There is, in executive search, such as thing as too much candidate data. Few recruiters understand how to wrangle it. They lack the necessary deep data expertise to gather, parse, and analyze data to make executive search smarter. In fact, many executive recruiters still turn to “name generation” — research aimed generating more candidate names. Information overload is the problem and not the solution.
Recruiters didn’t need much research expertise a decade ago. But these days, they need to up their data science skill-set. The amount of information has multiplied exponentially. Executive recruiters are overwhelmed by resumes, social media profiles, email, tweets and texts. They lack the ability to match force with a tsunami of career data. They cannot separate the signal from the noise. They miss perfect candidates because too many lesser executives get in the way. As a result, executive recruiters fail.
Googling a prospective candidate’s name, rank, and serial number is easy.
You know what’s harder? Deep web data.
The amount of digital data is increasing at a stunning rate. IDC, a global market intelligence firm, estimates a 40 percent to 50 percent growth rate in digital data. In only five years, the firm anticipates there will be 40 zettabytes of data out there. Does your search firm even know what a zettabyte is? It should.
A zettabyte is a measure of storage capacity and is 2 to the 70th power bytes, also expressed as 10 to the 21st power or 1 sextillion bytes. One zettabyte is approximately equal to a thousand exabytes or a billion terabytes.
Michael Walker, the Managing Partner of Rose Business Technologies, describes what we’re witnessing as the Rise of Data Anarchy.
Data Expertise Makes Executive Recruiters Smarter
Imagine making hires harnessing the prediction power of a Nate Silver. Imagine actually knowing who top candidates are and how they have outperformed all the others. It’s the executive version of Moneyball that discovered competitive advantage hidden deep inside baseball statistics — beyond the obvious batting averages, home runs, runs batted in (RBIs), and wins. Only these players are in suits. (For more, see our post about AgendaWeek interview with us about moneyball in recruiting.)
Executive recruiter sourcing “best practices” are outdated. Search firms must invest in research data expertise. They must invest in brilliant information scientists and data investigators. Those who refuse to make that investment are, informationally, searching with their eyes closed. The key to finding a top-notch executive search firm is to look for a firm with serious data research credentials. (We’re glad you found us.) These days, more than ever before, knowledge is power.