4 Ways to Use Big Data in Your Job Hunt

If you want to be viewed as a desirable candidate, you must actively engage online.

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Job hunters beware: Social recruiting is the next big wave to influence the hiring process.

Shon Burton, founder of HiringSolved, says his company has analyzed and created profiles of up to 100 million people by scouring their unblocked online activities on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Pandora and many more social media sites. This is all done, he explains, to answer three key questions in real time: Who are you? What do you do? And, how do I contact you?

Burton’s company isn’t alone. “What we do is build a digital résumé on every Twitter user. We know everything about every Twitter user – their skills, their experience, where they’ve worked, what they do in their spare time, their hobbies and more,” says Joe Budzienski, CEO of Gozaik.

Goziak and HiringSolved are in the first wave of companies to mine big data to engage both sides of the hiring desk. While their platforms and algorithms differ, both enable employers to target and follow potential employees, often years before they are ready to enter the workforce. Moreover, each has its own appeal to job hunters at the same time.

While this trend of real-time social recruiting hasn’t yet made its way down the whole corporate ladder, that time is coming and you should prepare.

Gozaik presents enhanced information about tens of thousands of jobs that companies advertise on Twitter every day directly to a well-qualified person’s Twitter feed, even if they aren’t looking for a position. “This isn’t just a ‘search a job social job board,’ but rather a full engagement technology to allow employers engage with job seekers and job seekers to engage with employers,” Budzienski says.

According to Burton, in some tight markets the candidate-composed résumé is already a thing of the past, having given way to dossiers compiled by companies like his.

There is no such thing as putting up dividing walls separating what you do and where you do it online. Today’s analytics allow companies like these to delve under the surface of each post you make and join it with information you post elsewhere. They can easily determine where you are from your tweets, and what you are interested in based on your Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo Answers posts. They can join this data to your listening history on Spotify and Pandora, etc., and come up with a pretty accurate picture of your education, interests and the kind of employee you are likely to become.

Burton revealed that his company trolls the entire Internet to find people of interest. If you want to be sought out by recruiters and potential employers he offers several tips:

1. Recognize the future is already here, and use it to your advantage rather than complaining about your lack of privacy. Don't just claim that you have certain skills, but actually demonstrate them. Find a way to post somewhere whatever you think will be of interest to an employer and curate your own online presence carefully.

2. Engage in social conversation. You don’t necessarily have to be the person who does original research and publishes it in world-class journals, but you can contribute to discussions about the latest and greatest in your field of interest. And this can be all it takes to get found.

According to Burton, when seeking programmers for the C computer language, he found a perfect candidate who was working in Five Guys flipping hamburgers, all because the individual was talking about his passion for C online. And that is what got him a job.

3. LinkedIn groups are huge. They are mined by all kinds of companies. Ask intelligent questions, provide answers and further the conversations. You will soon be considered a thought leader and gain the attention you need.

4. Learn about and take part in sites like these: Quora.com is a social question and answer site encompassing all kinds of general information whose quality assurance is crowdsourced. Yahoo Answers is a similar and worthwhile place to post and obtain information.

If you happen to be in the tech field, Burton suggests Hacker News, slashdot.org, stackexchange.com, stackoverflow.com and github.com. 

If you are in another field, find the equivalent sites where professionals gather to learn from one another and talk about things of common interest.

The overriding message of these new companies is this: If you want to be viewed as a truly desirable candidate, you must actively engage online. If you want people to be interested in you, be interesting. Then, watch out, because you’ll become a sought after candidate.

Happy hunting!