Sifting through hundreds or even thousands of applications for one job opening is perhaps the most time-consuming task recruiters face in their day-to-day work. This process is seen as a promising target for automation, particularly in hiring for technical roles where a candidate’s mastery of specific skills can be more important than their credentials and experience. Accordingly, many new platforms have sprung up, offering gamified assessments that test candidates’ skills and AI-powered software whose creators say it can make more objective and less biased hiring decisions than human recruiters.
The emergence of these platforms could reshape recruiting significantly by bringing a new level of transparency and objectivity to the process, Ryan Craig, Managing Director of University Ventures, writes at TechCrunch. Craig sees these intermediaries, which he compares to the talent agencies that decide who gets to work where in Hollywood, as the builders of what he calls “online competency marketplaces”:
Competency marketplaces will help candidates understand the jobs and careers they’re most likely to match, and help employers identify candidates who are on track (or on a trajectory to match in the future) and manage long talent funnels in an automated way.
What will a competency marketplace look like?
If you’re a job-seeker, think of your LinkedIn profile shifting from a recitation of your education and experience to a long list of competencies and levels. While this list may be unintelligible to you, it won’t be unintelligible to the algorithms sitting atop the applicant tracking systems and HR information systems that employers will use to engage in competency-based hiring and predictive hiring.
Craig highlights a number of companies that are making this vision of the future into reality by offering such services in various industries. EquitySim, for example, is a trading simulation game that helps companies in the financial sector find the right talent, while Strive Talent is doing the same for sales and Avenica is doing it for insurance and healthcare. Scouted will actually conduct first-round interviews and then recommend candidates for jobs in business operations, marketing, and other roles based on problem-solving ability and resume. Scouted bills itself as a “common app for jobs,” in reference to the Common Application used by hundreds of universities for undergraduate admissions.
Notably, these startups have been targeting roles that large organizations have a lot of trouble filling and in which they experience high levels of turnover, often as a result of hiring candidates who turn out to be bad fits. Typically, larger companies try to combat high application volume by adding more stringent job requirements, such as additional years of required experience or more advanced degrees. This practice, however, leads to a larger-than-usual number of jobs going unfilled and creates artificial barriers to entry for applicants. Third-party credentials based on standard assessments, already commonplace in some fields (think CFA, CPA, PMP, SHRM-SCP, etc.), may help these organizations more easily identify candidates with the skills they are looking for, making the hiring process that much easier for both employer and employee.