Authored by Rick Devine - Follow Rick on Talentsky
We are at an interesting time in recruiting. On one hand, in the last 20 years, we invested time and effort in matching job titles to resumes to find talent more efficiently. On the other, we are at a historic moment in American business where pretty much everyone agrees that a diverse workforce is good for business and for people. How do we reconcile the inherent bias associated with job titles and resume matching with the goal to drive an inclusive culture?
To appreciate the challenge the recruiting industry faces today, let’s take a stroll down memory lane. Before the internet days, the value of a recruiter was based on their network of relationships with relevant talent. The reason for this was simple: employers had zero visibility into passive talent and could only run job ads to broad audiences through newspaper want ads or job sites like Indeed or Monster.com. Job seekers did not receive feedback and employers had to deal with candidates who did not have the necessary experience. This approach was considered “noisy” and of low value to people. So, employers found it easier and more efficient to tap the network of boutique recruiters who knew the talent and could connect their opportunity appropriately. This was also good for people as they heard about opportunity from a trusted counselor without having to be a job seeker. To the employer and the person, this was of low noise and high value.
Then came the proliferation of the internet – bringing platforms that enabled recruiters to target job ads to passive talent based upon their current resume title. With this approach, recruiting became direct marketing campaigns with volumes of emails being sent, and the industry returned to high noise and low value to people. One of the primary problems with this approach is recruiters did not know the career interest of the unsuspecting recipient of the job ad. Just because a person has the title, “production manager,” on their resume does not necessarily mean they care to be approached for the same job at a different company. This is like walking into a retail store wearing dress shoes with the objective of shopping for sneakers, and having a salesperson try to sell you another pair of dress shoes. The better retail store would have trained their sales people to ask the question, “how can I help you today?”, and direct the customer accordingly. We all brace against being sold things we don’t want.
Today, internal recruiters are mostly pitching, promoting, and selling jobs to people with appropriate titles on their resumes and waiting for the response. This approach has many inherent problems – including offending people for not knowing what they care about, and missing good people who have the right experience and skills, but not the right resume. We cannot advance an inclusive culture with the current legacy system of job ads and resumes. We need something new.
I have been in the world of recruiting for a long time and have a vision for a better approach. The recruiting function should stop pitching jobs and start focussing on helping people. We need to understand the career ambitions of people and help them get there. We also need to show people ways to discover new careers they never knew even existed and inspire them to develop themselves accordingly. This old adage is right: “Only if you can see it, can you be it.”
I started Talentsky not to be famous, speak at conferences, or be able to buy an airplane. Rather, I started Talentsky with a passion to help employers express skill demand through Mentors on a new and open social media experience. And, to help people better connect, follow skills and importantly, be discovered for careers of interest and their matching skills. In my view of the future, the labor system will be based upon a skill standard, transparent and drive equal access to opportunity. This is the future of an inclusive culture, and the future of recruiting.