There’s a neat little discussion over on Quora about whether the recruiting profession is ripe for disruption. One of my favorite people – period – Glenn Gutmacher weighed in with a great comment about recruiting technology and you really should click over and read it. However, since not everyone has a Quora account, here are my comments to the audience (Glenn knows my feelings on this topic so I suspect he was smiling a bit while reading):
For all the entrepreneurs-to-be in the audience, the mere utterance of the work “disrupt” doesn’t imply that you’ll be able to come up with a sustainable model (oh wait, you don’t want to sustain – you want to build and flip your way into millionaire/billionaire status), primarily because you really don’t know what exactly is “broken” in recruiting.
All the folks who want to disrupt the heck out of recruiting – Uberize it if you want to get all hot and bothered – are assuming that the process is to blame, when in fact most of the process works fine until people get involved.
Glenn identified many a tool that presumably uncovers talent but as I demonstrated at a recruiting conference back in October, identifying is an ocean apart from engaging. Let me explain because there are two important parts of this.
Jobmatching has a tremendous amount of future utility but ONLY if specific skills, knowledge, and experiences can be matched to actual performance on the job. After all, the reason we hire people is to solve the problems that need solving, to develop the products that need developing, to service the customers who need servicing. Being able to find the “perfect match” – as the datingpreneurs like to call it – can’t be effective unless you have a frame of reference against which to measure how much of a perfect match it really was.
That frame of reference is called future performance (this is part one). Technology surely can help us here.
Can you develop a predictive model to get you part of the way there? Sure can. But there are many factors that weigh into the model and in the recruiting profession we’re just starting to collect the data.
Which points to a critical limitation in developing the model.
The recruiters (this is part two). Technology can only help so much here. This is the problem.
My talk at SourceCon back in October focused on HOW talent should be engaged by the profession. Many of the tools Glenn writes of can help produce great lists of people whose content is available somewhere online. I offer the word “online” because there’s a growing segment of people who are cloaking their online behavior, even eschewing online altogether for any number of reasons.
This is where a vocal segment of the profession has begun investigating what goes into becoming and retaining one’s stature as a “great recruiter.”
Personal experience aside, you need to understand that merely “disrupting” recruiting won’t change some of the statutory obstacles nor will it make average (or worse) recruiters anything more than average performers.
Disrupting won’t make your candidate experience great; people still have to be part of the equation. Disrupting won’t turn a bad hiring manager into Warren Buffett. The delicious part that everyone sees in the Tinder, Match, and eHarmony commercials is offset by what you don’t see – the mismatches, the ugly meetings, the divorces. Tools can help but tools don’t recruit – people do.
Glenn’s point about offline partnerships has tremendous possibilities. If you study the past “demise” of many industrial trades jobs like model making, welding (can’t print everything in 3D yet), woodworking, HVAC, etc., you’ll notice that we nearly “computerized” these to death. Rather than becoming extinct, a few companies are doing what he speaks of and creating their own corporate university around training people for these scarce jobs.
It’s really a question of creating content and being able to deliver them on platforms such as the one that’s been created by Kaltura. To this end, the talent model is “build from within.”
Very smart move.
What do you think would truly disrupt recruiting?
I think you’re spot-on that it’s SO much about how the recruiter engages the candidate. I’m sick of obvious mass emails that begin with “Dear Actively”, and proceed to pitch me a job that any idiot *who had bothered to glance at my resume* could tell was absolutely inappropriate… followed by a bunch of nosy questions, making me think it might even be a phishing attack. All in horrible grammar of course, including much rambling about how great the client company AND the staffing agency are and the excruciating details of what *every* person in my line of work is expected to do day to day.
In my Copious Free Time, I’ve been working on an e-book for recruiters, about how to hire technical people. Methinks we ought to take this to direct email and see what we can come up with. :-)
I like it when I receive “Dear Bob” emails. Dan, think we can catch up over the phone this week?
Here’s my take on the “Uberising” of Recruitment. Whilst it’s fun to talk about this stuff and all. Bottom line, Recruitment is all about “the right bums on the right seats at the right time” It’s not that difficult. That said, all these bright and shiny new things are fun to look at etc, but show me the hires made from them. Show me that… You may get a sale! Steve, let’s try again :)
IMO, the hiring problem (recruiting is only one component) begins with Requirements, which are arbitrary. There is no correlation between employer requirements and candidate capability. If I require 5 years of rock-licking and 3 years of toe-stubbing, I’m going to get lots of resumes showing that the candidate satisfies those requirements (whether true or not). But that doesn’t mean those candidates can do the job I’m trying to fill, or that they’ll fit on my team. As a result, candidates can’t make an informed judgment
The only way for someone to show that they can do the job is [drum roll] to have them do the job, whether literally or virtually. Some companies are attempting the former, paying promising candidates to perform the job for a week or so in their spare time. That’s tough for a lot of candidates to allocate time to. A much more promising approach is to paint a clear enough picture of the role and the environment that candidates can decide a) if they want the job; b) if they want to be on that team; and c) if they can perform successfully. Then, let them demonstrate those three things by submitting a work sample or other concrete evidence of capability. By taking the time to complete this, they’ll also demonstrate interest. There’s a well-publicized example of Ryan Graves who, after Foursquare declined to interview him, opened up 30 accounts for Foursquare and recontacted them, saying simply, “Now can we talk?” (Graves subsequently became Employee #2 at Uber.) Despite not having the credentials that Foursquare arbitrarily required, Graves demonstrated his capability to do the job.
Here’s where software can help, by making all this simple and easy, and facilitating productive interaction while preserving candidate anonymity (to eliminate biases).
We received an unsolicited message from the Director of Engineering at one of our alpha customers, saying of the person they hired, “Later, when we saw his resume, we realized that, had we seen that first, we wouldn’t have considered him. It didn’t look like he had enough experience. We’re glad that your process kept us from missing out on a good team member.” He demonstrated to them that his capabilities exceeded his experience.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Recruiters, good and bad, are definitely here to stay.
If on the one hand the trend towards automation and data analysis is indeed strong, we are also witnessing more and more companies trying to show a more human face, and the millennial generation has been clearly shown to be attracted to value-driven, human-centered companies.
Companies are starting to realize that candidates are more than a list of experiences. They are people, and it’s often exactly the things that can’t be measured that make or break the deal.
Still, a large part of the profession is still stuck in the past. Quoting Mike above, requirements in job descriptions are definitely a problem. But there is more. Here are the top 3 things it is urgent to improve:
1. Get rid of the resume. 50% contain “half truths”. The other half doesn’t tell you anything about what really matters
2. Make the recruitment process an awesome learning experience. In an age of talent wars, the recruiting process is more than ever an integral part of a company’s brand. The typical resume-based application is an extremely disempowering experience for the candidate. Candidates should be given a chance to prove what they are worth, and they should be given feedback on their performance in the recruiting process, however this may go.
3. Help junior recruiters make up for their lack of experience by giving them a framework to avoid bias and clearly understand the value of the candidate for that specific role at that specific company, well beyond what they could tell from just the name of a previous employer.
I have been working on a software that helps recruiters do exactly what Mike is envisioning: test the candidates on the actual skills that will be needed for the job (not necessarily those in the JD!). But more than that: check their fit with the company culture and their personality. We do that by launching challenges, and we do that early on in the assessment, instead of the usual screening done with resumes. It dramatically improves the quality of the candidates that get to the interview.
Check it out if you’re interested, http://www.emergenow.co