04 Mar Time Is Money – Is Recruitment Ready For Disruption?
Softer networking tactics aside I’m convinced the traditional recruitment process is broken. It’s inefficient, lengthy, and costing candidates and recruiters dearly in time, wasted effort and lost opportunity. There is light at the end of the tunnel though!
1. The Pre-Interview Process:
Recently I read this:
Employers spend just 8.8 seconds looking at potential candidates’ CVs, in a process that has become “Tinderised” according to a survey from the UK’s youth programme……
The average number of applications received by employers over the past two years leaped from 46 in 2013 to 93 today.
In addition, out of the 500 employers surveyed, one in ten larger businesses who staff over 250 individuals stated they saw more than 400 applications for entry level jobs advertised.
Source: HR Grapevine
8.8 seconds! Try reviewing my LinkedIn profile or yours in under 9 secs. This spells disaster and inefficiency for both Job Seeker & Recruiter. Every business will tell you their biggest issue is finding the right staff. If the success rate barely matches email marketing for such a critical business function then something needs to change. The recruitment process is proving too expensive.
Having spent some time looking at my own career opportunities and talking to friends who have spent time recently looking for the right role, I’m convinced recruitment is ready for ‘disruption’.
From our collective experiences the process could be failing for some or all of the following reasons:
- The advertised position is just not getting in front of the right people.
- The job description is not resonating with the right people.
- The job description is too vague and thereby attracting people who will be deemed unsuitable.
- The Job Title is attracting Job Seekers who may be considered too senior
OK, so parachuting in professional writers for both job description and resumé is the answer, right? I’m not convinced as all the jobs I’ve personally applied for have held ‘cultural fit’ in high regard. Getting external assistance to write on your behalf I think looses the personal touch needed to understand character and culture. (Although I am coming to the conclusion I need fresh eyes to help refine my own CV.)
More transparency in job descriptions? Yes, this I think would help, but, for example, most employers are reluctant to advertise salaries. There are easy technical mechanisms to over this hurdle with behind the scenes salary matching.
Getting discovered is a problem? LinkedIn has made enormous leaps forward with regards to this, but their success is now their downfall, swamped by a ton of unstructured data, even though they spent a 9-figure sum on “a magical combination of data science and machine learning algorithms to offer better matches.” through an acquisition that could by all counts fix the issue.
So what is the fix for the Pre-Interview Process?:
Years ago a CEO I knew would use a behavioural scientist to interview senior candidates to validate their fit with how the he liked to operate. It was highly successful. Natural Language & Machine Learning technologies can accurately analyse subtleties in candidate responses in much the same way to produce effective results far more efficiently. Advances in image recognition will assist further with reading body language and facial expressions.
Sales & Customer Service operations are now highly evolved processes to deal with scale during growth phases. Many of these are now automated to some degree and able to cope with ambiguity.
There are lessons to be learnt from this. A simple example of this is the rise of the virtual assistant in acting as a first line of enquiry for customer service functions and automating responses. These principles could easily be adapted using NLP and ML to automate pre-screening. Aggregated resumés (or LinkedIn profiles) produce a pile of unstructured ‘big data’ and applying principles similar to those being used in medical research to tackle diagnosis could reveal much better matching of job seekers to open positions.
So to answer the question, I think Natural Language and Machine Learning technologies can be used to produce a system that can pre-screen candidates, produce suitable job descriptions, provide job seekers with more relevant opportunities, and produce much clearer shortlists for both sides of the table, much faster.
After a few months digesting all of this I fortuitously came across a Chinese company (seedlink) who have confirmed my suspicions that this is indeed possible. So if I do go ahead and create a start-up in this field it’s nice to have my business plan ratified with a little competition! Thankfully there are a few subtle differences between their solution and my own thoughts.
Today’s modern work life means recruitment is as necessary as needing a haircut, but is currently as complicated as selling a house used to be, so there must be demand to improve the process.
Wouldn’t it be more efficient and effective to spend an hour reviewing six well matched candidates (10mins each) than having to review 400 candidates (just 8.8secs each)?
Now for the fun bit…
2. Apprentice Style “OnDemand” Interviewing:
Last week I received a call at 8am from a recruiter;
“Could you come to interview for a ‘Stealth Start-up’ tomorrow” he said.
“Yes” I replied, intrigued.
“It’s a full 3-4 hours of solid interviewing, and they’ll make a decision at the end of the day, so not everyone’s cup of tea” came the punchline.
Without hesitation I attended.
I like decisive, fast paced companies, that know what they want. This was an incubated start-up for a highly profitable business with a CEO that clearly lives in the “reality distortion field”. Just my kind of work environment!
I met 3 people from the same company separately, a business leader, a CTO, and the head of HR. Three straight 50min interviews one after the other with a briefing and de-briefing from the recruiter to boot. It turns out they were running this accelerated process as they were up against a hard deadline for product delivery. I honestly enjoyed every minute of the process, and work at my best under pressure.
This condensed process engenders focus from both sides of the table. It forces you to prepare, pushes other mind wandering distractions aside, and makes you concentrate on the task in hand. I think it also adds a little welcome pressure to candidates that’s useful for employers when assessing you, and provides candidates with reassurance that if you blow it in the first round, you still have a shot at recovery in subsequent rounds. It’s a bit like rapid prototyping and skunkworks – isolate it for focus & perform in short sharp bursts.
Organising a day all three or four interviewers can make is probably the biggest headache in this accelerated version of proceedings, but easily achievable at this level I imagine. Given that for both parties a result cannot come soon enough, I don’t know why more companies don’t run their interview processes like this. ‘Washing up’ at the end of a day like this whilst it’s all still fresh in your mind would seem a great way to discuss best options, and draw conclusions.
I didn’t get the job I interviewed for although another may be on the table, but none of that is a fault of the interview process, and I would highly recommend using this one day process ubiquitously.
In summary, current recruitment processes are outdated, a relic from the past when jobs were for life and your average computer required the footprint of a football field.
Is it time to think differently about recruitment?