For as long as there has been a job market, there has been a recruitment person wondering how to cut through the drudgery of sifting through mountains of resumes. There has been a recruiter seeking to escape the frustration of insufferable interviews with candidates who looked awesome on paper, but in real life needed lessons in hygiene, punctuality, or a host of other people skills not easily reflected in a CV or employment history. The complexity of these exercises grew even more vexing as the workplace became more about job mobility and portability beginning in the 1990s. Add to the mix globalization’s impact on manufacturing and other job fields and the ongoing shortage of qualified US-based technology workers and you have a recipe for recruiter insanity!
But have no fear, like so many other complex and esoteric business challenges, technology is racing to field the “killer app” that will solve the problems of modern day recruitment. As highlighted in this piece from TechCrunch.com venture capital money has been flooding into the coffers of a number of tech startups whose raison d’etre is to take the tedium, pain, and frustration out of talent sourcing processes to save time, money, and sanity while driving competitive advantage through superior human capital acquisition. In short, investors are lining up behind innovative young companies using Big Data and automation technoloiges to build a better mousetrap. But will these investments pay off? Will anyone be able to successfully apply these technologies to recruiting in a way that is effective, flexible, replicable, and transferable across all industries (each with its own workforce idiosyncrasies)?
The jury is still out on that question. Clearly, the investment community is confident that technology will be the panacea it has been in so many other areas of business. And there’s good reason to believe they’re right. Yet, there are fracture lines apparent if we look closely at each of the players in this nascent field. Cracks, just below the surface that may reveal the central obstacle to this challenge: universality.
Take for example, one of the innovators highlighted in the TechCrunch piece – pymetrics, a company that uses neuroscience games to identify where candidates’ strengths and weaknesses lie. On their website they state clearly that their tools are best suited to uncovering the inherent strengths and weaknesses of candidates with less than 8 years of employment experience. The new graduate and young careerist cannot offer a litany of accomplishments and experiences, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have inherent aptitudes. While this technology and analytic ability is fascinating, it won’t be of exceptional use in the recruitment of candidates for positions requiring seasoned expertise. Each flavor of recruitment solution being funded today seems to have its own sweet spot, none of which seems to be broad enough to be successful at recruiting amid a divergent set of requirements.
We’re not downplaying the excitement of this quest, nor are we rooting for the failure of technology to solve this problem. We’re simply pointing out that it seems logical to assume that regardless of the innovations that may be forthcoming from this exciting push, it will always be a best practice to have someone on the team who can leverage all the available tools, talent pools, sourcing strategies, and best practices when it comes to sourcing and recruiting. This embrace of multiple sources and synthesis into a single process is at the core of nextSourcing as a strategy.