Data VS. Knowledge...A Talent Dilemma? by Jackson David

#talentacquisition #interviewing #careers #data #knowledge

During a recent conversation with a family member about the data-age, she shared with me that she never thought there would be so much data at her fingertips -- anything and everything you could ever think of. We both agreed that no matter what “data” was available through online resources, friends, for example, nothing would take the place of experiencing first-hand what you just Googled. I know facts about the beaches of Malapascua in the Philippines, but I couldn’t describe to you how it feels to lay on its sand, or how the sunset looks or how to escape from it if a tiger were to show up from the mountains.

The conversation leads into work and business. We both have a passion for innovation and tying technology back to what we do. We started talking about #Data in the workplace and then about the workforce today and how technology and data are changing skill sets. We shared some experiences, and it became evident that we had a standard view. Today, there is an increased focus when hiring talent on Data VS. Knowledge. Knowledge is almost always gained through experiences. But, is that the case with data?

People who know me know that I love data! For context, learning quick sound-bites, helping make clear decisions, guiding, influencing, and leading; it can be your best friend. But in today’s race for talent, there is an increasing focus around data, especially within Startups. Could it be clouding (or replacing?) the screen that we talent professionals and hiring managers should still have around the knowledge that comes from experiences. Startups could take a more in-depth look, earlier on.

Does this have an impact on our turnover rates, leadership challenges, and burn-out that we see within Startups or high-growth companies? It’s a question worth asking as talent leaders, advisors, and as hiring managers.

Data does not replace #knowledge gained from experience. It should support it or lead to other enhancing experiences. Let’s not get confused by a candidate who knows a lot of data points about the company and the current team. It is great to see that they did their research and gained some insights, but that should not cloud our screen on fit to role based on knowledge gained from experiences and fit to company culture based on beliefs and personality. Dig deep. Appreciate the data, but seek the candidates’ knowledge base.

Share your feedback and insights on this topic. Let’s start a conversation. We’d like the see the “data” that comes from this feedback in hopes to turn this article into an experience.

Knowledge Defined: facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. (Source: Merriam-Webster)

Data Defined: facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis. (Source: Merriam-Webster)

#data #talent #talentacquisition #newyorktalent #knowledgeispower #wisdom


Jackson David is currently the Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Sourcing, and Employer Brand at Etsy. In this role, I lead talent strategies in our global markets, as we continue to drive growth in our business. We have offices in North American, Ireland, Germany, France, and India. He is also the founder of JD Talent Search + Strategies, a consulting consortium that works with start-ups and enterprise clients on executive search strategies, talent mapping, employer branding, and long-term talent strategies.

With now 20 years of both business and talent leadership experience, Jackson focusses a lot of his spare time on giving back to the community and supporting networking and product ideas to the Start-Up community. He is excited by creating pathways and mechanisms for people to reach success and is equally passionate about travel, family, and new technologies.