People Aggregators: Candidate Mining - by John Sumser - HRExaminer

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.

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.

Holy Guacamole!

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

  • Entelo
    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
    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.
  • RemarkableHire
    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.
  • SwoopTalent
    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.
  • SocialCV
    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.
  • TalentBin
    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.

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