Hiring for an InsurTech (*is tough)

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InsurTech v FinTech

InsurTech’s are all too often referred to in the same context as FinTech’s; as a broadly defined part of ‘financial services’, the Insurance industry is characterised as the slow-moving ‘older brother’ of banking.

The use and reference to FinTech firms happened after the 2007 financial crash, when ‘fintech’ became a common term outside of the finance world, owing to various venture capitalist firms making huge investments into fintech businesses which aimed to disrupt the failed financial institutions. InsurTech, as expected, was a term coined later.

In InsurTech market in the UK, according to the recognised commentator Nigel Walsh, is divided into “3 categories” in a recent blog post – 1). cloud-native equivalents of the traditional (large) core system 2). a similar model to ‘Category 1’, however, with the option to write business in specific states or geographies, and 3). adjacent InsurTech players that have been built from the ground up to solve a niche, single specific problem.

The main challenge for these burgeoning technology start-ups in InsurTech is the same as it was for the FinTech companies – hiring talent! 

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The War for Talent

The use of the phrase ‘war for talent’ has been used (and overused) considerably since the recession and one conclusion had been drawn – the talent won! 

It is a candidate-driven market now and companies find themselves aggressively competing for technical talent. As an employer now, your brand position, culture, environment, mission, technology stack, benefits (i.e. pension, flexible working policy) and overall offering are scrutinised and considered at every stage of the recruitment process. Fail to get the brand positioning and message to market wrong and you don’t attract or engage talent and if you give little or no consideration to the candidate experience, you will lose candidates from the process or simply get ‘ghosted’.

The dynamics of the market are such now that, as the employer, you have a significant challenge to recruit talent – you are no longer in direct control – therefore, your approach needs to change to be successful.

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Define the differences

Life in a start-up and scale-up is different from operating in an established SME or enterprise business – in most cases in the Insurance industry if you’ve worked for a major Insurance carrier, you have been ‘the client’. This is one of the most significant differences and one of 3 major differences.

1). Client v Service Provider

There is a mindset shift that is required to operate successfully in an InsurTech; stakeholders are no longer internal or 3rd party suppliers – they are actual customers. You are now customer-facing, driving a commercial agreement to deliver a project(s) that have implications for the end clients’ business and significant impact on the reputation and revenue of the InsurTech you represent.

There is no hiding place – you are front and centre and you will be responsible for all the commercial conversations, issues and escalations, client engagement and end-to-end delivery. You will be dealing with ambiguity, crafting solutions with limited amounts of resource available and you will be under pressure both internally and externally as the focal point. Would you be comfortable with this level of exposure and scrutiny?

2). Learning while in-flight

Typically, an InsurTech won’t have a slick on-boarding process that provides you with training on all the core products and services, an induction about the current state of the business and a few days grace to orientate yourself with your environment and colleagues and/or team members. The approach is often ‘laptop-open-and-GO!’.

You will need to be resourceful and collect information, data and self-learn as you start to take on responsibility for deliverables (both new and existing); the onus will be on you to set-up meetings with your peers and team to introduce yourself and get a sense of them, their role and how they fit into the dynamic of a constantly growing business.

In short, if your first question is ‘what’s the induction process?’ – this isn’t the environment for you.

3). What does success look like? 

Creating the exact psychometric profile for an individual that will be successful in a start-up and scale-up has been the pursuit of many incubators and accelerator programmes, VC and Angel investors and talent acquisition and recruitment companies. There doesn’t, at this stage, appear to be a definitive profile that guarantees success.

In my experience, there are 3 characteristics that are commonly found in the companies I have partnered with when they are scaling their business.

Resilience

The pressure to deliver, the pressure to find solutions, time-pressure, pressure from client demands and pressure to be forward-thinking requires one thing – resilience. If you don’t have experience of dealing with pressure, finding ways to personally reconcile the demands of the business whilst maintaining healthy mental well-being, this environment can be challenging.

A resilient mindset will help steer you through the ambiguity, find solutions when there appears to be no straight-forward answer and it will ensure you protect your team when the demands are high and the final phases are close to being delivered. You will lead where others simply manage.

Ambition

Ambition can be seen as an unattractive, slightly disruptive, quality in an individual. Ambition in a start-up is essential. Start-ups are built on the ambition of its founders. Assessing the ambition of an individual that wants to join a start-up can be approached in a number of ways; have they been or sought promotion in their previous companies? why do they want to join a start-up? do they have a plan for their role within the start-up and what are they going to improve, change or add to the business?

If working in a start-up ‘appeals to you’, or you think you could ‘add value’ or perhaps you think you have ‘relevant skills and experience’ – make sure you define the ‘why’ and ‘how’ to support these statements. Start-ups run fast, run hard and ask questions – they don’t make unsupported statements. 

Critical thinking 

What is critical thinking? – that’s a question I get asked by recruitment agencies and candidates. In the context of the companies, I have partnered with, it’s the ability (based on intellect and experience) to critically evaluate a decision, solution and/or existing project, commercial process or scenario and then provide a number of options – even options that haven’t been tested (but, could quickly be tested and validated).

It’s not the ‘ability to think outside the box’ as that cliche means very little in the context of a highly pressurised project delivery.

Critical thinking also requires you to trust your own decision-making process and be comfortable with known ‘unknowns’. It also means trusting your team and their knowledge and input, however, being confident enough to make and take the final decision.

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Summary

Joining an InsurTech, on face-value, maybe be very appealing – and these companies need talent like any established business – however, the environment, requirements and the ability to be successful are determined by different factors on a personal and professional level. If you think you want this kind of challenge, feel free to contact me for an introductory chat. InsurTech needs great talent! 

 

Reference material:

Nigel Walsh post entitled “Is the insurance core system the lowest common denominator in the InsurTech (r)evolution?” – Read the full post here

TechBullion – “What is InsurTech, Origin and History in Financial Technology?”

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The Recruiter’s ‘Portfolio’

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Dogma

Over the last few weeks I’ve been searching for a new project and what I have encountered, rather surprisingly, is a lot of the norms that we as a recruitment industry, still seem to be holding onto dogmatically. The one recurring question is ‘can you send me a copy of your CV?’.

My expectation would have been at least to ask me for a link to my LinkedIn profile; my hope is that I might be asked if I have a website or online portfolio, examples of campaigns I have successfully delivered, a request about blogs or any other information that would, in my opinion, actually present a holistic picture of the me as an individual and talent acquisition an recruitment professional. Across the board, the CV request was predominant.

I appreciate there is a counter-argument here which is ‘why don’t you just add links to your CV?’ – I’ve tested that and the click-through rates are low. From that test sample, my conclusion is that Hiring Managers / Agencies are still looking at the CV and making their decision based on the chronological script of my prior experience.

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Portfolio

This is going to sound like a sales pitch, however…

Whenever I recruit, I aim to build a picture of the individual through a combination of their LinkedIn profile, social media, blog posts and combine those notes and use them in the introductory conversation with them to really get a sense of them as a professional and person. With this knowledge, you can really start to explore their thoughts on culture, environment, working patterns and their mindset in the face of challenges and change. In short, you end up offering the Hiring Manager a ‘portfolio‘ of the person as opposed to a CV and each part of the process acts as an additional level of qualification beyond the standard ‘skills matching’ approach.

Flip the focus to recruiting for talent acquisition and recruitment professionals, would it be more interesting to your client to see examples of the following;

  • job specifications
  • social media content (i.e. posts, adverts)
  • recruitment assets (i.e. candidate, interviewee and on-boarding packs)
  • process workflows
  • interview formats
  • blog posts

How interesting to you and your client would this portfolio of information be at an introductory or pre-screening stage?

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Building your Portfolio

What are the challenges with starting to build your own recruitment portfolio?

The consideration of time is always the obvious starting point; the time to create a website of online host compared to writing your CV using a template is clear. Having said that, do you want to look back at your legacy in recruitment and have only a CV and some anecdotal stories and hiring numbers to refer to? – keep track of your journey and collate the information you have learned. Create your own ‘Recruitment Playbook’ – something you can use as you navigate your way through your career steps.

Another key consideration is, who owns the content you’ve created? – if you are a permanent employee (whether in-house or agency side), you’ll be subject to legal obligations regarding the content you have created. Having said that, referring to this content if it’s already in your, or the clients, social media feed isn’t a crime – blog about it even. Tell the story behind how and why you created it. This can be positive PR for the client’s brand.

What if I don’t have any of this content? – perhaps your in a role that hasn’t required you to write job specifications, create social media posts or implement new workflows. Then my suggestion to you is start!

The role of the Talent Acquisition (TA) and Recruitment (Rec) professional is evolving rapidly and you need to offer more than the ability to search, screen and present an applicant. As tools and products providing greater levels of automation change processes and the way tasks are completed, one of the greatest assets of a TA and Rec consultant is their ability to deliver creative solutions and the knowledge they already retain about the process of where to discover, attract and engage talent.

An invitation to fellow Professionals

If you want any suggestions as to where to start, I’m happy to have a chat. Just ping me a message. We can all benefit from sharing ideas! 

The Basic Salary Question

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The ‘salary’ question

Working agency-side for over 10-years, you get very used to asking the question – “..and what’s your current basic salary?” before moving onto the next phase of the conversation about salary expectation and what the opportunity (that you’ve introduced) is offering.

As an agency recruitment consultant, you learn (very quickly!) to ask this question towards the end of the introductory conversation as it’s a rapport-killer – it feels like you’re on a metaphorical first date and at the end of the meal you’re saying – “if you’re not going to finish that, could I have it”, then reaching over (invading your date’s personal space) and scraping the food off their plate.

As the recruiter, part of your responsibility as the ‘talent broker’ is to ascertain this information to present to your client alongside the other key information you have gleaned that isn’t stated on the CV. In short, your client expects you to provide a holistic picture of the individual and the salary information forms part of the report.

For the applicant, this question can feel like you’re immediately being quantified, assigned to a ‘box’ and your negotiating position becomes null void. I say this because I have also been the recipient of this question. In short, your ‘monetary value’ has been determined by your current employer and your potential future employer is using this information to inform their decision.

For all the talk about ‘your future potential’, you – as an applicant – are still being benchmarked, in part, on historic data.

The ‘loaded’ agenda

It my agency days, it was widely touted that a basic salary increase between 10%-15% was the standard when moving to a new job.  Any increase above this percentage was reserved for ‘senior’ or ‘exceptional’ individuals. Where did this ‘rule’ come from? I have no idea.

What I do know is that the agency model was sustained by protecting the margin it charged the client for services delivered. The client perpetuated this by providing the recruitment agency with a ‘salary range’ that they deemed suitable to pay for a particular role profile. The combination of these two factors meant that a potential candidate was already subject to a ‘financial scale’ irrespective of their skills and experience. The conversation agenda was, essentially, already loaded towards ‘the salary question’.

Banned in the USA

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On January 9th 2017, the State of New York passed legislation into law banning state agencies and departments from requesting salary history from applicants until after an offer of employment is extended. Furthermore, if an applicant’s prior compensation was discovered or offered by the candidate, that information could not be relied upon in determining the candidate’s salary, unless required by law or a collective bargaining agreement.

And so it began…

As of August 2018, there are 11 State-wide and 9 local bans that are a result of the adoption of the laws and regulations that prohibit employers from requesting salary history information from job applicants. But why? 

These laws are aimed at ending the cycle of pay discrimination in terms of the gender pay gap, and to some degree, ethnicity and ageism. To illustrate that point, a half a century after the US passed the Equal Pay Act, American women still face a substantial gender wage gap across the spectrum.

Today, on average, a woman earns 80.5 cents for every dollar a man earns, and women’s median annual earnings are $10,086 less than men’s, according to data from the US Census Bureau.

 

UK versus USA

Whilst gathering significant pace in the USA, the ban on asking applicants for their basic salary information hasn’t reached the shores of the UK. There has been some press attention on this subject in the Independent and one of the UK’s ‘red top‘ publications. Aside from that, I haven’t noticed any serious Ministerial interest in this as part of the Gender Pay Gap; in fact, in the report on Actions to close the gender pay gap, they encourage the complete opposite action by ‘encouraging salary negotiation by showing salary ranges’ owing to a perceived notion that “women are less likely to negotiate their pay”.

From the perspective of a negotiation, both parties should start on an equal footing; if the employer is transparent and states the salary they are offering, how does that empower the applicant to negotiate if the benchmark has already been set?

Recruiting in the UK

If the US legislation starts to gather momentum in the UK and Europe, what would that mean for the recruitment industry?

For Applicants

The prospect of not having to provide your current salary information may improve the negotiating position of the individual – in short, the compensation you negotiate could be based on the skills, experience and your output during the interview process as opposed to being benchmarked by the salary your currently securing with the company you’re planning to leave. In addition, by not having to divulge this information to a recruitment agency, you could choose to discuss remuneration with the client directly at a stage in the process where there is meaningful engagement.

A point raised in an article written by John Feldmann in Forbes raised the question of whether an applicant (and employee) might both be disappointed if they progressed through an entire recruitment process to find out, at the end, that they were completely misaligned about the basic salary on offer (from the employee) and required (by the applicant). In this situation, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for the employer to be transparent about the basic salary on offer as long as they acknowledge that there may be a negotiation (upwards) at the point of offer. This may inform two approaches, employers low-balling salaries from the beginning of the process (which may impact application levels), or they set a realistic ‘upper limit’ that they are prepared to pay that they operate within. My question to any employer would be this – what would the cost to your business by not hiring great people as opposed to trying to keep to rigid salary model? – I understand cost models, however, great people = increased productivity = increased profits (=increased budget for more great hires). 

For Employers

What about those applicants that try to game-the-system and negotiate ridiculously high salary increases? – my counter to this is, if you know the role you’re recruiting for and the skills and experience you require, then the 1st interview stage should screen-out the individuals with limited experience or are unable to articulate their experience in relation to the role. In addition, with all the data available regarding current market salaries, we are all in an informed position anyway. The prospect of not being able to ask for current salary information actually asks the employer to start to be more creative in terms of the recruitment assessment process.

The major concern for employers would be their current salary structure; how would this be impacted if they started to bring in new employees potentially on higher salaries than existing employees in the same grade. Equally, would current employees see this as an opportunity to negotiate improved salaries? – I think this will actually act as a positive catalyst that will bring the subject of compensation to the forefront. How often have you, as an employee, sat in an end of year review waiting for the opportunity to discuss a remuneration and have felt as though it’s a taboo subject or it is completely related to your current performance (and less about the skills you have gained and your future performance).

There is another option – pay all your employees the same basic salary like Dan Price. Completely remove the need for negotiation as the basic salary is transparent and the same for everyone; then surely you would know that applicants are focusing on more than just the money on offer.

For Recruitment Agencies

This will be interesting to observe should this legislation become a reality in the UK. The majority of agency models still leverage off the fact that they are the ‘broker’ between the applicant and the client; by finding and negotiating with the applicant before the CV/application is passed to the client or HR team, the agency provides ‘value’ by having the conversation(s) that the client doesn’t want to or feels will have a negative impact on the introductory conversation with an applicant. Removing the power of the recruitment agency to negotiate with the applicant, removes a critical part of their function.

Whilst UK recruitment agencies continue to develop their solutions and offerings by offering psychometric and skills assessments, increased levels of pre-screening (i.e. video interviews such as RecRight) and employment pre-screening (i.e. Disclosure Scotland); if the agency hasn’t developed these offerings and the prospect of negotiating with the applicant on behalf of the client over salary is removed – does this reduce them to little more than a CV-parsing offering? – would the client not be best positioned to have the conversation instead?

Salary Data Companies 

There are established companies in the UK that charge extortionate amounts in subscriptions or one-off payments to gain access to data they have collated (through scraping other people’s data). What would this mean for their business models – or at least the way they gather their data. How would they pivot in an economy where salary data wasn’t as valuable?

Assessment and Training Companies 

Providing assurance of a potential employees skills, experience, cultural fit and mindset would become more of a critical part of the recruitment process in a world where how much someone earned was used as a benchmark of assurance as to their credibility and suitability. The days of “well, they were paid that much by X so that must mean they are good at their job“.

Talent management companies that can access and provide meaningful data to employers about the current and future potential of potential employees would become the safest way of mitigating against a poor hire. With the confidence in the ability of the potential employee, surely the investment (basic salary) would be more than worthwhile.

 

Moral Compass

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When it comes to any negotiation, trust underpins the process – whether consciously or unconsciously; the feeling that you are agreeing to a deal that is mutually beneficial. That is a purely human emotion and not one an assessment or test can inform…other than a lie-detector test…and I’m not sure we’re quite ready for that to be introduced into a recruitment process yet.

With that in mind, and if the question of basic salary is removed, we default to the question of trust. In this scenario, building trust comes with giving trust, through developing meaningful working and professional relationships. Perhaps the question of basic salary isn’t so much about ‘are you good enough’, perhaps is more about ‘do I / we trust you’. In this situation, I personally always start with a ‘yes’ until you provide me with a reason to think otherwise.

 

 

Sources:

 

 

 

Recruitment Marketing – ‘The Post’

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Digital Sinkhole

LinkedIn is a constant stream of news, opinions, sales material and job adverts; we have no end of information at the touch of a ‘New Posts’ button. You may linger on posts from friends and current or former colleagues, there may be posts that LinkedIn’s (rather inept) algorithm has pushed your way based on previous engagement, however, I’d venture the average user will actually engage with less than 10 posts a day. By ‘engagement’ I mean, click on the link, read the article and / or make a comment. LinkedIn just doesn’t have the same pull-factor as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or even YouTube.

My point is this, if you’re going to get discovered as a Recruitment Agency or Talent Acquisition professional, you have to stand apart from the generic (often lazy) “Great opportunity” and “Contact me to discuss…” posts. A ‘call to action’ post is a perfectly reasonable option, however, if you’re providing zero reason for that individual to engage with your post, it will just disappear down their digital sinkhole.

With this knowledge, and I know it’s a known fact – why do SO many recruiters persist with the same generic posts!?!

And folks, the evidence is there…

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…these posts seem to be typical of the ‘standard’ recruitment post. I’m not 100% sure what the thinking is behind this type of post, however, I’d take a guess that time versus return on investment is a factor. I appreciate, after 12-years of recruitment agency-side, that the feeling of never having enough time is still present in most agency environments. Having said that, a 3-line post, a couple of token hashtags, a ‘smiley’ and a contact number is not going to be enough to encourage the, often talked about, ‘passive candidate’ to rush to their phone to contact you.

Your post(s) need to have some thinking behind them….or at the very least, a basic understanding of your ‘target audience’.

I WANT YOU!

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If you want to attract individuals to your post, I would suggest at least having a template for your post content; to be more specific, I’d suggest answering the following questions:

  • What message are you trying to communicate? (i.e. call to action, brand awareness, engagement)
  • Why would an individual respond to your post? (i.e. action to take – ‘click here’)
  • Where does the link/hyperlink take the individual? (i.e. another website, blog post, event page etc)
  • What image are you using and why?
  • What time will you post? (i.e. check out this helpful post for timings)
  • What hashtags are you using and why? (*research your hashtags)
  • What key information should be detailed? (i.e. location, salary/daily rate, client name, job title)
  • Can you / will you use the company logo? (*do you have permission/consent?)
  • What contact details will you provide? Are these channels right for your audience? (i.e. individual, group mailbox)

: these are some basic questions that will help shape your thinking about the post template; also, once you have a template, it becomes easier to create them and look for relevant content (i.e. images, text).

GO CREATIVE! GO NATIVE! 

As you become more of a digital native, there’s a high probability that you will start to get more creative in your posts; this may lead to actually configuring posts for specific social media channels – how many posts do you see with the image cut-off or where it doesn’t fully fit the image window? – this is not rocket-science to address, there are plenty of SaaS products to help you with this – I use Canva – it’s a great tool for creating channel specific posts and even provides you with templates to get you started.

Another tool in my locker is Adobe Stock – while you build your portfolio of images for your client, you can use Adobe Stock to bridge the gap in the interim; it allows you to licence images on a monthly basis and provides a vast entity of images for all subjects (*this is far better than scouring Google Images for pics and then trying to right-size them into your post).

Another consideration are the hyperlinks you use for you post; you can use the auto-generated one’s that are provided by Twitter for example. Personally, I use Bitly because (once you sign-up for an account), you can customise your hyperlinks. A nice little added touch that sub-consciously reassures the hyperlink is still linked to the post subject.

HEY HO! LET’S GO! 

These are just some basic suggestions from my experience and I have found the results very pleasantly surprising and so have my clients. The next step – just go do it and please share your feedback, ideas, improvements and suggestions.

Getting my doodle on!

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Beginnings

It started with the introduction to Artefact Cards (*kudos and thanks to Matt Ballantine*); a simple, pocket-sized-small canvas upon which I could imprint my many ideas, ‘nothings’ and doodles. As someone who invested a ‘Higher’ and ‘Further’ education in design & creative subjects, to not pursue this career in any form, a return to my first-love has been liberating.

What did I do instead of transforming the world of design you might ask? – you might not give a shit; (*for those that are interested*), I actually became a cleaner…of the local hospital mortuary…not quite the vision I had for myself I must admit.

…back to the subject…

Having a canvas-at-hand transforms the tube / train / bus journey, the 5-10 minutes between meetings, replaces the 3rd or 4th listen of that album you’ve been playing on repeat…it even takes your attention from the allure of Netflix. Drawing is like being extracted from the ‘digital world‘ and transported back to a time more simple and less restrictive.

This might sound nostalgic, Luddite or the whimsical notion of a Gen X’er, however, I would (firmly) argue that the simplicity of drawing embalm you in a calm and simple action that is really fulfilling and without boundaries (i.e. functionality restricted by tiered levels of access at a cost, user-errors and/or the incessant bombardment of adverts). It’s completely free!

Inspiration

For anyone that might have found my graffiti hunter alter-ego @lastnamejesus on Instagram or have noted one of my other blog posts on Blek le Rat or Barcelona’s graff scene, you might already have concluded that I’m a ‘visual person’. I am drawn to graffiti and street art because of the social and political commentary, pop culture and the sheer fact that it is free from restriction in terms of subject matter.

Artists such as minty and Sub Dude (see above) are prolific around the East London / Brick Lane area and I find the combination of humour-infused social commentary both striking and thought-provoking.

Some more inspiration from this week’s graff hunting…

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Another source of recently discovered inspiration is….

I mentioned Matt Ballantine at the top of the post and he get’s a second mention here as he is the co-creator of DrawPod, alongside Natalia Talkowska; a podcast for and about drawing, doodling and being creative. Give it a listen.

Draw Pod

The Day Job

The timing of this renewed joy for doodling has coincided with an increase in the demand on my creativity in the day job; infographics, imagery and logos are all part of a progressive, engaging and well constructed talent strategy. In the process of designing this strategy, I am starting to find that companies (and my clients) have zero assets to use other than stock images and tons of text!

Some of the material I have been presented over the last 5-months could only be likened to a 1980’s school report or a leaflet for funeral services.

Being presented with this opportunity to develop new graphical content and visual assets/logos for clients is fuel for my inspiration. My thought process was centred on trying to represent text in a more visually engaging way and providing functional information in a way that is memorable.

As the average person spends less than 8 seconds scanning a post they actually like and less than 2 seconds on one that doesn’t grab their attention – the challenge is obvious! 

On my current assignment, the creative work has been produced using a number of different sources, however, all of them started with doodles and sketches that have been worked-up into a more a more formal piece of content:

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: my plan is to continue to share the work I produce on a weekly basis across my social media channels…which for the newly acquainted are:

Twitter: @GlennNetworks

Instagram: glennnetworks

LinkedIn: Glenn Martin

: and I’m also sharing photos on a public album on Google called: Drawings, Sketches and Doodles

Why? – you might ask. Well, taken from one of Blek le Rat’s pieces of work and slightly paraphrased

“One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotes”

For me, the pursuit of original ideas is my motivation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The future of your search for a new career?

Robot Wars

Starting your job search through a voice recognition assistant

Talking to a ‘robot’

Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home are currently nestling somewhere between the ‘Innovators’ and ‘Early Adopters’ on the Product Adoption Curve illustrated below; if you have one of these two products you will know the excitement and anticipation that comes with setting-up and then discovering what your ‘assistant’ can do…you may also know what they cannot do (which is also evident at this stage). On balance (once your expectations have been realigned), the voice recognition assistant is a useful addition to the home (in my humble opinion).

Product Adoption Curve

For those of you that view these devices differently, you likely will be part of the ‘Early Majority’ or even ‘Late Majority’; essentially, you want to purchase a tried and tested version 3.0 or 4.0 of the product that has been optimised without any of the frustrations. As was the way with individuals that came late to Twitter, Facebook and even Snapchat, the benefits of these platforms will have been fully realised and utilised by others (*in all these cases, ‘others’ means a growing Global community).

In this context, would you want to be at the back of a Global queue for your next career opportunity?

If the answer is ‘no’ (and I suspect it might be), I would encourage you to start getting ‘socially comfortable’ with speaking to a voice assistant; as with Siri, we still seem to be self-conscious about asking a ‘robot’ to do something for us in front of our family, friends and colleagues (*unless they are tech geeks like us).

Who Made You Robot?

Let the people speak

I am in the process of conducting a survey at present simply entitled ‘How do you look for a new career opportunity?’; early results (as of this morning) still illustrate a traditional approach to the job search. When asked how individuals typically look for a new job and which platforms and tools they use, LinkedIn still comes top with referrals from friends and colleagues following closely behind. Other results show the amount of time dedicated to looking for a new career opportunity on a daily basis; surveyed individuals allocate 30 minutes (53%), followed by 1-hour (20%) and then 2-hours (6%) and then ‘Other’ (21%) to the daily search.

Other interesting data so far illustrates an interest in applying for career opportunities via Facebook and Snapchat whilst WhatsApp is also a channel individuals would like to utilise as part of the application process.

The survey says…

While the survey sample is still small and the survey will be open to more participants until the end of May 2017, the early data indicates the following:

  • Individuals may have a limited amount of time per day to search and apply for new career opportunities
  • LinkedIn is a primary platform
  • Facebook is one of the social platforms that individuals would consider using to search and apply for new career opportunities
  • Individuals would be open to using messaging channels such as WhatsApp and potentially Facebook Messenger
  • Individuals have expressed a potential interest in having a mentor to support them through the job search process
  • A significant percentage would use a chatbot to assist them with applying for opportunities

The future model?

Bringing us back to the opening subject of voice recognition assistants and their integration into the way we will search for new career opportunities; look at the (rather basic) process flow below and tell me if this is something you would or wouldn’t consider; I welcome all constructive and respectful thoughts and opinions.

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Candidate = Individual

Keep Calm

Part 1 — a step in the tech direction

The way it was (and still is)…

The definition of ‘candidate’ is ‘a person who applies for a job or is nominated for election’; given the current political climate, I can’t imagine many of us feeling inclined to nominate ourselves for election. That leaves the former option — applying for a job. When you apply for a new career opportunity you apply as an individual with a set of skills, an abundance of specific knowledge and experience and a personality all of your own.

When your application is received by the client, recruitment agency or other talent management broker, you suddenly transform from being the awesome individual you are and you become a ‘candidate’. With hindsight, this is not a surprising transformation as most advertisements start with ‘the ideal candidate will…’. So the question is, at what point do you transform back into yourself (!?!). I would venture that at the point when the hiring manager expresses an interest in your profile.

My point is this, from your initial application through to hiring manager validation through selection, there is the danger that you are not reviewed through a frame of reference that is personal or offers the opportunity for any interaction. In that sense, you are solely dependent on the classic CV review.

I acknowledge that the counter argument here is that this approach has successfully served the recruitment process for decades; why change it now? — the answer is simple, because we can!

Messaging Channels

With Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter we already have established social media hubs to interact with friends, colleagues and peers, however, these are people we typically know. So what’s the alternative? Some stats…

WhatsApp — Monthly active users: 1.15 billion and with daily messages sent: 60+ billion
Geographical focus: Europe, Latin America, South East Asia, Russia, India, Africa, Middle East

Messenger — Monthly active users: 1.1 billion and with daily messages sent: 60+ billion 
Geographical focus: USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, South East Asia

…how long does it take to type a message? — less than 10–20 seconds?

What can you get from these types of short interactions?

  • Current status and motivations for application; and with this an actual gauge of their level of interest in your opportunity
  • Additional information about their personal circumstances (i.e. planned holidays, plans for relocation if relevant, availability for interview)
  • Other applications they may be pursuing and the reasons for their interest in these other opportunities
  • The opportunity to ask them some initial pre-screening questions in relation to your business/culture or working environment
  • Explore their interests in more details
  • Even a sense of their personality (i.e. humour)
  • Speed of response and a more conversational and personal interaction

The culmination of these answers alongside the original application will start to turn ‘the candidate’ back into an individual again.

Just an idea….