on board, emphasize how a data scientist will have a positive impact on the organization's bottom line. According to another 2013 CareerBuilder survey, 27 percent of employers said a bad hire cost them more than $50,000.

Explain exactly how the human resources department will use a big-data scientist. Once the big data-scientist is hired, he or she will determine better ways to screen new hires, gauge employee performance, discover high-performing employees, measure employee engagement and predict employee turnover.

Related: Marketing, Meet Tech. 4 Tips for Hiring a Data-Obsessed Team.

2. Begin recruiting talent. When recruiting data analysts, employers should look for candidates with a background in a combination of statistics, mathematics, and computer science.

Soft skills also play an important role during the recruiting process. Big data scientists are curious individuals because they're inspired by learning and new making discoveries from data. Big data scientists must also possess strong written and oral communication skills because they need to be able to report findings back to top management and the HR department.

Next, a create job ad to attract data scientists. For inspiration, here are some key skill sets desired culled from two recent ads for a HR data-analyst position at Kroger and a talent-acquisition analyst post at Exponential:

Analyze human-resources data to understand hiring needs and predict hiring trends. Be able to analyze and organize large data sets.

Make recommendations for HR strategies from data findings.

Have knowledge of human resources functions and policies, HR and payroll data.

Prove data insights to recruiters and hiring managers.

Pay attention to detail, be able to collaborate and communicate effectively.

Related: What to Look for When Hiring IT Pros For Your Business

3. Ask data-specific questions during the interview.

To identify the best candidates, here are some questions to ask during the interview process:

"Tell me about a time when you taught yourself a new skill."

"Tell me about the hardest question you had to answer using data."

"Tell me about a time when you had to analyze new data and the steps you took to recognize trends."

"What is your learning process for analyzing new data?"

"How do you communicate data findings to top management?"

Related: Tech Workers Are Now Sizable Slice of Big Apple's Economy (Infographic)

4. Use data-based HR technologies during the hiring process. When recruiting big-data scientists, it's a good idea to take advantage of data-infused HR technologies until you find the right candidate.

Tools such as Cangrade, ClearFit, Knack and Jobscience help employers recruit top talent, gauge a candidate's potential performance. Using these tools will give HR managers and recruiters an idea of what types of outcomes a big-data scientist can bring to the table once hired.

Does your organization have a big-data initiative? Does your HR department include a big-data scientist?

Related: Team 'Ban Bossy' or Not: 3 Reasons Why Hiring Women In Tech Grows Business.

Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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