HR professionals discuss in ING boardroom about big data in Talent Acquisition

19 May, 2017

Read in: Nederlands

Tuesday, May 16th, together with Recruiters United, Endouble organised the first boardroom discussion in which peers exchanged experiences on the topic of ‘Big Data in Talent Acquisition’. ING’s playful boardroom was an excellent venue for this. Sandjai Bhulai, professor of Business Analytics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, kicked off the morning with an inspiring presentation and stimulated the attendees with bold statements. We share the highlights:

Big data in Talent Acquisition

At the end of the 1960s, the term big data was first mentioned, but 90% of the data we now have available has been generated over the past two years. Information overload is a commonly heard problem. At the same time, online CV databases, social media profiles and HR data host a wealth of information that can support the HR process. Recruitment analytics tries to answer the following questions appropriately:

  • How do you obtain the right information?
  • How can you use the information correctly?

The possibilities of big data are endless. Sandjai gave Facebook an example. They can predict when people break down, based on the profiles they visit combined with text analysis. What if we apply these opportunities for Talent Acquisition?

The importance of big data

To emphasise the importance of big data for Talent Acquisition, Sandjai uses the comparison of clinical judgment (based on experience) versus actuarial judgment (based on figures). HR professionals are continuously assessing human behaviour based on experience (‘gut feeling’) or based on numbers. Research indicates that the numerical method is the most successful.

Grip on big data

To give people and businesses a better picture of big data, the 4 V’s have been devised. Big data distinguishes itself with 4V’s compared to ‘regular data’:

  1. Volume: the word already says, a high volume of data, especially driven by digitisation
  2. Velocity: this indicates the enormous speed at which big data is generated and processed
  3. Variety: data in all forms, structured and unstructured
  4. Veracity: how truthfully big data is remains a difficult point

To get hold of big data, it is necessary to formulate clear goals and define a framework. Start with what you already have and formulate quick wins.


Sandjai gave the attendees insight into the different phases of data maturity. To this end he used the model of Gartner which describes the following stages:

  • Descriptive analytics: describe what has happened (business information)
  • Diagnostic analytics: explain why something happened
  • Predictive analytics: predict how development progresses to the future under constant conditions
  • Prescriptive analytics: influencing the Obviously, the more mature, the better.

The key benefits of analytics for Talent Acquisition are:

  • A shorter time to hire
  • Higher quality of candidates
  • Decrease of recruitment costs

Big data in practice

After an inspiring introduction, Sandjai threw down the discussion by making the participants an attractive proposal: “If I provide you with a team of data scientists, have all your challenges regarding applying big data been resolved?”Attendees were a.o. Achmea, VodafoneZiggo, eBay, Optiver, Dela, Fujitsu, Conclusion,, C&A, LUMC, FrieslandCampina and ING.

Would you also like to attend one of the boardroom-discussions next time? Then contact us or keep an eye on our agenda.

More about the boardroom-discussion series

Change is the new normal. Not only at technological level but also in administrative and demographic terms, changes are happening rapidly. This has an impact on the way we recruit and retain people. Endouble sees companies struggling daily. That’s why Recruiters United and Endouble organise a series of boardroom-discussions where colleagues in a confidential atmosphere can discuss with each other about current topics.