February 3, 2014

Big HR Data: Why Internet Explorer users aren’t worth hiring

Filed under: Hiring, Job Search, Q&A, Recruiting, Stuff I worry about, Video

In the February 4, 2014 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, we’re catching up on the TV news segment I told you about recently…

Ask The Headhunter Video

This space is normally devoted to Q&A: A “live” problem faced by a reader, and my advice. But two weeks ago, in the January 20 edition, I asked for your input about how employers use “Big Data” when recruiting and hiring.

I was preparing for an appearance on Brian Lehrer’s TV news magazine. Your comments and suggestions were very helpful — many thanks! I promised I’d share the program with you after it aired, and I’m devoting this week’s edition to it.


In this segment, we’re joined by The Atlantic columnist Don Peck, whose article, “They’re Watching You At Work,” is a deep dive into the use of people analytics in hiring. Thanks to CUNY TV and to Brian for his pointed questions. (Brian’s main gig is on New York City’s NPR affiliate, WNYC radio. I’ve enjoyed being his guest many times.)

Corporate HR departments and recruiters have been misusing Big Data — online resumes, applicant tracking systems, job application forms — to recruit and hire for almost two decades. They solicit millions of applicants, then claim none fit the bill. Is it your fault for playing the cards they dealt you in a game they rigged?

According to Peck, it’s no surprise that now employers are doubling down on technology and Big Data, and buying oodles of information about you — so they can correlate it to their fantasy of the perfect job candidate.

For example — no kidding — the browser you use correlates to how successful you will be if you’re hired. Internet Explorer users are “less apt” — no jobs for them! In this data-rich recruiting approach, people analytics render a “decision” about whether to hire you.

What do you think of the ideas discussed in the video? Is HR just getting dumber? Check it out, and post your comments!

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55 Comments on “Big HR Data: Why Internet Explorer users aren’t worth hiring”
By Nick Corcodilos
December 4, 2014 at 12:29 am

@Diana: Now, that’s a very articulate rant! Maybe even a nice, short manifesto.

By Ann
December 4, 2014 at 2:15 am

@Diana, I’m in on this all the way with you! I never mention my employer’s name online or even in some real life conversations. I would never speak ill of my employer in any way, but I like feeling that my work life and non-work life are separate … unless I truly feel that I’ve got reason to enjoy and trust a colleague. I make it a personal policy not to not become LinkedIn connections or fb friends with any employees, former employees, or current colleagues from my job. I had assumed that non-job email (like gmail or yahoo,etc., would be a safer place to connect re a job search, that email would grant more privacy than fb or LI. But I must say that all this sounds so paranoid – but increasingly,I think, we are watched too much for causes or interests that may not be aligned with,for example,a cause that the company would not espouse. Makes me want to go plant potatoes in Maine and have conversations only in person, around a table.

By Ask The Headhunter® | Nick Corcodilos – Big Data, Big Problems for Job Seekers?
January 17, 2015 at 2:48 pm

[…] [UPDATE: Here’s the link that includes video from the TV program: Big HR Data: Why Internet Explorer users aren’t worth hiring] […]

By John Sheffield
February 4, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Big business isn’t trying to do things better, just cheaper, since no job below the executive level is viewed as anything more than a necessary evil, and any dollar that doesn’t go into a shareholder or or exec’s pocket is looked upon as wasted.

That way employers can whine about how they aren’t getting qualified applicants, hire cheaper, less qualified people, and avoid paying qualified employees what they are worth.

It will only “self correct” once

By James
February 7, 2015 at 7:17 pm

Really? My experience here in Cleveland is that you get hired from who you know, period. Most people will not network with you unless they already know you.

Honeywell in Strongsville, a suburb of Cleveland, is good for this. They instrust their friend or relative to go ahead and apply online and we’ll pull your profile. You’re hired.

Same as always, you have to know someone to network before you can network.

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