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Economist

Big data and hiring: Robot recruiters

April 4, 2013

THE problem with human-resource managers is that they are human. They have biases; they make mistakes. But with better tools, they can make better hiring decisions, say advocates of ?big data?. Software that crunches piles of information can spot things that may not be apparent to the naked eye. In the case of hiring American workers who toil by the hour, number-crunching has uncovered some surprising correlations.For instance, people who fill out online job applications using browsers that did not come with the computer (such as Microsoft?s Internet Explorer on a Windows PC) but had to be deliberately installed (like Firefox or Google?s Chrome) perform better and change jobs less often.It could just be coincidence, but some analysts think that people who bother to install a new browser may be the sort who take the time to reach informed decisions. Such people should be better employees. Evolv, a company that monitors recruitment and workplace data, pored over nearly 3m data points from more than 30,000 employees to find this nugget.Some 60% of American workers earn hourly wages. Of these, about half change jobs each year. So firms that employ lots of unskilled...

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