Why should hiring be driven by a resume?

Abhijit Bhaduri | Updated on February 27, 2019

Are there better ways of hiring than looking at a person’s qualifications and previous experience?

Knowing what you like, hate or love is big business. Your evaluation as a customer determines which start-up will become the next unicorn. Your comment and review on a website could be the reason why some employee gets a bonus or gets fired.

Our likes and dislikes also create a steady stream of the same product or service being sent your way. Service providers believe that if they can figure out your tastes they can turn you into a loyal customer.

When Samsung tried to understand how 4G was being viewed in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns, it worked with Frrole, a social intelligence start-up that can tell you the need, mood and behaviour that could impact the business outcome. It enables businesses to speak the language of the customer they seek to reach. Frrole is a Punjabi word that means serendipitous discovery.

Samsung then asked Frrole to find out what really mattered to the potential customers when it came to 4G. Samsung learned that 4G was seen as a feature of the phone and mattered more than a better camera or a bigger screen. Their campaign told the youth that Samsung was the “Best 4G Smartphone”. That worked.

Knowing that five thousand people “like” your Facebook page does not mean anything until you can learn what is common to these five thousand people, their likes and dislikes. Frrole counts Flipkart, Twitter and Unilever among its clients. This AI-Powered Next-Gen Consumer Intelligence platform can be used for marketers, sales folks and now even HR.

Personality is the best predictor

Can we use the same technology to match people with jobs? The hiring process is outdated to say the least. Here are some limitations of the hiring process that most companies follow:

1. Resumes play to our biases: When it comes to hiring, we continue to use resumes and interviews to make decisions. Most recruiters spend on six seconds looking at the resume of a candidate. The information in a resume plays to our biases. For example: In India, most names can immediately tell you the candidate’s place of origin, sex and more.

The educational qualification can play to your bias because some colleges are seen to be “premier” and the others rank lower. The same goes for the previous employers listed on the resume. The brand name of the employer impacts how we view the candidate.

2. Soft skills are harder to evaluate: According to the Global Recruiting Trends Report of 2019 by LinkedIn, “soft skills can make or break a hire — and they can also make or break a company: 92 per cent of talent professionals say they matter as much or more than hard skills when they hire, and 80 per cent say they’re increasingly important to company success.” Less than half the companies have a formal process in place to assess soft skills.

3. Psychometric assessment is a test of the buyer: When buyers look to personality tests that can predict performance in a job, they face several blocks. Many low-cost tests are gimmicky, with zero predictive ability. The assessments that are validated to predict job performance are expensive and take a long time to complete.

4. It is as much about the evaluator: Two interviewers evaluating a candidate will reach different conclusions about the ability as well as the development opportunities. What one interviewer views as “confidence” will be seen as “arrogance” by another depending on what their own standards are.

Predicting soft skills from language

In a hyper-connected world, we are sharing our opinions and feelings and choices. These are powerful proxies for our personality. Frrole now uses DeepSense to look at two dozen-odd data sources used for its personality analytics. This data exists on public networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, AngelList, GitHub, StackOverflow, Instagram. They don’t take data from WhatsApp and Facebook.

DeepSense analyses the text from these social sites using a natural language algorithm to look at ten factors that predict soft skills like Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness, Self-confidence, Tolerance, Selflessness, Tenacity, Proactiveness and Learning ability. There are studies linking word usage patterns that correlate to personality of bloggers.

The advantage of DeepSense using language to predict soft skills is that it does not need any resume to be written and evaluated. And it can be used at scale. The same technology that is able to generate consumer intelligence can be used to understand employees or potential employees. It can be used not just for hiring but also to find roles for employees that bring out their best.

Decoding the mystery of personality

According to Hogan’s Chief Science Officer, “Personality is related to every meaningful individual difference. Scientifically validated personality assessments can predict substance use and abuse, longevity, relationship satisfaction, job performance, criminality, and occupational choice, just to list a few examples. Beyond these applications, well-validated personality assessments provide individuals with insights into their own motives, reputations and destructive behaviours, many of which they may not be aware.”

The job description of the CXOs is fairly consistent between industry peers. That would mean we could interchange the CXOs between the companies and they would all be equally successful. We all know that is not possible. While their qualifications and experience may be similar, their effectiveness will vary dramatically depending on the organisation. The answer lies in personality. Parents will tell you how different each child is from the siblings. That is the magic of personality.

What if there was a way to recommend the choice of jobs based on the personality rather than ability and qualifications? We do not always like to do every job that we can do well. Just look at the thousands of engineers who are not pursuing engineering. The rock singer who was trained to be a doctor is simply responding to the motivations, values and preferences of his or her personality. That might be the puzzle that organisations could do well to pursue. Deeper Sense may hold the key to the puzzle.

Abhijit Bhaduri is a leadership development expert who advises some of the largest corporations in the world

Published on February 27, 2019

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