Thursday, February 27, 2014

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Helps Recruiting

There are a lot of new trends in HR around data: Big Data, Social Data, Data Analytics. But one area that is gaining ground is the use of Artificial Intelligence in support of HR. (of course many may argue that those of us in the HR products world have always been artificially intelligent – but I won’t go there). What I want to discuss briefly here is 5 key ways that Artificial Intelligence can be used to improve the processes of recruiting: finding the right talent quickly.

1.       Goes Beyond Key Words: most search and discovery solutions can only find candidates that use the same words you use when you write the job description. If you say Marketing Manager, you’ll get people who use that term. But you might miss the perfect candidate who happens to have the right skills but a different job title and maybe a less traditional career path. AI uses data clustering techniques to create job clusters so you can identify these alternative skills and titles.
2.       Fast and Accurate: Have you ever spent hours poring over social and professional media sites to try and find that perfect candidate? Artificial Intelligence based search can look through that same data in seconds using refined searching and matching that helps you narrow in on what you are looking for.
3.       Perfect For the New World of Social Recruiting: Data in the social “ether” is growing and become more and more relevant to work place decision making. But not all the data follows the traditional rules of old-style recruiting. People talk about their skills and experiences in different ways, their job titles are unique (and funky) and while all of this is fun, it can make it harder to find people. AI based data matching has no problem with these anomalies. Chief Idea Officer, no problem, Chief Moral Officer, no problem, Beer Ranger, AI loves that title too!
4.       Customizes to your Needs: Not everybody who says they want a project manager or a sales lead or a client support specialist means the same thing. Sometimes you can see that clearly in the job description, other times, not so much. With artificial intelligence based matching, you can work with predicted outcomes to customize the kinds of people and skills you are really looking for. This allows you to build the customized profile for a particular job that is matched to your needs.
5.       Gets Smarter: The final and perhaps most important element of Artificial Intelligence is that it gets smarter the longer you use it. AI adjusts to patterns it recognizes. So it you hire sales people with a certain background and experience level, every time you accept or reject a match the system finds for you, it begins to understand that pattern and adjusts the types of recommendations it forwards to you.

Artificial Intelligence is gaining a foothold with HR products. If you want to find out more about it, feel free to talk to us at Innotrieve. We can get a little nerdy about it, but we’ll make sure you learn what you need to know about this valuable HR tool.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

TaskRabbit is the New Recruiting Model

Image from TaskRabbit, Inc.
Have you heard about the company Task Rabbit? Basically it is a site ( where you can post a task you want done: Walk the dog, pick up laundry, or wash your windows. You name it, you can post it. But there are no employees sitting behind the scenes waiting to be tasked to do your chore. Instead it is an open market exchange where people post a task and other people (just everyday people) bid on doing the job for you. I read that the # 1 task requested in TaskRabbit is building your Ikea furniture. (I think my wife would agree with that after the last time she had me build something…I don’t understand why she thought it was bad to have a lot of leftover parts).

There is a lesson in the TaskRabbit model for recruiting. And this lesson may be in both how you recruit and whom – or should I say what – you recruit.

First – how you recruit. Recruiters talk about the importance of networks, but in reality act either like islands and do all the work themselves, or act like King Edward VIII and abdicate their role to third party recruiters. But there is a better way and TaskRabbit has a hint of that better way. Get someone to help you. Both recruiters and employees have a vast network of people who you can ask for help. Employee Referral Linking Solutions like Innotrieve’s Referral Link is a great example of one of these solutions. With these tools you can quickly find people in the vast network of connections you have that might either be interested in the open job you posted, or know someone who is. Let your employees help you find the resources you need.

The second trend is who you recruit. Most companies, especially big companies think they need full time help. Yes, there is a trend to do more contracting, but that is the lazy way out. Companies should use the network of contacts that their employees have to create a grand marketplace of talent. What do you think it would be like if IBM or Cisco, or GE had a Task Board, where everyday people could simply bid on a task? Would the world come to an end? Would we blame it on Obamacare?  No, we’d simply get a good task done by someone we don’t know.

My bet is that we will all use advanced employee referral solutions to connect us to a bigger world, and we will all be better for it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

An HR Entrepreneur in the Navy

When I was a kid my dad told me being in the Navy was all about hurry-up-and-wait. As he explained it you were always supposed to quickly move from one place to the next, but once you got there you typically had to stand around and wait. Hurry-up-and-wait.

As an entrepreneur in HR (probably not unique to HR) I feel like this sometimes. Everything we do is urgent, but when we get there, we typically have to wait. Wait on software development, wait on investor funds, wait on sales prospects, and wait on customers.

Our product Referral Link was over a year in the making and finally went live in November. I felt like a Formula 1 race car sitting at the starting line ready to roar into high gear. 0 to 180 MPH in practically no time. We are ready to win the race.

Thing is, products that break old boundaries and introduce new ways to do things are rarely a race. Maybe a marathon, but never a sprint. Good ideas take time to take hold.

We have started to introduce the Referral Link product to the market place. Like any company full of more smarts than cash, we are following a Lean Start Up model. We are well beyond the MVP, but we are well into Lean Marketing. No Super Bowl ads for us. (Although I do think Jennifer Lawrence would be the perfect person to endorse our product at halftime – fiery and fierce, yet innovative…yes we do have an inflated image of ourselves). Instead though, we are slowly bringing the product to market by introducing it to certain targeted customer groups. We are getting a feel for how customers respond to the product, how the product performs and where the product best fits in the value chain.

So I guess taking over the world with our new innovation in recruiting is going to have to wait. In the meantime, I need to hurry up and get some things done. World domination takes preparation.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Can I Refer A Co-Worker

I think the guy I go to lunch with everyday really would be great as a business analyst in the IT department but I don’t think anyone over there takes it seriously when he applies for a job. I want to formally refer him next time they have an opening.

We've been having an interesting dialog with some of our customers about whether or not they would include current employees in their referral programs. Our application, Referral Link, automatically searches an employee’s network and prompts them about potential candidates they could refer. Everybody has lots of their co-workers that they are connected to in various social and professional networks. Should we filter out those names?

A few customers say absolutely yes. Filter out all current employees. That was not too unexpected.

But what is more interesting is the companies who are saying, NO: do not filter them out. Their argument is that a co-worker’s opinion about a fellow employee is valuable input and, when you are a fairly large organization, it can be hard to stay close to everybody’s interests and skills (even when you believe you have a good program to promote internal movement and career growth).

This can freak out employees too. When they get a name forwarded to them as a potential candidate for referral and that person is someone they already work with, they usually discount it as a bad recommendation. But is it?

How many of us know employees who languished in their organization for years and then finally left for better opportunities elsewhere. Don’t we wish someone would have let us know they were well suited for a new job within the organization?

"I work in PC support but what I’d really like to do is work in customer service, but no one over there seems to take me seriously when I apply."
Maybe a little “internal referral” help would push this along before the company, pushes them out. 

Hey buddy, can you spare me a referral!