How Big Data and Technology has changed the face of HR

Do you remember typing your resume up on an electric typewriter (lol even I don’t go back as far as the manual typewriters).  One for each company you were applying for.  Back in the 1980’s jobs were in short supply.  It was normal for someone to send out 200 resumes before they received an interview.  Each resume had to be typed individually.  Stuffed into an envelope, stamped and posted or dropped off manually hoping this might give you a leg up on the competition.  Every morning a mini forest landed in the mailroom, sorted into a cart and delivered to the Hiring Manager by the “mail girl” (that was how I started at Ontario Hydro).  Reams of resumes had to be sorted into job categories and then sorted into:  trash, contact, keep on file.  And yes you are right, all these people were then contacted by mail or phone depending on the decision.  Answering machines were in short supply in homes in the 70s and 80s, so it was OK to phone the company to see what the status was on your application.  The next step was storage.  The resumes that weren’t put in the trash were stored in big grey filing cabinets.  After their “shelf live expired” they were archived – which meant put in a box and stored in another location.  There was no recycling back then and we hated throwing anything away.   If you didn’t have a good filing system good luck finding anything in this paper filled “big data” system.

One of the companies I worked for in the early 90’s used to scan 1000’s of paper resumes into their databases every day.  It was a very basic database, name, contact info and a dump of the resume.    


Along came the Recruiter

Large companies like IBM, Ontario Hydro, General Electric, etc soon figured out that they couldn’t keep up with the piles of paper resumes coming in.  What to do?  Here’s a great idea let’s outsource it to a “Headhunting/Recruiter” company.  They can deal with all the paper, the follow up with the people we aren’t interested in and do the screening of the applicants we are seriously interested in.  


Next step was the Applicant Tracking System “ATS”

The monster job board was created in 1994.  Companies jumped onboard paying the fees to use their online database.  The late 1990s found companies running their own ATS systems.  If you go onto the TD site today there are 21 pages of jobs with the keyword “Developer” in it.  If you are interested in one of these positions, be prepared for 15 minutes of ticking boxes and entering data before you even attach your resume.  Don’t forget anything or – boom – rejected.  Your resume then goes into a MASSIVE database of potential employees.  

The ATS morphed into individual databases for SMBs.  Recruiting companies’s can easily have 100,000 entries in their databases.  Now comes the problem, how do you deal with all this information?  

  • Let’s look up keywords.  Oops that can be an issue because anyone who has written a resume in the last 15 years knows to make sure they put the keywords all over their resume. 
  • Keep it clean, don’t let your DB become a MONSTER.  
  • Keep your candidates active.

Big Data and HR is a 2-way Street

This is where H2H (human 2 human) is still an important part of the HR and Big Data Analytics system.  They have to work together.  What is the most important thing you both can do to keep the system working properly?

  • Databases can easily get overrun with duplicate records.  Don’t send in your resume multiple times with different names or different email addresses.  It just clogs up the search process.  You might be the one who gets lost.
  • Use standard titles, a Java Developer is easy to search on.  A fancy title isn’t
  • Keep in touch – Keep your contact information and resume up to date.  When you change jobs send a new copy of the resume in to your recruiter, or update the companies online DB.  
  • If you are a recruiter send out newsletters and email blasts.  If you are a candidate subscribe to these.  
  • Don’t forget the direct approach – a direct email or a phone call is always the best way to keep your relationship growing.

HR – means Human Resources, hiring a person can’t be done strictly from a database. Resumes are your history, databases are a means of contact.  To land the job you have to bring the H2H into the process.  


What roles are needed for a company to thrive in the digital revolution – Part 3

Part 3 of our series

Let’s continue on with the newest installment in looking at digital positions.  The Digital Revolution is upon us.  As organizations start to build out their front office technology teams, there are many different skills and positions that are needed.

Let’s keep the list the same for now:

Social Media

User Experience (UX)

User Interface (UI)

Web Programmers

Graphic Designers

Data Scientists

Data Analysts

Digital Business Analysts

Digital Strategists

Digital Architects

Web Analytics



Real-Time Database Administrators

CRM Implementers


To recap; If you want to be part of a winning front-office digital team you need to always keep in mind the purpose of your position; to drive sales, full stop.

This week we look at the Digital Architects, Digital PM’s, Web Analytics (again) and RT Database Administrators.

Digital Architects


Digital Architects:  Architects in technology come in many different forms (solution, data, application etc…) but in the digital world the term architect is largely used to indicate someone who can incorporate the front office systems into the middleware and enterprise systems of large organizations.  This is a very important skill that allows the sales and marketing teams to connect with the technology infrastructure teams.  Ultimately it aids in revenue generation by streamlining the processes of an organization.

Digital Project Managers


Digital Project Mangers:  The nature of front office projects, compared to traditional IT projects, is that they generally involve a more co-operative team environment.  Not only do you need developers and testers but you might need artists, user experience and web analysts or more.  As a result THE key skill of a digital PM is the ability to be a strong scrum master who knows how to be a gatekeeper not just a facilitator.

Web Analytics


Web Analytics:  We talked about web analytics in edition 1 but it is worth revisiting as it can be such an inclusive title.  One of the more detailed roles within this broader category is using the Adobe Digital Marketing Suite.  Experts in Adobe or their competitors’ digital marketing tools can find themselves looking at potentially ludicrous contract opportunities.  The digital marketing suite allows for many things such as

Real Time Data Architects and Administrators


Real Time Data Architects and Administrators:  This is the one “Digital” position that probably is still being paid for by the IT department but is of critical importance to the success of digital departments.  Databases such as Hadoop that allow for data to be stored in such a way that it can be used in real time provide a significant advantage to front-office teams.   The people who understand how to setup and run data centres using these technologies are empowering the analytic and data science teams of the front office to perform their roles to the utmost of their capabilities.

That’s it for part 3, we will take a look at a few more positions in coming weeks.  Remember if your position reports to the CMO, CDO or VP of Sales, the value you provide to an organization is in some way related to increasing sales and revenue!

Andrew is one of the newest members of Planet4IT, but he brings with him a fresh new perspective.

With one eye on the job market and the other on the IT world, he’s the man to go to for information on how the latest advancements in Data, Digital Marketing and Social Media are affecting business.

Andrew encourages you to reach out to him through not only telephone or email, but LinkedIn and Twitter as well