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(October 04, 2007) It's a myth that flailing around is the only way to recruit without discriminating. The idea that one should find a replacement who is as good or better than the departing incumbent is a legitimate and powerful business objective. Large risk averse organizations are not role models for competent recruiting.
When the American Government decided that it needed to use matching and sorting tools, they didn't come to our industry for help. Instead, they went to Vegas for software that combined facial recognition with social network information. Casino security systems are the backbone of much of the anti-terrorist toolkit. Employment matching schemes are barely usable.
The idea that a resume could be used "whole cloth" as a search query by an intelligent search tool (yesterday's column) sparked a negative response from Romuald. He believes (from sitting in on meetings with lawyers) that the EEOC would take a dim view of a search query built from a resume. He thinks that subtle language in the resume (and therefore, the query) would constitute discrimination on the face of it. He offers no case law (our attorney says hiring process lawsuits only happen very, very rarely) but assures his readers that the practice would be illegal (that's the trouble with blogs).
While the view is part of a troubling shift in recruiting (from offense to defense), the larger question about nuance in the resume bears some consideration. Trovix, we think, is entering our market with a level of search technology that is qualitatively different from the rest of the pack. Figuring out how to integrate that new level of expectation is the real issue.
Big things are happening in search.
Conceptual search (other than key words) is making a broad comeback. While the Google approach has dominated the landscape for a long time, scale in computational power and data is finally making a difference. Yahoo recently announced that they will added conceptual answers to search queries. In other words, they will have a "we think you want this" section at the top of search results.
Yahoo rightly notes:
Although it's hard to imagine from here, the days of keyword searching are numbered. It's a transitional and primitive phase. Current SEO/SEM approaches (which make gaming the system part of your employment brand, if you use the techniques) won't get much traction in a world where the search engine's job is to help the user. "Gaming the system" will just be one of the concepts that pops up.
Check your assumptions. The Trovix offerings is a watershed moment in our business. Search, as a tool, will be producing ever better results. Get ready to manage your lawyers.
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