It is important to humanize talent sourcing – Now!

23 Min 3 Sec to read

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Human Resource, Uncategorized

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This article is a summary of research we conducted  in talent sourcing for over 2 years. It involved interaction with over 1000 people – across the world – that included job seekers, recruiters and hiring managers. The research methodology is disclosed in the end. Experienced recruiters, who have always maintained conviction in humanizing talent sourcing over technology dependency, can relate well to this article. Such recruiters were probably instinctive in knowing that something objective like technology, can’t be applied entirely to talent sourcing that involves subjective matters as well. 

Technology and the talent sourcing paradox 

Job search is a very stressful and time consuming ordeal for candidates. However, the stress is ten-fold for recruiters. The biggest obstacle to talent sourcing, is how technology in the current scenario has made it so complex (or chaotic rather), in prolonging the recruitment process. In the good old days before technology, a company advertised job descriptions concisely in news papers. The job seekers mailed their resumes, and recruiters went through full process of getting to know candidates better. In other words, there was a humanizing element involved in recruiting. At best, in traditional hiring, there was the headhunter between company recruiters and job seekers. It is fair to say that these head hunters were the modern equivalent of social media.

They took time to understand company requirements better, and also spent more time with job seekers (both active and passive), in knowing their interests, company preference and long term aspirations. While successful headhunters specialized in various industries, the common trait they shared was the ability to build relationships. They possessed the humanizing superpower to match candidate’s career aspirations and employer’s mission. In the internet age however, ever growing mediums like job boards, aggregator tools, applicant tracking systems (ATS) etc., have only made recruiting worse. Technology has become a curse, ironically, with these mediums widening the gap between recruiters and job seekers. A noted human resources leader and influencer in recruiting, Liz Ryan, summarized it aptly when she said:

“Mechanization has almost completely taken over the standard corporation of institutional hiring process.”

There is a dire need, therefore, to humanize talent sourcing.

Bias, myths and facts in talent sourcing

Our research was filled with surprises. There were plenty of “Please-tell-me-you’re-kidding” moments to some explicitly shocking. Many insights were shared on how candidates cheated ATS and how recruiters were oblivious to it. It was hard to classify these insights under one title because there were varying insights – good and bad. Overall, they could be categorized in three ways: Biases, myths, and facts. Each of these are elaborated below.

Dissecting Bias

#1 – The ‘Reputed college education’ bias: Many companies over emphasize the requirement for candidates from highly ranked universities. Although this isn’t explicitly mentioned, the educational pedigree is highly preferred. Before the internet age, a degree from top ranked university was considered special because of its access to rich information resource.  Professors had research grants and were highly knowledgeable to advice students. There were plenty of research publications, be it technology or business, for students to access. However, in the internet age, everyone has access to top quality knowledge. Reputed universities and MOOC (Massive open online courses) websites are offering free courses over the internet. This is an age of self-learning and candidates have access to knowledge in any desired field. Moreover, recruiters and hiring managers from our research agree that not everyone from highly reputed university were the best of performers. Successful recruiters and hiring managers have asked questions that highlighted a candidate’s ability to adapt and learn. They feel these qualities enable candidates to become star performers because quality knowledge is easily accessible.

#2 – The ‘personality/cognitive test’ bias: Many companies – by involving external agencies – require candidates during interviews to undergo a personality/cognitive test. There are smart people who can score on the genius scale in such tests, but they can never become the CEO of a fortune 100 company, or even perform at a mid-level leadership role effectively. This is because any standardized test focuses on  cognitive or analytical skills, but does not measure management or decision making skills in business. There are no tests that measures real-life problem solving skills that are critical in business to make decisions. The problem with cognitive/personality tests is that it enables a test taker to bias the results, in a way he or she will be viewed favorably by the company. In some cases, these tests are enforced even before the first interview and ideal candidates are already eliminated. Specialized tests from external agencies have only benefitted their revenues. Our research identified that hiring managers or recruiters had no influence in adopting specialized tests from external agencies. In most cases, it is the influential sales person from the external agency who convinces the CFO or HR director to subscribe for these tests. Our research indicated that hiring managers never bothered about it and recruiters were burdened by it. One experienced recruiter summarized it this way: “These tests are just a formality we pass on to the candidates because management requires it. We maintain records for audit purposes only.” Our research identified many other disconnect between top management and on-the-floor recruiters.

#3 – The ‘pre-defined experience’ bias: Let’s say some job description specifies that a candidate requires “10-15 years of experience,” or “minimum 10 years work experience.” What if there is an ideal candidate with everything that a hiring manager requires, but has only 9 years of experience? Problem is, even before such a candidate and the hiring manager can interact, the ATS will have eliminated that candidate. Also, let’s say a position requires 10 years of leadership experience in a software company where the candidate is required to lead new product development. But what if a candidate with only 5 years of experience applied, but he/she happened to be an entrepreneur with software development experience? This candidate would easily qualify to lead new product development owing to his/her entrepreneurial background. However, an ATS will eliminate this candidate, and many chances that an inexperienced recruiter might overlook his/her resume because it only shows 5 years of experience. If on the other hand, a hiring manager or an experienced recruiter noticed the entrepreneurial experience, they would definitely consider the candidate for interviews. We found a shocking revelation from recruiters in IT industry. Candidates are easily bypassing ATS filtering techniques by copy-pasting the entire job description in their resume in white font. While the ATS passes on the resume with a 100% match, recruiters can’t find out when they view or print the resumes because white font won’t get printed. Some smart recruiters figured out this deception by using the “select all” function in word, and changing the font color.

Overall, recruiters have expressed success in getting qualitative candidates when specific years of work experience is not mentioned. Continuing from the product development example above, recruits maintain that just by expressing a need for a “leadership” role and citing examples from past experience, it is likely that a less qualified candidate won’t apply. Other recruiters have expressed success at getting qualitative  candidates just by saying “minimum 3 years of experience” even if they want candidates with 10 or more years of experience. This way, even if the right candidate with 8 years of experience applied, recruiters have an opportunity to interview them. Essentially, our research determined that this is how successful recruiters are bypassing the ATS installed in their company. As one recruiter, with 30 years of experience from a top 3 consumer products company put it, “We can’t be sitting on our a**es hoping the ATS will do magic and bring us the best candidates. We are keeping our job descriptions minimal so that decent candidates are not eliminated by the ATS.” These recruiters also work with their ATS providers to modify settings in a manner that suits their hiring needs better. Our research also indicated that very few recruiters – about 3-5% surveyed – are having such insights and executed such measures to screening candidates.

#4 – The ‘specific industry experience’ bias: Let’s say there’s a position open for a client engagement role in a medical technologies company. The job description requires that candidates should possess good relationship management skills with a background in medical devices. However, let’s say that a candidate with excellent client engagement skills applied but he had a general engineering background and not necessarily in medical devices. An ATS will automatically eliminate this candidate. What is critical for a client engagement role is the candidate’s ability to maintain amicable relationships with clients and grow the business with forecasted sales. This person doesn’t necessarily need a strong medical devices background, and to maintain the relationship well with clients, a social personality candidate will easily pick up on the basic medical devices knowledge to connect with clients. This is true for any role requiring leadership and people management where a medical devices or consumer products company can hire candidates with a different industry experience, because the emphasis is only on effective people management to derive best results, and not necessarily having the right industrial background. Successful recruits have used tactics similar to those mentioned in previous (Bias #3) example to screen ideal candidates from different industry backgrounds for role specific positions.

Busting Myths

Myth #1 – The perfect candidate syndrome: This “pursuit-of-perfection” attitude is ruining the recruiting process, and a root cause for leaving many jobs seekers in vain. The advent of social media recruiting with specialized aggregator tools, and engagement of RPO’s to find the “superman” candidate is causing more harm than benefit. The problem with this obsession towards the “perfect candidate” syndrome is that companies feel they have invested heavily in various recruitment technology and services, and these can somehow identify that “superman” candidate. Various recruitment technologies and RPO’s have presented a value propositions that will bring companies the “superman” candidate. Let us consider the following example:

An actual job description in 2015 expressed the need for a Director of social media strategy. The candidate required 10 – 15 years of experience in digital strategy. Being a retail consumer products company that wanted to fill this position, the management wants to expand its foot print in social media and identify the right audience to create fan-following. However, one can immediately deduce that this job description was written by a person who lacked common sense. Consider the following scenarios:

  • The company wanted to increase presence in social media through mediums like facebook, instagram, twitter, etc.
  • Facebook was the first among popular social media entity that was established in 2005.
  • The company/artist pages feature in facebook didn’t come into existence until 2010.
  • It wasn’t until 2012 that popular brands and artists began to have fan following in facebook, and hence the need for B2C companies to increase their foothold, in finding the right audience through digital media strategy.
  • This implies that social media strategy is a emerging field where nobody could have more than 3 years of experience in 2015. At best, let’s say some person realized the impact of social media strategy in 2010 itself, then even that person would only 5 years of experience in 2015.
  • Then how can someone post a job description for a director with over 10 years of experience in social media strategy?

This clearly illustrates the fallacy in talent sourcing, as these modern recruitment tools and RPO’s promise the impossible to companies. A company just jumping the bandwagon on initiating its social media strategy will obviously want the best candidate with maximum experience in this field. Therefore, an engaged RPO staff will compose the job description on behalf of the company and post these in various job boards and company website. However, as noted above, only people with a maximum of 5 years of experience would apply, and the company’s ATS will automatically reject these candidates. On one side, the director of social media strategy position will remain open forever, and internally companies will complain that they never fill positions due to talent crunch. On another side, deserving candidates will never get the opportunity to work in such a position.  This is the reality, where many companies report that positions are remaining unfilled since posting, for more than year. Ideally, a hiring manger should have composed the job description, and he/she will be expected to have the common sense to know that no person in the market can exist with over 5 years of experience in social media strategy.

However, with all the technological mediums and RPO’s stacking up, by promising magical solutions in finding the best candidate, the hiring manager and recruiter are out of picture in the initial screening process. RPO’s go as far as taking control of the career web page a company.  Instead of addressing recruitment challenges with hiring managers and recruiters internally, the HR Directors and CFOs are spending time in validating which RPOs to partner with. They believe that working with RPOs will solve all their problems magically. This is the same way someone falls for a magical diet pill or exercise machine on TV, that promises a perfect physique in two weeks. Everybody buys it, forgets about it over time, until a new diet pill or machine comes, and the whole cycle repeats.

Myth #2 – Finding the right candidate takes time: This is a baseless advice that the many recruiting tools and RPO’s conveniently tell companies who are getting impatient in finding the right talent. They don’t want to admit (or remain ignorant rather), that all the delay in the hiring process is because of over stacking middlemen like themselves in recruiting space. Building up from myth #1 above, the impracticalities in the current recruitment process is leaving many positions unfilled, waiting for the “superman” candidate. However the middlemen can’t undermine their own value proposition to their clients can they? These companies also add a disclaimer in contracts that they can’t guarantee 100% results. They will however, continue to give baseless advice such as “finding the right candidate takes time.” At some point, the company eventually caves in, and hires a candidate who doesn’t necessarily fit the position appropriately, or sometimes, they get lucky. Over this long haul though, they would have wasted precious time in not getting a single candidate (leave along the right candidate) to join work. Invariably other members in the work-team internally, would have contributed for the vacant position’s role, and as a result, they would have been over stressed, and invariably productivity would have dipped. And when frustrated workers resign due to stress and overwork, companies complain about attrition and not being able to retain talent. The top management and HR department resort to blaming each other. Pretty ironic right? Worse, companies would hire an external consulting firm to find out why talented workforce leave them.

Myth #3 -AI recruiting tools will help determine a candidate’s future performance: It is a fact that even in the stock market, past performance is not an indication of future performance, then how can this apply to job candidates? Even big CEOs of top Fortune 100 firms – who had the highest pedigree in education and experience – have made bad decisions and reputed companies have filed for bankruptcy. But it’s ironic how recruitment software using artificial intelligence (AI) is sold under the pretext of having “algorithms” that determine future performance of candidates? One of the hottest topic in the recruitment industry today is being able to evaluate a candidate’s future performance. The technology and middlemen therefore have picked up on this new “snake oil” gimmick, and have introduced specialized “filler technologies” that may determine a candidate’s “future” performance. This is nothing but merely exploiting the talent crunch scenario.

How a candidate can perform in the future depends on many external factors. Companies first need to assess whether the environment and/or work-culture are conducive for a candidate to perform well. What if the company or the team is marked by bad management? What if there is an incompetent or insecure boss who feels threatened by a subordinate’s performance? Is there an effective system of appraisals that rewards and recognizes the work performance of a candidate? What if a candidate was sick, underwent cancer therapy for 2 years, and couldn’t work? Would the AI systems interpret the 2 year work-gap as incompetence? There can be no way an AI can assess a candidate’s future performance by ignoring fallacy in its company’s culture. Besides, one cannot rule out the possibility, that a candidate who performed below average in the previous company can actually do stellar work in the current role being interviewed for, especially when there is a great boss with commendable leadership qualities. This is why the humanizing component is critical in recruiter-candidate interaction from the beginning. A successful recruiter can assess factors outside of qualifications, such as the candidate’s previous work culture, challenges, and learning opportunities.

Identifying Facts

Fact #1 – Employers are helpless in finding talent, as job seekers are lost in applying for right position: Most job descriptions overshoot the positions actual requirement. Most employers just want to avoid inexperienced people from applying. This has two consequences:  Either people with even moderately less experience don’t apply or desperate job seekers apply anyway, irrespective of the job description requirements. As a result, applications are not qualitative. Although companies write overly detailed job descriptions based on good intentions, they are helpless in obtaining qualitative applications.

Fact #2 – Recruiters spend no more than 30 seconds reading a resume: I need not emphasize the rationale behind this fact for recruiter audience. It goes without saying. This is to emphasize that job descriptions need not be overly detailed (as expressed in fact #1 above). This is because, the job seekers we spoke with, especially college students and millennials, were oblivious to this fact. Some common questions we got include: “Why write such a long job description when they won’t spend a fraction of a time reading it? Why do they ask for my resume through email when they made me fill an application and submit my resume? I wasted my 45 minutes for nothing?”

Fact #3 – Flexibility always exits for right candidates, provided an actual interaction occurs between hiring managers/recruiters and job seekers: Recruiters never forcefully insist on having the specified years of work experience in job descriptions, and for candidates with the right attitude and basic qualifications, most job requirements related to experience are flexible. Soft skills are regarded more important even when not mentioned on job descriptions. This was the rationale behind some recruiters bypassing the ATS as mentioned in bias #3 above.

Fact #4 – People hire people they like! – This is a highly subjective trait that subconsciously influences a hiring manager’s decision. The same goes of all members in a team who interview a prospective candidate. Overall, managers hire people who are their type and this can’t be ignored. The hiring manager also doesn’t necessarily express this up front, but the “matching chemistry” takes precedence over qualification. Headhunters and RPO’s differ from this approach because they spend so much time in screening candidates based on qualification, however, the decision of the hiring manager is final. It is imperative to note that successful factors mostly have nothing to do with a resume or work experience.  So all the investment on job boards, recruiting tools, ATS, etc. boil down to this fact in the end. Another strong indication on why humanizing recruitment is critical.

Fact #5 – Hiring managers and recruiters have communication gaps – Whether it is filling the position of an employee who quit, or hiring people to develop a new team, the hiring manager will have a vision of who the ideal candidate should be. While they make the final decision in hiring a candidate, they never take part during early screening. They are hardly involved in composing the job description – which are usually old and outdated – and in best cases they convey verbally to the recruiter on what they look for in the ideal candidate. The manager might assume that the recruiter knows how the team functions. Sometimes, the strategic initiatives proposed by top management in the company to grow a new team is not clearly reflected to the recruiter. Although staff from human resources take part in a company’s strategic initiatives meetings – so as to hire the right talent based on new plans communicated – recruiters don’t understand the criticalities of new initiatives discussed in a manner comprehended by a hiring manager. The manager therefore assumes that recruiters are aware of the right candidates to identify. This disconnect, combined with the recruiter (or an external RPO) composing the job description, leads to inappropriate candidates getting screened for interviews. Consequently, this adds to delays in hiring.

Fact #6 –  Millennials’ work culture expectations can’t be ignored – The next three decades will be dominated by millennials in the work force. Some key facts associated with millennials:

  • They value open dialogue and demand to be heard (Read humanizing!)
  • They are inquisitive and prefer working in diverse culture
  • They tend to switch jobs often if they feel their work is saturating and not learning new things
  • They demand simplicity and respect for their time – This is why they hate filling out job applications for over 45 minutes in ATS (Some openly expressed their hate against ATS, with foul language, in our primary research)
  • Building up from the above bullet point, employers have expressed that retaining millennials is tough

It is imperative for recruiters/hiring managers to understand that overly detailed job descriptions won’t appeal to millennials. They expressed that a company that would want their resume submitted online, and still make them fill out an application that takes “bazillion” hours, is an indication of how they’d be treated if they worked for such a company. Some millennials expressed that they’d avoid filling up a job application if its linked with an ATS. This point stood out alarmingly high from the millennial crowd. Given that they form the majority of the work force in the decades to come, it is imperative that companies and hiring policies are adapted to attract millennial talent.

Fact #7 – Internal reference systems will always remain limited: One of the top selling points of modern aggregators tools in recruiting, is that they emphasize a lot of importance to employee referral programs, and propose features that will increase referrals. No one can deny that internal references are a great choice to hire people, however, companies have struggled to leverage it to full potential. At best, companies had success hiring from internal references from 10% of their workforce. They have even implemented financial bonuses for internal reference, however, they have struggled to increase the referral percentage. There are many factors for this struggle:

  • Employees are mostly referring their close friends, or at best, a colleague from previous companies. Not everyone is social or good at networking. If they’re referring close friends, employees genuinely ensure if its worthy for their friends to join them. What if the existing company has bad management or hasn’t given employees a fair appraisal/promotion? The last thing anybody would do in such an environment is refer their friend. A company wanting to leverage referral program effectively should first ensure how employees perceive its management and culture.
  • Even if an internal employee makes a reference, chances are that the referred candidate may not get hired. In this case, the employee doesn’t get the referral bonus. This brings about an important point. Although rewarding for internal reference is a great system, it isn’t necessarily a great incentive for employees to proactively keep referring people at a regular intervals.
  • For personal reasons, even though a referred candidate is a perfect fit for a company, that candidate may not want to join, by citing relocation or family issues.

For the reasons mentioned above, internal references will always remain limited. When it comes to recruitment, more than 80% of talent search has to come from sources outside internal reference.

Conclusion

One major research insights that we have not included in this article is the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in recruitment. Perhaps this could be a separate article in itself. However, we can assure you all that AI is NOT a threat to recruiters. We say that with conviction. We would go as far to confidently suggest that recruiters can boldly hold signs in front of silicon valley tech companies that reads “AI is not a threat to talent sourcing.” For example, there are AI recruitment tools out there that suggest they can qualitatively assess a candidate’s writing skills, based on how they composed their resumes. Our question is, what if someone got their resume composed by a professional writer? How will the AI know that? There are many other factors that AI’s application to recruitment. Until the global workforce is entirely replaced by robots, technology will always remain a supplement to human intervention in talent sourcing. Today, the best radiological diagnoses are not just the physician’s expertise or advanced image processing techniques, but a combination of both. Similarly, even the most advanced AI applications and machine learning algorithms will only remain tools that supplement a recruiter. It is imperative therefore, to humanize talent sourcing, in order to influence workplace hiring, management efficiency and team productivity.

Now think about the statement for one moment. If technology replaced the need for humanizing efforts in recruitment, then why haven’t head hunters disappeared? Some of the elite head hunting firms, that charge big money for their services, still exist successfully. This is because the advent of many technological mediums in talent sourcing have only widened the gap between job providers and job seekers. There are many market research reports from reputed firms that express recruitment is a $ 20 billion industry is poised to grow at 7-10% year-on-year until 2020. Isn’t this ironic? If technology is making talent sourcing easier and efficient, then shouldn’t the spend on recruitment industry shrink? The reason why the recruitment market is poised to increase, is because new technology players are seeing this growth as an opportunity to introduce more products, than actually trying to close the gap between job providers and seekers. As a result, we are caught in a vicious circle (or infinite loop) where employers and candidates are further drifting apart with more “solutions” widening the gap. The fortune companies have deep pockets to invest in as many talent sourcing solutions and they are still struggling to find talent, while small to medium enterprises hardly have budgets allocated for talent sourcing.

The biggest lesson from our research is that there is no substitute to humanizing intervention in talent sourcing. The humanizing element should be top priority. While recruiters can leverage technology to expedite operational activities, they need to establish a genuine connect with candidates in getting to know them better. The really successful recruiters are those whose communication skills encompass company’s vision, hiring manager’s concerns, and candidate’s aspirations. This is achievable only through humanizing talent sourcing – now more than ever.

Authored by: Shri S. – Founder & CEO, Thinketh Labs

Research Methodology:

  • Primary Research – Recruiters (including head hunting firms), hiring managers and job seekers were asked to express their top 3 challenges associated with talent sourcing and job search
  • Primary Research executed with technology entrepreneurs and post-doctoral research scholars in computer science and mathematics
  • Primary Research with non-governmental organizations and business network associations in emerging countries concerned with employment empowerment
  • Focus group was global – including micro, small, medium and large enterprises covering manufacturing and service sectors
  • Secondary Research – Business model assessment of various recruiting solutions including job boards, ATS, RPO’s, etc
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Credait – Research Justification

23 Min 10 Sec to read

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Human Resource, Uncategorized

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Abstract:  Credait is a social empowerment platform to enable people’s dream career. Current talent acquisition tools are primitive because they employ degree and experience as a reflection of a candidate’s skill and passion. These tools are only about getting a job. In the digitally evolving world, Credait assesses knowledge, passion and skill directly, to enable career for candidates. This is accomplished without the need for a resume or having to read a job description ever again. In other words, a candidate will never apply for a job again. They will get identified!

The Job Search Paradox

Job search is a very stressful and time consuming ordeal. The active job seekers are those who do not have a job, or given the unfavorable circumstance in their environment, want to move to another organization at the earliest. There are also the passive group of talented people who would consider moving to another organization, given a better salary and scope for career growth, but these people are not “actively” looking out. These passive candidates, in most cases, are referred by a friend or someone in their network, in case an opportunity coincides with the passive candidate’s qualification and interest. This is purely a matter of luck. Whatever the situation, as long as there are companies that continue to hire people, there will be a large pool of candidates who are always looking forward for better opportunities.

The biggest obstacle to job search, is how technology in the current scenario has made it so complex, or chaotic rather, in prolonging the recruitment process. In traditional hiring, a company advertised a job description in the most concise manner in the local or national news paper. The job seekers sent their resumes in physical form, and recruiters had to patiently go through the entire process of getting to know the job seekers better. In other words, there was a “humanizing” element involved in recruiting.

At best, in traditional hiring, there was the headhunter between company recruiters and job seekers. It is fair to say that these head hunters were the modern equivalent of “social medias.” They took the time to understand company requirements better, and they spent a considerable amount of time with the job seekers (both active and passive) to find out their interests, company preference and long term aspirations. While headhunters specialized in specific industries, the common successful trait they all shared was the ability to build relationships – the ability to “humanize” the connect between recruiters and the job seekers. In the current internet age however, the overgrowing mediums like job boards, social media, applicant tracking systems (ATS) etc., have only made recruiting worse. Technology has become a curse, ironically, with these mediums filling in and widening the gap between recruiters and job seekers. A noted human resources leader and influencer on recruiting, Liz Ryan, summarized it aptly when she says:

“Mechanization has almost completely taken over the standard corporation of institutional hiring process.”

There is a dire need, therefore, to humanize talent sourcing. This is where Credait steps in. 

Credait – An acronym for Credentials, Dreams and Traits

Credait is a social empowerment platform for talent sourcing and directly links recruiters and job seekers. It empowers both professional and non-professional workforce. Approximately 7% of the global workforce are professionals – people with college education and hold resumes. The other 93% of the global workforce comprises of skilled and unskilled people. There are many social mediums catering to career needs of the professional workforce, however, there are hardly any medium catering to the needs of the “bottom” 93% of the workforce.

Credait serves as a universal social empowerment platform for both professional and non-professional workforce. Prominent features of Credait include:

  • No more resumes
  • No more reading job descriptions
  • No more applying for jobs (need for job application is eliminated)
  • On board skilled & unskilled workers who do not have access to internet or smart phone
  • On board skilled & unskilled workers who are illiterate
  • Cross border enabled – Universal talent sourcing platform globally
  • Lifetime free-access for job seekers
  • One time registration for job seekers
  • For Recruiters – No ad expenditure
  • Candidate screening time is eliminated
  • No constant updates of personal profiles 

Credait’s Mission: Humanize, simplify and accelerate the talent sourcing process.

Credait’s Vision: Become the universal talent sourcing platform of 3 + billion skilled work-force by 2020

Website: www.credait.com

Why is Credait Unique?

Credait eliminates the need for Resumes, job descriptions, years of work experience and educational qualifications in order to find the best candidates suited for particular profile. This is because Credait identifies some indisputable facts that exist in talent sourcing, while dissecting biases and busting myths associated with human resource hiring. It is important therefore, to look into the biases, myths and facts associated with hiring.

Dissecting Bias

#1 – The ‘Ivy League education’ bias: Many companies over emphasize the importance of candidates having degree from highly ranked universities. Credait’s solution aims to eliminate this bias, and steer hiring companies away from the mindset associated with top ranked universities. Before the internet age, a degree from a top ranked university considered special because high profile universities had access to rich information resource.  Professors had big research grants and were highly knowledgeable to advice students. There were plenty of research publications, be it technology or business, for students to access. However, in the internet age, everyone has access to education. Reputed universities and MOOC (Massive open online courses) websites are offering free courses over the internet. This is an age of self-learning and any aspiring student or job seeking candidate has access to knowledge in any desired field. Moreover, anyone in any company environment will agree that not everyone from a highly reputed university were the best of performers.  For this reason, the candidate’s subject expertise will visible in the Credait’s portal, but not the educational institution where the degree was obtained.

#2 – The ‘personality/cognitive test’ bias: Many companies, by involving external agencies, request candidates in initial interactions to undergo a personality/cognitive test. There are academically brilliant people who can score on the genius scale at an IQ test, but who can never become the CEO of a fortune 100 company, or perform even a mid-level leadership role effectively. This is because IQ tests (or any standardized test) focus on the cognitive skills central to success in colleges, but not successes in business. This is because there are absolutely no tests that measures on-your-feet thinking skills that are critical in business, to weigh good vs. bad decisions. The problem with cognitive/personality tests is that it enables a test taker to manipulate the results in a way candidates feel will be viewed favorably in line with the job description and company type. Unfortunately, these tests are enforced even before the first interview and ideal candidates are already eliminated.

#3 – The ‘pre-defined experience’ bias: Let’s say some job description specifies that a candidate requires 10-15 years of experience, or something like a minimum of 10 years of experience.

What if there is an ideal candidate with everything that a hiring manager is looking for, but only has 9 years of work experience? Problem is, even before such a candidate and the hiring manager can interact, the ATS will have already eliminated that candidate, even if he had 9.5 years of experience. Also, let’s say a position requires 10 years of leadership experience in a software company where the candidate is required to lead a new product development. But what if a candidate with only 5 years of experience applied, but he had started his own software development company as an entrepreneur, but it did not take off as expected. Although he has only 5 years of experience, this candidate would be more than qualified to lead a new product development owing to his entrepreneurial background, having rich experience in all failure points towards a new product development. However, an ATS will eliminate this candidate, and many chances that an inexperienced recruiter might overlook his resume because it only shows 5 years of experience. If on the other hand, a hiring manager noticed this entrepreneur’s experience, he would definitely consider his profile for a few interviews. However, hiring managers hardly review resumes and assume that recruiters, ATS, etc. will find the ideal candidate.

#4 – The ‘specific industry experience’ bias: Let’s say a position is for a client partner’s role in a medical technologies company. The job description requires that a candidate has good relationship management skills with a background in medical devices. However, let’s say that a candidate with excellent client engagement strategy applied but he had a general engineering background and not necessarily in medical devices. The ATS will out rightly eliminate this candidate. What is critical for a client partner’s role is the candidate’s ability to maintain amicable relationships with clients and grow the business with forecasted sales. This person doesn’t necessarily need a strong medical devices background, and to maintain the relationship, a strong socially interactive candidate will easily pick up on the basic medical devices knowledge to connect with clients. This is true for any role requiring leadership or people management where a medical devices or consumer products company can hire any candidate with a different industry experience, because the emphasis is only on effective people management to derive best results and not necessarily having the right industrial background.

Busting Myths

Myth #2 – Finding the right candidate takes time: This is a shady advice that the many recruiting tools and RPO’s conveniently tell companies who are getting impatient in finding the right talent. They don’t want to admit (or stay

Myth #1 – The perfect candidate syndrome: This “pursuit-of-perfection” attitude is ruining the recruiting process, and a root cause for leaving many jobs seekers in vain. The advent of social media recruiting with specialized aggregator tools, and engagement of specialized RPO’s to find the “superman” candidate is causing more harm than benefit. The problem with this obsession towards the “perfect candidate” syndrome is that companies feel they have invested heavily in all types of recruitment technology and processes and these can somehow identify that superman candidate. But the reality is that various recruitment technologies and RPO’s have presented a value proposition that getting the dream candidate for companies only to grow business from hiring compnaies. Let us consider the following example:

An actual job description in 2015 expressed the need for a Director of social media strategy. He required 10 – 15 years of experience in digital strategy. This is because, being a retail consumer products company, the management wants to expand its foot print in social media and be able to identify the right audience and create a fan following. However, one can immediately deduce that this job description was written by a person who lacked common sense. Consider the following scenarios:

  • The company wanted to increase presence in social media through mediums like facebook, instagram, twitter, etc.
  • Facebook was the first among social media entity that was established only in 2005.
  • The company/artist pages feature in facebook didn’t come into existence until 2010.
  • It wasn’t until 2012 that popular brands and artists began to have a good following in facebook and hence the need for B2C companies to increase their foothold in finding the right audience by means of a digital/social media strategy.
  • This implies that a social media strategy is a new field where nobody could have more than 3 years of experience. At best, let’s say some person realized the impact of social media strategy, then even that person would only 5 years of experience, given the facebook’s company page feature came to existence only in 2010.
  • Then how in the world can someone post a job description for a director with over 10 years of experience in social media strategy?

This clearly illustrates that with the “pursuit of perfection” attitude, all these modern recruitment tools and RPO’s promise the impossible to companies. A company just jumping the bandwagon on initiating its social media strategy will obviously want the best candidate with maximum experience in this field. Therefore, an engaged RPO staff will compose the job description on behalf of the company and post these in various job boards and company website. However, as noted above, only people with a maximum of 5 years of experience would apply, and the company’s ATS will automatically reject these candidates. On one side, the director of social media strategy position will remain open forever, and internally companies will complain that they never filled the position in over a year. On another side, deserving candidates will get to work in such a position.  This is the reality where many companies report that positions are remaining unfilled since posting, for even more than year. Ideally, a hiring manger should have composed the job description, and he/she will be expected to have the common sense where no person in the market can exist with over 5 years of experience in social media strategy.

However, with all the technological mediums and RPO’s stacking up, by promising magical solutions in finding the best candidate, the hiring manager is entirely out of the picture in the initial screening process. In this regard, how can company be disillusioned by the concept of perfect candidate? Companies themselves may be aware of this fallacy, however, when an external agency (like RPOs) promises the impossible, companies fall victim. This is the same way someone falls for a magical diet pill or exercise machine on TV, that promises a perfect physique in two weeks. Everybody buys it, and over time, just forget about it, until a new diet pill or machine comes, and the whole cycle happens all over again.

conveniently ignorant rather), that all the delay in the hiring process is because of over stacking middlemen like themselves in the first place. Building up from myth #1, the impracticalities in the current recruitment process is leaving many positions unfilled, waiting for the ideal superman candidate. However the middlemen can’t undermine their own value proposition to their clients, so they will keep giving shady advice such as “find the right candidate takes time.” At some point, the company eventually caves in, and hires a candidate who doesn’t necessarily fit the position appropriately, or sometimes, they get lucky. Over this long haul though, they would have wasted precious time in not getting a single candidate (leave along the right candidate) to execute work. Invariably other members in a team would have contributed for the vacant position’s role, and as a result, they would have been over stressed, and invariably productivity would have dipped. And when such frustrated workers resign due to stress and overwork, companies complain about attrition and not being able to retain talent. Worse, they would hire an external consulting firm to find out why talented workforce leave them.

Myth #3 – Intelligent recruiting software and aggregator tools will help determine a candidate’s future performance: It is a fact that even in the stock market, a past performance is not an indication of future performance, then how can this apply to job candidates? Even big CEOs of top Fortune 100 firms – who had the highest pedigree in education and experience – have made very bad decisions and reputed companies have filed for bankruptcy. But it’s ironic how recruitment software is sold under the pretext of having “specialized tools” that determine future performance. One of the hottest topic in the recruitment industry today is being able to evaluate a candidate’s future performance. The technology and middlemen therefore have picked up on this new “snake oil” gimmick, and have introduced specialized “filler technologies” they may determine a candidate’s “future” performance. This is nothing but merely exploiting the specific things that companies or recruiters want to hear.

How a candidate can perform in the future depends on many factors outside the candidate as well. Companies first need to assess whether the environment and/or work culture they offer are conducive for a candidate to perform outstandingly well. What if the company or the team is marked by bad management? What if there is an incompetent or insecure boss who feels threatened by a subordinate’s performance? Is there an effective system of appraisals that rewards and recognizes the work performance of a candidate? There can absolutely be no way a hiring manager or a recruiter can assess a candidate’s future performance by ignoring various fallacy in their own system or company culture. Besides, one cannot rule out the possibility that a candidate who performed average in the previous company can actually do stellar work in the current role being interviewed for, especially when there is a great boss or company culture.

In a leadership role, the possibility of estimating the a candidate’s future performance, based on past experience, is completely ruled out. This is because questions on past experience will only yield the following:

  • Nature of work performed (examples of the type of work done in past)
  • Job Knowledge (deemed specific to the industry, and invariably the best practices)
  • Social skills (behavior, mannerisms, likeability)

But all of the above cannot identify success in the current (executive) role being interviewed for. Therefore, the most accurate way of predicting someone’s future performance is to put the candidate in a situation where hiring managers closely mimics the context in the existing company, and assess how the candidate performs. In other words, the current role must be enacted where the hiring manager and prospective candidate have interactive discussion to form a conclusion. Such a scenario is the  most accurate method of assessing a candidate’s future performance and it is only possible when people interact. However, the technological intervention has completely prolonged this process, because many ideal candidates would have been eliminated through ATS or other technological mediums. This is why humanizing component is important and imperative to the candidate and hiring manager interacting from the beginning. Credait enables such an opportunity! Keep reading below to find out how.

Identifying Facts

Fact #1 – Employers are just as clueless in finding talent, as job seekers are lost in finding their ideal position: Most job qualification and experience requirements overshoot the positions functional need. Employers just want to weed out inexperienced folks before they apply. This has to two pronged problem: A) It scares young talent away, and B) Job seekers have been so long without jobs they just apply for any random job just to see if they get a response. Companies therefore, although write job descriptions based on good intentions, they are clueless because they are unaware of the ideally qualified candidates they may eliminate. Credait enables the hiring manager to prioritize the top requirements of a candidate in key words, instead of writing a highly detailed job description. This way, the hiring manager can not only work fast to fill the position of an employee that left his team, but also quickly identify new talent with the right qualifications in line with the development of a new team, without worrying to compose the perfect job description.

Fact #2 – Recruiters spend no more than 30 seconds reading a resume: One has to understand that a job description may be long, but a recruiter spends no more than 30 seconds on a candidate’s resume. This is of course, by those very experienced recruiters who genuinely feel that its best for them to review a profile firsthand. What they are looking for in a resume could up to them: key words, reputed company experience, education, achievements, etc. However, irrespective of what they look for, they spend only 30 seconds or less on a resume. Credait’s approach is simple, where the search results of desired skills from candidates is reflective of what the recruiter specifies.

Fact #3 – Flexibility always exits for right candidates, provided an actual interaction occurs between hiring managers and job seekers: Recruiters never forcefully insist on having the right years of work experience, and for candidates with the right attitude and social character, most job requirements related to experience are flexible. Soft skills are regarded more important and not greatly emphasized in job ads. This is why Credait eliminates the need for specific years of job experience.  Instead, it offers another simple solution to work around years of work experience.

Fact #4 – People hire people they like! – This statement alone is enough said. This is a highly subjective influence that subconsciously influences a hiring manager’s decision. The same goes of all members in a team who interview a prospective candidate. Overall, managers hire people who are their type and this can’t be ignored. The hiring manager also doesn’t necessarily express this up front, but they the “matching chemistry” always influences over qualification when it comes to the person hired. Headhunters and RPO’s vehemently differ from this approach because they spend so much time in filtering the right candidates based on qualification, however, the decision of the hiring manager is final. It is imperative to note that successful factors mostly have nothing to do with a resume or work experience and these cannot be conveyed over a resume. Again, in the end, people hire people they like. Through Credait, the hiring manager is able to identify the traits of prospective candidates that are reflective of their own personality and/or reflective of the hiring team.

Fact #5 – Hiring managers and recruiters have communication gaps – Whether it is filling the position of an employee who quit, or hiring people to develop a new team, the hiring manager will have a vision of whom the ideal candidate should be. While they make the final decision in hiring a candidate, given the current recruitment process, they never come during the early screening process. They are hardly involved in composing the job description – which are usually old and outdated – and they just, in most case, convey verbally on what they look for in an ideal candidate to the recruiter. The manager might assume, or take for granted, that the recruiter knows how the team functions. Worse, the strategic initiatives proposed by top management in the company to grow a new team is not clearly reflected to the recruiter. Although key staff from human resource take part in a company’s strategic initiatives meetings – so as to hire the right talent based on new plans communicated – recruiters don’t understand the criticalities of new initiatives discussed in a manner comprehended by a hiring manager. The manager therefore assumes that recruiters are aware on which candidates to identify. This disconnect, combined with the recruiter (or an external RPO) composing the job description, leads to inappropriate candidates getting screened for interviews. In Credait, the communication between hiring managers and recruiters are in perfect sync in finding the right candidate. As mentioned in Fact #1, it is best that the hiring managers sets the right search criterion and pass it on to the recruiter.

Fact #6 –  Millennials’ work environment expectations can’t be ignored – Millennials are those people born after 1980’s and reached adulthood by early 2000’s. The next three decades will be dominated by millennials  in the work force. These people grow up in a technological revolution encompassed by mass connectivity. Some key facts with respect to millennials:

  • They value open and honest dialogue
  • They have a great need to have their aspirations and goals heard
  • They don’t necessarily ask for entitlement, however, they want to know how they can get better continuously and how they can grow.
  • They respect and demand a sense of empowerment
  • They are inquisitive and always striving to learn new things, experience new culture, and crave diversity
  • They have the tendency to switch jobs often if they experience saturation. Only by giving them new responsibilities will they stick around longer. They want challenges and the freedom to derive their own solution.
  • They don’t just look for jobs, they place importance to a career. Their mindset can be categorized as entrepreneurial.
  • They do not like overload of redundant information (even in job descriptions)
  • Since 2014, they form the majority of the global work force. By 2030 they will be 75% of the global work force.
  • They crave simplicity: less information, more effectiveness, etc. They demand respect of their time and getting their attention is very tough. This is why they hate filling out job applications for over 45 minutes in ATS.
  • They are always looking for better opportunities
  • Many employers express that retaining millennials is tough.

It is imperative to understand then, that very detailed job descriptions won’t appeal to millennials. Yet another reason to eliminate job descriptions. Through Credait, millennials can empower their top talents alone to get noticed.

Fact #7 – Internal reference systems will always remain limited: One of the top selling points of modern aggregators tools in recruiting, is that they emphasize a lot of importance, to employee reference in finding new talent and the innovative methods to propose to expand internal reference. No one can deny that internal reference among the best methods to find talents, after all, an existing employee knows best on how the company function and how’s its work culture is. The problem they overlook (or rather choose not to disclose) is that internal references don’t work for the same reason. Some facts to consider by breaking down the source of hiring:

  • Internal Referrals : 22 – 25%
  • Career section on website: 15 – 20 % (only for branded companies)
  • Job boards: 18 – 20%
  • Social media 2 – 5 % (This is how low the impact of social media recruiting is!)
  • College recruitment: 4 – 7 %
  • Third party agencies: 3 – 7 %

Although internal referrals are the best source of finding new talent for companies, many companies have struggled to exceed the 25% limit over the past decade. They have even implemented great rewards (including financial bonuses) for internal reference, however, they have struggled to increase the percentage. There are many factors for this cause:

  • Employee’s are mostly referring their close friends through internal reference, or at best, a colleague from the previous company. Not everyone has a very large network/friends. In this case, they only refer people if the value proposition for their friends are better in their existing companies. What if the existing company has a bad management or hasn’t given employees a fair appraisal in a long time? The last thing anybody would do in such an environment is refer their friend.
  • Every employee, although they may know many people, not all the people in their network/friend’s list are qualified to join the existing company. For example, if the existing company is an engineering firm and one position requires an electrical engineer, not all friends of an existing employee will be electrical engineers.
  • Even if an internal employee makes a reference, chances are that other candidates are also in the interviewing process, and the referred candidate may not get hired. In this case, the employee doesn’t get the referral bonus. This brings about an important point. Although rewarding for internal reference is a great system, it isn’t necessarily a great motivator for internal employees to proactively keep referring people at a regular intervals.
  • For personal reasons, even though a referred candidate is a perfect fit, they may choose not join a company, by citing commute, relocate or family issues.

For the reasons mentioned above, internal references will always remain limited, and the fact that many new “recruitment aggregator tools” will try to increase internal references is unjustified. When it comes to recruitment, 75% of the talent search has to come from sources outside of internal reference. And the whole mishap that happens in this 75% due to numerous mediums is what is causing the prolonged delay in recruitment. A major advantage with Credait is that will be in expediting the recruiting process, by reducing screening time to one day. Overall, Credait will be a disruptive platform in professional talent sourcing, and a revolutionary platform in non-professional talent sourcing.

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