anxietyThere’s a lot of anxiety around hiring, for both employers and potential employees.

The Financial Times ran a story about how “big data” is being tapped (using complex algorithms) to find better employees.

Some companies now investigate data sets of past behavior trying to predict a variety of ideal employee qualities like loyalty and salesmanship, and also to spot bad apples who might for example increase the high turnover rates at a call center.

The folks using big data as a sieve like this don’t know why it works, just that it does.

Some of the findings are unexpected like “employees who’re members of one or two social networks were found to stay in their job for longer than those who belonged to four or more social networks.” That’s odd.

It may be that being careful of the breadcrumbs you’re leaving all over the internet may be more important job-wise , than your resume.

And in some cases, the analysis of big data showed an employee’s past work experience in a similar field wasn’t a predictor of success. That’s sometimes a plus for potential employees. Applicants who in the past wouldn’t have gotten their foot in the door might now get an interview.

This reminded me of hiring advice I heard once: hire generalists who have enthusiasm and humor.