HRExaminer v3.40 October 5, 2012
Table of Contents
People Aggregators: Candidate Mining
In a recent study, the CareerXRoads team (Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler) uncovered some startling data. It turns out that while the industry buzz is all about passive candidates, we hire active candidates nearly eighty percent of the time.
The timing is particularly interesting. This is the start of the Fall Trade show season. Hundreds of technology vendors line up to display their wares. Prominent among these are a fistful of startups who mine the social graph for insight into passive candidates.
If, as CareerXRoads suggests, most hires are active candidates, then Candidate Experience matters more than most of us would have imagined and the need for candidate mines is less than LinkedIn might have guessed. If the data is flawed, the new mining companies’ core value proposition remains unchallenged. One expects that the CareerXRoads study will inspire a lot of candidate and hiring research. That’s one of their missions: to provoke an evidence based understanding of the recruiting and hiring process.
That said, whether or not the current focus of these candidate mining companies is in need of a pivot, something will be made of the material they are extracting. It’s not always clear what’s cooking in the test kitchens known as startups.
That’s what Big Data projects are like as well. You start with a great big glop of data from all sorts of places. You stir it around looking for interesting or recognizable lumps. Success is when you start to be able to reliably extract novel insights.
Quickly, here are the candidate miners and their value propositions
Headquartered in San Francisco’s Mission District, Entelo (like the others) blends together data from a host of social media communities to provide blended profiles of “passive” candidates. Their current focus is the Tech industry. The most interesting feature is called Sonar. It tries to predict when a passive candidate is likely to be responsive to a recruiter. It uses 70 discrete signals to forecast pending availability. Sonar is a winning notion.
Gild has the oddest value proposition. They claim to deliver a meritocracy in hiring. As if company culture didn’t make that a completely idiosyncratic question. This is another company focused on the Tech Industry. They also claim to be able to score and evaluate code from programmers. It’s likely to be the case that they need to focus a bit. Think of Gild as Klout for programmers with some quizzes. Well, maybe better than Klout.
Another predictor of passive candidate performance, RemarkableHire hails from metro DC. Where Gild and SocialCV assign Klout style rankings across the board, the RemarkableHire difference is that they rank candidates by utility in a specific job search. You give them the job description they give you a short list. If the game goes to Functional utility, this is a winner.
More so than the others, Swoop takes the position that they can integrate and organize your social media dominated recruiting workflow. Besides a broad search capability that comes close to the data aggregators work, they offer a referral program of sorts, analytics, and a host of useful corporate tools. If the game is won on corporate usability, these guys get it.
This 18 month old British startup is the senior citizen of the crowd. Spawned by a Google based process, these guys were scoring the world’s CVs from the beginning. These guys know where the market pitfalls are. Ask them about the boom and bust cycle in this segment.
These guys are the best marketers. TalentBin will be featured in the HRTech Awesome new technologies session which rewards Hollywood style presentations. Most of the others are too geeky to fare well in that arena.
If you want to handicap this contest, there are several ways of thinking about it.
- There are two firms focused on interests as predictors of job fit: Entelo and TalentBin. Interestingly, they are also the best marketers in the bunch. They are focused on the notion that an expression of interest is likely to suggest an ability to do something related.
- There are three companies that focus on evidence based data. Gild, RemarkableHire and SocialCV all work to score the viability of a given candidate. Their results are all focused on finding evidence that someone can do something.
- One of the companies, SwoopTalent, acts as a traffic router for a company’s social recruiting endeavors.
But, companies rarely win on the basis of their functionality. Great marketing and great sales are what brings in the money. Great marketing means clear differentiation.
There’s not much of that here yet.
Five Links: Big Data, War for Talent
- How Google Builds Its Maps – And What it Means for the Future of Everything.
Read this to undestand what your big data future looks like. The secret isn’t information savvy, it’s being willing to commit actual human beings to massage the data. In the process of developing its Maps product, Google is demonstrating how to think abiout the data that is emerging in your company.
- This Chrome Extension Tells You More About Key People On Articles As You Read The News.
Summer is a google chrome extension that gives you profile information about the people in the articles you are reading. Try it out. Then, imagine a near term future in which this functionality is available inside your company.
- War For Talent: Detroit
Here’s the punchline: “Be a destination for talent, not a better mousetrap.” In the war for talent acrtoss regions, the dominant view is that retention is the key. Our obsession with retention sets us up for “blackmail and boodoggles”. Being a great place to go trumps being a place that’s hard to leave.
- Big Data, Big Jobs
Serious coverage of the range and depth of big data jobs and opportunities. Don’t miss Big Data Skills and Titles “According to a report published last year by McKinsey & Co., the U.S. could face a shortage by 2018 of 140,000 to 190,000 people with “deep analytical talent” and of 1.5 million people capable of analyzing data in ways that enable business decisions.” (Bonus Link: A basic Big Data Tutorial)
- What Caused New York’s Startup Boom?
Interesting start to a paper. Does the NYC startup scene owe its momentum to the 3,000 person Google office, the layoffs in the finance sector, skill concentrations unique to NY? Follow the comments.
Gamification Fundamentals 1
“Work is more fun than fun” – Noel Coward
Some of the current fuss over gamification is driven by demographics. The video game industry, now in its 30s, has touched the lives (often at length) of most workforce participants. The result is a desire for the simplicity of game dynamics and a results stream that feels like a game. The broad move to make goal setting hierarchical and easy to navigate is an expression of the underlying cultural shift towards gamification.
“By the age of 21, the average American young person has spent over 10,000 hours playing computer and video games. That is almost exactly the same amount of time an American student spends in the classroom from 5th Grade though High School Graduation”
- Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal
The primary skill learned in those 10,000 hours is collaboration. In contemporary video gaming, the question is rarely winning. It’s much more likely to be sustained personal development and the willingness to help others. Many gamers are happier tackling challenges together than engaging in some form of winner-take-all scenario.
Playing video games requires a commitment to learning a complex problem set that never has a rule book. In some ways, the game is all about discovering the rules through trial and error. Repeated improvement through failure, the very essence of personal development, is part and parcel of the process.
It turns out that people are happiest when they are engaged in a difficult task that they chose for themselves. That dynamic coupled with the ability to measurably improve one’s expertise is at the heart of the instantaneous absorption that many players feel once they get the hang of the game. Complex gaming environments create feedback loops that provide intrinsic rewards for sustained engagement.
Games produce at least two interesting emotional states:
- Flow: is the feeling of intense concentration and efficiency, that ‘in-the-zone feeling. Athletes and musicians experience flow. It is said to take ten years to achieve the skills, muscle memory, and understanding needed to find flow within an activity. Key aspects of flow include a challenge with clear goals, well established rules for action, and increased difficulty over time. Games make it easy to achieve the experience of flow. This explains the gamer’s desire to stay in the game.
- Fiero: the Italian word for “Pride” and a term often used by game designers to describe emotional elation after a huge discovery or victory within a game. It’s usually expressed when a player throws their arms over their head and yells! Fiero is one of the most powerful neurochemical highs that we experience.
Although it’s hard to see at first, game skills are to the 21st century what industrial skills were to the early 20th. The very nature of work is changing with the pace of technology. Jobs doing things we couldn’t imagine go from obscurity to the center of the map seemingly overnight. As tech change continues to accelerate, the kinds of jobs we do will continue to evolve into surprising areas.
That means that nothing is going to be more valuable than a desire to learn in an environment where the rules have to be discovered. Collaborative analytics are exactly the right skill set required to digest the coming flood of data.
The moment you frame the issue Us v. Them, you eliminate the solution. At least all the interesting ones. Us v. Them requires people to take sides. Once people take sides, they get attached to their position. Us is good. Them is bad.
It’s always strident during a presidential election. Some friends fret about being offended and whether to dump their opposing friends on Facebook. Other friends post ecards saying: “Your many political postings on Facebook have convinced me to switch over to YOUR side-said no one ever!” Then someone retorts: “So many people are posting intense political rants online, and I’m all, ‘Hey, look at me, I’m not wearing pants!’”
A. Barton Hinkle of the Richmond Times Dispatch wrote a great essay: The Wrong Side Absolutely Must Not Win.
“(I)t’s clear that the people on the Other Side are driven by mindless anger – unlike My Side, which is filled with passionate idealism and righteous indignation. That indignation, I hasten to add, is entirely justified. I have read several articles in publications that support My Side that expose what a truly dangerous group the Other Side is, and how thoroughly committed it is to imposing its radical, failed agenda on the rest of us.”
Righteous indignation is always suspect. Righteous indignation means you’ve convinced yourself there is only one right way and you know it. Everyone else is either stupid or evil. It must be lonely being so certain, so safe, so right.
When it’s Us v. Them, there is no room for curiosity, research or discussion. The options are fight or leave. Whatever the question started as, the answer becomes Beat Them.
Our legal system is set up as Us. v. Them. When disputes arise, the options are to win, lose, or split the baby. Often people go broke, crazy, or both in the process.
Us. v. Them doesn’t work. (Well, maybe in sports, because at least the fans get entertained and often drunk.)
Us. v. Them especially doesn’t work at work. Yet, it’s set up that way almost everywhere: management v. employees, office v. cube, supervisor v. line worker, old guy v. new guy, HR v. everybody else.
Yet, all companies have a common goal: to create a great product or service that will be useful and make money. That doesn’t seem very Us v. Them.
What if we stopped pushing against Them and started pulling together as Us? What if we stopped trying to fix each other and started to help each other? What if finding solutions was more important than being engaged? What if creating mattered more than winning?
What if being curious was more productive than being right?