I am very much enjoying reading Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers. ‘What we should know about people we don’t know’ is a daily conundrum for recruiters and, says Gladwell, “our strategies for dealing with strangers are deeply flawed but they are socially necessary.”
Why? Because “We need the criminal justice system and the hiring process and the selection of babysitters to be human. But the requirement of humanity means that we have to tolerate an enormous amount of error. That is the paradox of talking to strangers. We need to talk to them. But we're terrible at it.”
Interacting with strangers is a daily issue for us as recruiters. We talk to candidates and want to believe that we are making decisions based on... What? Our ability to ‘judge’ will always be flawed. We are humans. What we can do is be aware of our biases and be clear about what we're looking for and why when we’re talking to strangers.
When people are strangers to us
In an interview with The Economist, Malcom Gladwell argues that the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don't know are flawed, and we therefore invite conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. This is especially relevant to us as recruiters because we have the potential to have huge impact on our candidates’ lives when we determine whether they’re the right fit for the role.
Plus, the number of encounters we have with people we don’t know is multiplying. Interacting with people from wider networks through online and remote channels draws us into more situations with people we don’t know. When we first interact with a candidate, we might know one dimension of them (their skills or experience) but we have a limited understanding of them as a person, their perspective, background or culture. This is because the information we begin with (usually the resume) is limiting our understanding.
Resumes miss the point
I believe that resumes miss the point. As recruiters, we want to hire successful humans. And, we never offer jobs to people we’ve never met. Therefore, it’s time to stop looking at resumes and start looking at people in a multidimensional way. We are more than our resumes!
Technology is providing us with new and innovative ways to get to know strangers – at scale and through their own lens.
After nearly 20 years of ‘talking to strangers’ as a recruiter, there’s not much I haven’t seen. But what I felt was missing was a truly efficient and human-friendly process which is why I founded Intro30. Intro30 is a recruitment platform that allows candidates to introduce themselves with a 30 second video and share that professional profile with a URL or QR code. Why do I love video?
89% of employers say they would watch a video resume if it was submitted to them.
Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it compared to 10% when reading it.
85% of the US internet audience watches videos online.
Video has the potential to offer so much more of a person than a resume – but of course, nothing is perfect or vaguely close. When Gladwell was asked about technology to make decisions about people, he said: “You can’t throw out the [human] judge, but don’t close the door to tools that help you make a good decision. We just need to be thoughtful about how to integrate the wisdom of tech with human processes.”
As a subscriber to Intro30 you can meet a hundred candidates in a day from the comfort of your computer screen. Would you review 100 resumes in a day to a consistent standard for each candidate? Tech isn’t replacing the human but it’s helping us to make fair, human, decisions at scale.
To find out more about how we believe a 30 second video adds value to the recruitment process, watch our short video here.