The Problem with a Swiped Candidate

I was recently engaged to help a client source some technical roles when I came across yet another recruitment application that relies on matching technology called iRecruit. Call me cynical if you will, but I personally don’t have a lot of faith in this technology currently because it bases selection on brief individual perspectives and brief job advertisements or descriptions.

However, I was intrigued enough by the description of the app to want to find out more. According to its website, the idea for this application was based around Tinder, although it also says it is not like Tinder. Just the functionality looks like Tinder. As soon as I looked at the opening image, I thought ‘Tinder’. You will too.

shutterstock_268450487So how does it work?

For a job seeker, first and foremost he or she has to set up an account by completing a profile and uploading a picture. There’s no need to include a resume or cover letter. Once registered, the candidate can start viewing and swiping to apply for the jobs in a similar manner as one would when looking for a potential partner on Tinder. In a nod towards candidate experience, iRecruit will let you know if you are in or out as soon as the employer swipes you. But what if you’re not swiped?

As for an employer, the first screen on the app allows you to define your ideal candidate – demographic, skills, experience and even personality. iRecruit’s patented algorithms then delivers the best matches to your screen where you can accept or reject the candidate with a flick of a finger. All the right swipes then pop up in a shortlist where the employer can connect or be introduced to the individual, at the cost of an introduction fee of course. Swipe left and an automated response will be sent to the candidate informing him or her that their application has not been successful.

Sounds straightforward and simple enough – download the app, fill in the details, swipe and tadaa! You will have a whole database of candidates to choose from. Plus, it’s free for job seekers so what more can one ask for. However, I do see some issues with this technology:

Employer Bias

One of my biggest concerns here would be employers discriminating based on appearance, and potentially seeing a ranked score and relying solely on that to proceed. Will they rely too much on a ranking system and be biased by profile images causing them to become lazy and not consider the poorly ranked person, or the 80s profile picture with big hair and awkward smile. Sometimes you have to speak to the wrong people to find the right person.

One the biggest concerns with swiping technology is employers discriminating based on appearance Click To Tweet

Now, if others could provide feedback, it may provide a more holistic picture of the individual. Perhaps social profile analytics could also be included to further refine the candidate profile. Small steps.

Skill & Experience vs. Competency & Capability

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You’ll create a profile; there are no resumes. ‘Danger Will Robinson, danger!’. Somehow the iRecruit matching technology is going to match a profile to a job. This also is an issue with current recruitment systems where keywords are used to match/rank candidates. As employers move towards competency and capability frameworks, and candidates continue to use skill and experience in their resumes, never shall the two meet.

Besides, isn’t a profile just another word for a resume? Or are we saying a profile is a summary of a resume and therefore a summary is a better way to match people to jobs? That would be worrying.

Legal Implications

iRecruit requires the employer to define their ideal candidate by entering a range of demographics – that means age…gender…um…hello can of worms. Employee/Industrial Relations, Fairwork Ombudsman here we come.

First time I have seen this in a vacancy form and that’s not very reassuring.

Lack of Personalisation
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What I can’t see is the pre-application content engagement. The ability to personalise contact when and where required. I do it often. I appreciate most don’t. If you are swiping candidates, it would not appear to have this capability.

Recruitment matching technology can become a fantastic tool to help deliver jobs to the best matched job seeker, but I believe it still has some way to go. eHarmony claims to have the best people matching technology going around and they’ve been around for a long time. As a former user, I never met my match, nor was I impressed with the match results. Maybe the personality profile I completed stated I was a mass murderer OR my profile picture reminded people of a baboons behind, or perhaps my honest profile was just not salivating enough.

My point being, matching technology based on an individual’s perspective is flawed and until this can be resolved, applications like iRecruit are always going to be faced with the aforementioned questions.

I do like the look of the technology, though, it has what looks to be a mobile first, sexy looking UI. I Applaud what they are trying to achieve in a saturated market and look forward to seeing their journey.

It is also great to see an Australian company doing something different.

Note, don’t get confused with iRecruit People Solutions, it is iRecruit Australia.

Images: Shutterstock


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