“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
So much of our lives have been impacted by the rapid advancement and proliferation of Information Technology (IT). In fact, nearly everything in our day, at some point touches a digital network and is bounced off another. Everything from the traffic signal at roads intersections to our Netflix choice is nearly automated and integrated into a greater network. However, there is one element of our lives that remains untouched or somehow impervious to the digital age even thought it may be one of the most important items for nearly everyone.
The resume has not changed much in the hundreds years it has been used. Originally referred to as a letter of introduction, it had the individual’s name, the individual’s skills, some references, and how the individual could be contacted. Even Leonardo da Vinci used one over 500 years ago. We may type it now, but it was analog then and it is still analog today.
Analog vs Digital. What is the difference between analog and digital? The effect of distortion, noise, and interference is much less in digital signals as they are less affected. Comparatively, Analog is all noise and Digital is all signal. If you are trying to get a job would you rather transmit noise or signal?
All job boards, recruiting sites, and HR departments use a Boolean/key word search methodology on every resume. This produces random word matches that are converted to some relative score but without context. There is a large and important difference between how AECOM, one of the world largest infrastructure constructions firms in the world, and Microsoft uses the word engineer. One builds cities and the other builds software. What happens with a word search is an analog methodology is used on an analog item. Analog on top of analog compounds the error rate giving a very slim chance of transmitting your skills sets to today’s recruiters as they skim your resumes for an average of 7.4 seconds. And this is only part of the problem. You have a static/dead paper or dead-on-screen analog document in front of a human eye ball for only a few seconds. Exactly the way it was done 500 years ago. Hardly what should be happening in the 21st century.
This begs two questions: Why is it still done this way; and how can we change it?
The first is much harder to answer than the second. In large part we all still use resumes because they are the “coin of the realm” — the currency of jobs today. Simply put, until there is a tool capable of understanding more than just key words, we are stuck with resumes because so much of the world recognizes them as the only acceptable method for transferring the required information. Currently nearly every company asks for a resume that gets fed into an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) designed to assist in the recruitment and hiring process. However, based on those key word searches and some relative scoring method, 75% of applicants get rejected. Yet an average of nearly 80% of the resumes that make it through an ATS are on the wrong job. Why? Because analog key words can only do so much.
Which brings up the second half of the question, why hasn’t someone built a an automated system that can disrupt the current system and break the chains of the resume — especially with the explosive advancements in machine learning and natural language processing? It is much harder that it sounds. Just think of all the various skills on all the resume in the global market. Then imagine all the multiple variations of how those skills are stated, all the ways those statements/bullets can be combined, and then recombined. Whatever that number is, it is huge and grows by the second.
So while the answer to the first question, why is it still done this way?, may be complex. Legacy thinking, surface tension, inertia explains a lot of the why. The answer to the second half of the question, how can we change it?, has finally been answered. Oplign, LLC, a labor analytics and data science startup, has built a solution that works both sides of the employment issue. For Job seekers Oplign can immediately show an individual all the jobs they are fully qualified for, what skills they are missing for other jobs in less than a 90 second interaction. For enterprises looking to close all their open demand as well as optimize their existing workforce, Oplign aggregates and syndicates all their labor supply (internal and external) in a way that allows the leadership to make data-supported labor decisions.
Oplign makes it easier for both sides of the employment equation by reducing all the existing noise and friction in the system. Individuals will never again have to write, rewrite, tailor, or update their resume. The profile that is built after a few minutes of interacting with the Oplign will find jobs the individual is qualified for. It will search the global labor market, to include position and companies the individual may not know existed. For enterprises, Oplign understands every skill requirement, no matter how discrete, and searches every Oplign profile for a match(es). It presents those matches in a variety of ways depending on how the user would like to see it.
About the Author — Brian was in the U.S. Army Special Operations for over 20 years. Since retirement he has worked for Fortune 500 companies as an operations executive and been a successful entrepreneur. This unique and broad range of experience has lead him to fully appreciate and understand an endemic problem in the labor market and ultimately his decision to help solve that problem. As one of the founding partners of Oplign, LLC, he will change forever how people and companies interact in the global labor market.