Baseball scouts used to scour the back roads of America in search of the next Mickey Mantle or Warren Spahn. Today, team front offices rely on reams of statistics and psychological profiles that help predict not only how a player will perform on the field but also if he fits well into the team culture.

With the economy recovering and hiring levels roaring back, employers nowadays also are bringing more science to the art of recruiting, developing and retaining employees, all in hopes of building the best teams. 

Google, Best Buy, Starbucks and others have been using data for years in this way. Now, it's an approach that is spreading as a growing number of employers embrace analytics over gut instincts.

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