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Xivort Thinking About Trovix

(October 02, 2007) It's easy to be cynical about new entrants to our industry. Predicting failure (or lackluster performance) is easy. That's what most new businesses do.

Great ideas with bad understanding of the market coupled with unimaginably small marketing budgets and ideas is normal for our marketplace. Of the 50,000 vendors aiming for the fabled HR Decision maker, less than 1% have adequately budgeted for their own success. For the most part, entrepreneurs in our space act as if you're the dummy when you don't see their brilliance.

Evangelizing a new approach, displacing an incumbent in a budget and ramping a sales effort all require investment, patience, an adequate sense of the market and the ability to endure some lean initial returns. Sales has a J-curve (a friend of mine calls that the "network effect, I'm not so sure). Sales lift happens as the result of sales. The initial efforts will be slow and tedious. Results take time to manifest themselves.

That's why it's so easy to forecast failure. Building a revenue stream (or a candidate pool for that matter) requires the opposite of the energy that brings you to the question. New ideas and new requirements have a deep need for urgency. Building equity is a question of patience.

You're probably muttering to yourself, "Yeah, yeah. So what does that have to do with Trovix. It seems like you're winding up for a predictable lambaste."

After a somewhat predictable response to the new release from Trovix, I began to indulge in an alternate view. What if the product lived up to the hype? What if this was a case where there actually was revolution in the air.

The folks at Trovix maintain that if a job seeker submits a resume, they will be able to architect the perfect search query to run against their jobs database. Their technology (which I've seen and believe in) generates inferences based on huge volumes of data. Rather than executing simple key word search strings, their technology interprets data based on the data it has already seen. It's a sort of google on steroids.

(Without being too tutorial, Trovix uses web efficiencies to generate something like the "structured lexicons" that powered some of the earliest Resume databases and Applicant Tracking Systems. This approach allows the query writer to see results that a keyword query simply can not find. In a very real sense, by structuring the relationships and semantics, this approach reads resumes rather than indexing key words. In the old days, these structured lexicons had to be developed by people and were really expensive. No one ever doubted that they represented a better path, they were simply too expensive to execute.)

Here's where the revolution is. If you can use a resume to generate the search query for a job, and, I'm sure, the job description to find a resume, why not do the opposite (hence the title of this piece). It ought to be a no-brainer to have the Trovix tool set use a resume to find similar resumes.

Much of the fussing about job descriptions (which everyone readily admits never reflect the job), competencies (which always feel like a list of things to feel guilty about), and, assessment (which almost everyone agrees is a form of voodoo) comes from one important fact. In today's workplace, it's really hard to tell what someone does for a living. You can get a general idea but the reality involves relationships in a network revolving around particular situations and technologies.

All jobs are pretty unique (well, except for call centers, manufacturing and retail). The resume of the last person to hold the job is every bit as useful in describing the job as any of the other alternatives. I bet that a Trovix search of a resume database (using the resume of the incumbent) would produce lots of novel job candidates. I bet that they'd be better fits.

So, there it is. Everyone knows that keyword searching is the culprit. Everyone knows that job descriptions are inadequate. What if, rather than being the problem, the resume is the solution?

That's the question that Trovix asks our industry.

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