Making Sense of Unstructured HR Data with Spire

Jan 19, 2016

The majority of the data that HR is comprised of is unstructured i.e., the data comes in mostly textual form such as documents, emails, text files, powerpoints, pdfs; audio and video; and of course tweets and posts. The one way it typically does not come is in the form which could be quantified and stored in database systems, making it easier to process which is usually in the case of structured data.

Structured data is that which can be identified within an electronic structure and stored in databases. It can be easily entered, stored, queried and analyzed. For example: When humans input data into a computer such as in spreadsheets, forms; or data generated when a buy-sell transaction takes place such as credit card details, product cost, bank code; or a web page log analytics such as unique visitors, visitor demographics, visitor IP, etc.

As it can be seen, unstructured data can be very difficult to decipher. Can machines decipher the context of the words to understand sentences?

Unstructured Data and HR

In any organization, different departments and functions have their own ways of doing things. Often formats are not standardized. HR receives resumes and job descriptions in various non-standard formats. This is a pain for recruiters who have to manually scan each resume against its job description to shortlist candidates.

These days HR professionals receive thousands of resumes and are expected to hire the right people in the shortest possible time. Given that a recruiter spends 5 minutes scanning a resume, it must take them several days to scan the influx of resumes from job boards, references, company career pages and job advertisements. Three things are obvious here –

  1. If all the resumes are not scanned, right candidates could get easily missed

  2. It is very likely that an organization’s own database of resumes does not get optimally utilized

  3. Due to time and operational constraints, recruiters might not have the choice to select candidates free of bias

  4. The duration of time-to-hire is long

Spire's Contextual Intelligence Technology is the Key

Companies need contextual intelligence technology to tackle the increasing volume of undeciphered HR data. If explored correctly, the data could reveal a gold mine of information.

What is contextual intelligence?

Spire's Contextual intelligence technology uses human-like abilities to process unstructured data. Thereby it gives 'context' to data making it more meaningful, useful and reliable.

For example: A contextually intelligent HR system may not necessarily pick a resume which contains the largest number of 'Java' words in it; but rather a resume which when scanned by a human recruiter would suggest that it contains more real-time 'Java' experience data instead of just the total quantity of the word 'Java'.

The human capability to discern data and understand the same word differently in different contexts is in-built into the Spire contextual intelligence platform; supplemented with cloud computing and powerful algorithms which ensure that data interpretation does not go wrong. Collectively, it processes resumes and job descriptions with speed and maximum possible accuracy.

Contextual technology is poised to meet the demand of deciphering humungous HR data being generated all over the world in today’s digital age. Without it, HR data which is characteristically unstructured by nature would remain a big mess.

In short textual data cannot be dealt with without understanding its context. Using contextual analytics, companies can get new insights, in-depth metrics and eventually make better data-driven decisions.

Contextual technology makes recruiters’ life easy

Coming back to the obvious perennial problems faced by recruiters mentioned earlier in this blog - not being able to utilize resume data bank optimally and recruiting bias-free; and missing out on right candidates due to time and operational constraints – all of which can be resolved by using contextual technology.

The biggest advantage recruiters get by using Spire's contextual technology is reduction in time-to-hire as it becomes possible to hire only the 'right fit' candidates in the shortest possible time and thus save valuable time and costs.

The benefits are very significant when the gamut of application expands to other parts of the human capital supply chain as well. CHROs can help impact business outcomes and contribute to strategic decisions with critical talent data analytics and insights.