In the olden days, recruiters only had access to a tiny slice of your personal data, and it was largely within your control. Your resume, for example, came directly from you and was tailored specifically to represent the side of yourself you’d most like to share. Nowadays, HR barely even needs to see your CV. Once they know who you are, data analytics can provide a much more complete picture of you than your resume ever could. It can even predict, with a high degree of accuracy, how well you’ll fare at the company.
How do recruiters get all this data? We give it to them, of course, just by being alive in the 21st century and interacting with other likeminded humans on the internet. Companies like LinkedIn Recruiter and TalentBin offer organizations ways to perform searches for “passive” candidates based on keywords. If you’re a candidate with the qualifications they seek, you can bet these companies will find you — even if you haven’t put that information on a social media profile.
“Humans engage in professional activity all across the web,” TalentBin’s Peter Kazanjy tells Business Insider. “Even if [an engineer] never put it on a LinkedIn profile you can know that he’s been tweeting about iOS and Xcode and Objective C, that he’s a member of meetups on meetup.com or has answered questions on Stack Overflow, or he’s following a bunch of repositories on GitHub or he’s participating in Apple engineering support email chat lists about Xcode.”
Companies can then compare information about your personal and professional life against data they’ve compiled from employee surveys and performance reviews.
All this might sound like “1984,” but it could actually be good news for workers as well as their employers. For one thing, companies are discovering that their most successful employees aren’t necessarily the ones they’d expect. Many companies, Google included, have found out that SAT scores and GPAs don’t accurately predict success. As a result, they no longer use them, opening up coveted spots at prestigious companies to folks who deserve — but wouldn’t ordinarily get — a chance to show what they can do.
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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt writes about work-life balance, stress management, and other topics relating to what makes us happy at work. A full-time freelancer, she deals with stress by blurring the lines between life and work to the point where the two spheres are barely separate. The happiest day of her career was when scientists proved that looking at pictures of cute animals makes us more productive.