Big Data and Your Job Search

I have to admit that the whole idea of “big data” overwhelms me! In fact, reading articles about it tends to make my eyes glaze over. However, we live in a world where such topics can impinge on our actions, career success, life balance and more, so trying to ignore big data completely is probably not a realistic or sensible choice.

Corcodillos and Big Data in Job Searching

I’ve mentioned Nick Corcodillos and his Ask The Headhunter newsletter a number of times. Today it’s in relation to his article about “Big Data, Big Headaches for Job Seekers?

If you’re already feeling frustrated by the ways in which impersonal screening and hiring techniques make your job search more difficult, time-consuming and prone to failure, Corcodillos’ article won’t provide you with much encouragement. He sees the trend as continuing to grow and is seriously concerned about the emphasis on big data in that regard.

For example, he mentions an article in The Atlantic by Don Peck, called “They’re Watching You at Work,” that quotes a recruiting VP at Xerox Services as saying, “We’re getting to the point where some of our hiring managers don’t even want to interview anymore….They just want to hire the people with the highest scores.”


Corcodillos is trying to arrange a discussion on TV between him and Peck about increasing use of big data in HR. It will be interesting to see if he succeeds and, if so, how that discussion goes. In any case, I highly recommend that you read his article (I’ve provided the link above). It’s very thought-provoking and more than a tad disturbing.

So What About Big Data and Your Job Search?

You and I can’t control the big data leviathan individually…maybe even not collectively. However, you do absolutely need to be aware of its possible impact on your job search. To the extent possible, you must take such factors into account and be both assertive and creative in your approach to job searching.

To start with, fight back by getting personal in your job search as much as possible. That includes making person-to-person contacts, not just online, and nurturing your contact network (both online and offline) so that you are viewed as a real person by those key people. Don’t succumb to the idea–however tempting–that you can manage everything electronically and by rote and still be a viable top candidate for the positions you’re targeting.

Does this mean more work for you to conduct and achieve a successful job search? Undoubtedly, but the alternative is unpalatable. You can throw up your hands, knuckle under to big data and all its cousins, and resign yourself to praying for a minimal job opportunity to present itself to you. That’s really not an option you want to choose!

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