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Using Data Science to Hire Employees
– One of the most fascinating things I found
in researching this book was this rise of the idea
of people analytics, this idea of taking the Moneyball
approach, which years ago the Oakland Athletics did
to find the baseball players based on data
and data science rather than their gut feeling
of who would be a good baseball player,
and now applying it to the workforce.
And a number of companies from Google to your Credit Suisse
are now using data science to hire workers.
And what they’re looking for is, you know,
the workers that they already have, who’s surviving
and thriving, who are their best people
and reverse engineering their careers.
And when they do that they’re finding out
it actually doesn’t matter where they went to school,
what they majored in, what their GPA is.
And in fact in the case of Credit Suisse,
which I profile in the book, even quantitative reasoning,
which everybody thought was important for people
who would work in an investment bank,
is not as important as they thought.
They found all these other factors from leadership
to musical ability to participation
in co-curricular activities to internships that
they found were so much more important to student success.
And what did that do?
That led companies like Credit Suisse to enlarge
the number of institutions that they recruit at
and also the types of majors they recruit.
I’m actually really positive about
this development in hiring because I think
we’re moving from an era where hiring is basically
based on gut and in some cases a personal bias
about where somebody went to school
or even if they went to school at all
and we’re moving into this era where it’s going to be based
much more on data.
I think we’re going to be doing much better hiring
in the process and I think in some ways
students then could be encouraged to do these things
in college and worry less about where they go
because I think the process is going to be
much more democratized than it has been in the past.
Employers are frustrated with college graduates,
which I’m not quite sure is anything new.
If you look through the history,
employers have a long complained about college graduates.
The other thing that I found interesting
in interviewing employers is that employers
are not a monolithic group.
Obviously they differ by industry,
but they even differ within specific industries
and within specific companies.
So one example, I met the CEO of Procter & Gamble,
one of the biggest companies in the world,
and he talked about how he loves
liberal arts college graduates.
And then I met a recruiter for Procter and Gamble
who was on the front lines of hiring
and she laughed when I told her that and I said why.
And she said when was the last time he hired
a new college graduate?
Of course he could say that because he’s thinking
about an employee 20, 30 years down the road
who he wants to hire for a high-level management experience
but we’re looking for people with specific skills
who could do the job today.
So this really confuses, I think, new undergraduates
and new graduates of colleges and universities
’cause they’re not quite sure what employers want.
But for the most part employers told me
that students today are missing the soft skills.
I think we should call them the hard skills
because they’re hard to teach.
You know, working in teams, communication,
ability to problem solve, and the biggest one of all?
Navigating the ambiguity of today’s jobs, right?
No job is laid out like education is.
And even as jobs have become more ambiguous,
our school system, K-12 and higher ed,
has become more definitive.
And we test students often, we keep them in lanes
to make sure that they graduate on time,
and at the same time the world of work
is changing and changing drastically.