Big Data

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.  

The Internet of Things – Yes you are using it everyday!


The Internet of Things in Lynnetalk means less wires.  You probably don’t even realize how many things in your home right now are part of the “IoT” family.  Do you have a wireless printer or one that is connected through your modem so that all your computers and tablets can access it.  How about a smart TV.  Yes – it is part of the IoT.  Basically anything in your home that is connected through wi-fi to the internet is part of the IoT.  My smart meter is one of my favourites – not only can I control it from my phone but so can the Hydro company.  In the summer during a heat wave, they will turn my air conditioning down to help control possible black/brown outs.  (I just thought I was having a hot flash every day at 5 pm).  

Every day the IoT is adding new features and items faster than we can keep up.  The main conduit for the IoT for the everyday person seems to be your phone or tablet.  Some of them we don’t even realize are happening.


Hyper-Targeting – A catchy phrase that basically means everything you do on the internet is being tracked and analyzed.  

Do you have a mobile phone or tablet?  Your phone is basically being tracked every time you move.  Yes – every time you move.  A signal is being sent out as you walk through the mall, as you drive your car.  What is this data being used for?  

  1. Retailers will use that data to transmit “Sale of the Day flyers” to your phone as you walk through the mall. 
  2. Restaurants will target customers in walking or driving in a 5 mile area letting them know about specials being served between 5 and 8 pm.  
  3. Advertisers will be able to track your likes and dislikes as your phone travels around the city/world.  They will know where you shop, what you buy, your favourite coffee and then you will be targeted with advertising for your specific likes.  I guess it is better than receiving paper flyers from every box store in your region :).

This is Big Data at its biggest.  Just think every step you take is being recorded.  Every coffee you order, every trip you take, every book you read.  Tick Tick Tick, they are all being counted and a multitude of companies are analyzing this data and selling it to advertisers.  Google and Facebook are the gods of Big Data.
Digital Payments 

We’ve all seen that commercial by CIBC – take a picture of your cheque and deposit it automatically.  Wish I had it today, last thing I want to do is head to the bank when it is -20 outside. 

Apple Pay is coming to Canada, maybe as early as March 2015.  Get rid of your wallets, now you only need your iPhone6 when you go shopping.  Google Wallet is the android equivalent app.  But don’t leave your credit card at home quite yet, even though more retailers are offering this service it is still quite limited.  


How often do you lose your car keys?  Your purse? My eyeglasses at least twice a day.  Well let me introduce Pixie – the Location of Things.  All you have to do is attach “Pixie Points” to things, anything.  Then your mobile phone (yes your mobile phone knows more about you then your mother) can find anything you have pixied.  The other great thing about this app is you can categorize items together – i.e.  do you travel a lot – then pixie your passport, your medications, your travel documents, chargers, etc.  Before you leave check the app to make sure they are all in your bag.  No more “Mom where is my knapsack” just PIXIE it.  

What will the Future bring?

Are you excited about any new innovations?  Do you have an iFit watch?  I would love to hear from you about your favourite IoT or what you think the future will bring.   


happyfacehanddrawn Good Luck job huntingguestpostintroductionLynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!


Big Data – Will new records be set for 2015?

The weather – record highs, record lows, record rainfall, record snowfall.  Growing up these were the only statistics I knew until I discovered sports.  Then it was goals scored, assists, games won, games loss.  I was blissfully unaware of all the other stats that team sports kept until my son went into peewee hockey.  There was a hockey Dad on the team who sat in the corner by himself with a gigantic spreadsheet with all the kids names on and categories across the top.  Now they were keeping track of all players who were on the ice for goals for and against, hits, powerplays, penalties, etc, etc.  I was amazed who would actually want to come to a game and sit there – tick, tick, tick during the whole game and then analyzing it all and presenting it to the coaches.  This was all done manually – please note:  I am not as old as Methuselah, but I am still a child in wonder when I look at all the amazing innovations happening in the world today and Big Data awes me.

Twitter and the Internet allow me to follow weather reports around the world as they are happening.  See pictures of storms within seconds of them being taken.  Yes I am a weather groupie.  Then there’s traffic, I was on the Don Valley the other day and the sign said 12 minutes to Eglinton.  Yes I glanced at my clock, marked the time and sure enough when I got to Eglinton it was 12 minutes later.  This was in traffic.  How do they do it?  Is there a satellite up there counting cars as they go by?  Sensors in the road?  20 years ago, traffic studies were done by people sitting on a lawn chair on the corner counting cars, tick tick, tick.  Remember those  IIII   (that meant 5).

Big Data, fast data, numbers I can’t even fathom.  What the heck is a zettabyte?  I was excited when they had a terabyte.  I just purchased a new laptop that has more storage on it than my last 5 laptops and desktops combined.

How big and how fast is it going to get?  I have no idea, but I am definitely enjoying the ride.  The attached slideshare has some of my favourite stats from the last couple of years.  Looking forward to what 2015 has to offer.


happyfacehanddrawn Good luck job hunting


Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!

Capital markets riding the cutting edge of the digital revolution

Planet4IT has been a successful IT staffing agency for 15 years.  Recently we started to notice that the ever-changing technology landscape has spawned a subset of talented individuals who don’t fit perfectly into the traditional IT world.  P4Capital is our response.

It’s a division aimed at people who specialize at the point where capital markets and wealth management intersect with technology.

Data is where all of these specialists interact, create, and work. Think of data as the meeting point of Digital and Capital.

In 1964, Marshall McLuhan coined the term global village.

The new electronic independence re-creates the world in the image of a global village.” — Marshall McLuhan

50 years later we are finally arriving at the point where it’s becoming a reality.  It is technology that is enabling this, but if you stop and ask yourself why are we pursuing all these technological advances you will inevitably come to the conclusion that commerce is the driving force behind it.

Commercial society has always been the hallmark of North America, and with the fall of communism and the rise of democracy the rest of the world is pushing commercialism to a whole new level.

There is perhaps no better example of commerce than the traders of Capital around the world.

The major stock exchanges see more volume now than ever before, and those who can find advantages in investment can turn very serious profits.

Big data has provided those who can effectively understand it an advantage that rivals the speculation of films like Limitless.


I see every scenario, I see 50 scenarios, that’s what it does Carl – it puts me 50 moves ahead of you.

With big data and good analytics come many advantages in the capital markets trading game:

  • The first is speed.  Real time databases such as Hadoop allow for information to be processed at a rate unprecedented in human history. We’re talking millions of information indices being turned into relevant and useful information in nanoseconds.
  • The second is depth.  Algorithmic programmers now have access to a huge volume of data they can sift through and collect relevant information from.   This has allowed traders to build significantly more accurate predictive models.    Now we are living in a world where data processing gives competitive advantage.
  • Thirdly and lastly for this post, is sales.  The world of commerce doesn’t exist without the private funding of people who are willing to put their money in other people’s hands.  The ability to maximize the amount entrusted is often an overlooked component of the trading game.  Sales teams and traders work side by side in banks around the world.  Big data analytics have given those sales teams ammunition to maximize their investment by building out customer profiles that predict who they should be contacting on any given day.

It’s easy to get distracted by the bright lights of the Digital world, but the reality is commerce is one of the biggest reasons these technological advances are useful to society.



Guest Blogger: Andrew

Andrew is one of the newest members of Planet4IT, so 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 effecting business.

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



Functional Big Data – Turning Digital into a Competitive Advantage

90% of the world’s data was produced in the last two years, With all the advancements that have happened in that time, it can sometimes seem like the 2200 of Science Fiction novels is actually only a few days away.

Businesses need to keep up; if they don’t start evolving now they are going to be left behind.

Think of it this way. How many of the companies that are part of the Fortune 500 today were around ten years ago? Now reverse that – how many of those companies that were around 10 years ago are still on the list today? To avoid becoming one of the lost, companies need to evolve with the times. That means finding ways to make Big Data work for you.


What exactly does that include? At its most basic, Big Data is Unstructured Data.


We’re talking bits and bytes here; pure, technical data. The question is, why should businesses care about analyzing unstructured data?  The answer is because it provides their sales and marketing teams with an advantage and an opportunity they couldn’t have even dreamed of 10 years ago.


Everytime that you do anything on the internet, that information can be stored. Because of things like online shopping and Social Media, people are offering up so much more information about themselves than they used to.

Big Data is collecting all that information that people are voluntarily offering about themselves on the internet. The amazing part is what companies can do with that information.



Businesses need to use Big Data because it allows them to create a customer profile that they could only have dreamed about 10 years ago.

It allows companies to understand the psychology of what makes you, YOU!

It all comes down to the client record, customer profile, consumer identity; call it what you will. Essentially, this ability to take unstructured data and turn it into usable customer information has allowed companies for the first time ever to strip away all the noise, and get down to the main wants and needs of individual customers.

A data scientist is far better equipped to tell you the how but the short version is this: by pinning your online activity to your customer profile, a company paints a picture of what you want or need based on what you have historically wanted or needed.

Think about that for a second. You walk into a store and your gadget of the day lets the store know you are there. The salesperson gets a message saying you are there and today you are 90% likely to buy that new television you’ve been eyeing. How fast can they run over to you? That technology exists!

By hiring a group of employees to use this unstructured data, companies are going to no longer need to rely on third parties to give them customer data – they will be able to do it themselves. That means cross industry changes and the restructuring of niche markets.


Marketing departments the world over should be drooling with anticipation.

Efficiency in marketing is about to spike the same way assembling cars did with the advent of assembly lines. The possibilities a detailed customer profile can give to marketing professionals the world over is nearly limitless, but it is efficiency that is the real internal selling point.

Amazon is already capitalizing on this. Check out our Blog on their Anticipatory shipping model HERE, but essentially what they are doing is this.


Image from the Amazon Anticipatory Shipping Patent.



Amazon is using their customers unstructured data to predict what they are going to buy before they even buy it. They have patented this technology, so if this pans out it will be a advantage strictly given to Amazon.  Functional Big Data – Turning digital into a competitive advantage.


The ramifications are huge! For any business, if your competitor is doing this, think of the disadvantage you’re at. Your rival will know more about both their and your potential customers than you do.

Consider this example: Person A goes online to book his dream vacation – and uses two sites. One that uses big data analytics, and one that doesn’t.

On the site that doesn’t, he might package the whole thing together, be ready to buy, then get distracted and decide to put off purchasing for another day, if ever.

The company utilizing big data – Person A signs in and before even finishing selecting the package, this fictional company will get an alert saying Person A will buy this today if we get on the phone with them. The phone rings, or the online chat pops open and it’s a sales representative from the site, saying can we help you put this package together. That’s competitive selling in 2014.

The social media site LinkedIn is already using this technology – opening up chat windows in real time if you are scrolling on their help pages, or looking to make a purchase to a higher monthly package.






Guest Blogger: Andrew

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 effecting business.

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