IT experts, business owners, workers, and many others are constantly developing more ways to use big data to improve our businesses and our lives – and it looks like the labor force might be another area to see great benefit.

As the US struggles with a high unemployment rate, many capable, qualified candidates might be wondering what it is they are doing wrong – and likewise, many companies looking to fill positions may be at their wit’s end trying to find a matching candidate.

According to Steve Goodman, CEO of, technology could be to blame. In an article for, Goodman reports that the problem lies in information overload. He says,

“Human resource experts will tell you that for any one job posting, they receive hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes. As a result, they’re able to spend just six seconds evaluating each resume, typically scanning only the candidate’s education and their last job. Such a brief perusal means candidates who are a good fit for a company’s culture or who can bring a different and much-needed fresh outlook can easily fall through the cracks. There is simply not enough time in the day to wade through all the resumes that flood the inbox.”

This was not always the case. The volume of resumes coming in to companies became overwhelming when businesses began heavily using online job boards to fill positions. Goodman explains, “With a few clicks of the mouse, job seekers were suddenly able to upload their resumes and cover letters and then apply to dozens of jobs at a time – sometimes even more than once. This “spray and pray” strategy has completely clogged up the system.”

He goes on to explain how unqualified job seekers have made matters worse by tweaking their resumes with key words to make them seem like a good match – resulting in loads of resume spam flooding the HR inboxes, costing businesses time and money looking to fill positions, and also making it difficult for job seekers well-suited for a particular job to actually get an interview.

But, there is good news. Goodman points out that, using big data, we can “make labor marketing move more efficiently and effectively, for the benefit of all.” He explains,

“Big data can help recruiters find the right candidates to interview by cutting through the noise created by the chaos of the current job search process.

Big data tools such as modern distributed file systems and map/reduce/clustering techniques make large data sets accessible and more easily analyzed. Five years ago this simply wasn’t economically possible. Back then, it was cost prohibitive to purchase enough computer servers to make these calculations, and further, vendors were constrained by the physical size limits of data centers. Now, vendors can process billions of transactions in the cloud at a fraction of the cost of local servers. Thus, employment-related data, regardless of size, can be leveraged to find subtle patterns reflecting a current candidate’s qualifications.”

This application of big data could help companies filter through poorly suited job candidates and get the right people in the right doors for interviews.

That is certainly good news for our country and also for information experts who specialize in helping companies organize, store and protect their information.