Boston startup Nexthire isn’t your typical recruiter.
Rather than relying solely on résumés and interviews, NextHire works as a “digital hirer,” harvesting information from places like social media, published articles, even games you play online, to create digital profiles—warts and all—of job candidates for potential employers.
Plenty of NextHire’s first clients were startups, said Bob Myhal, CEO of Nexthire. Myhal is former president and chief marketing officer of Apollo Fitness, a packaged goods companythat he grew from a startup to more than $40 million in annual revenue in 12 years.
The SpareFoot Blog asked Myhal to share his insight into hiring practices at startups, and how the growing trend of digital hiring is changing the playing field when it comes to landing a job.
Why are digital hiring methods so appealing to startups?
The speed of a startup business is like nothing else. In a startup environment, we get done in two weeks what it takes the corporate world two or three months to accomplish.
We just hired a CEO for a mobile app startup. Traditionally, they would have had to go through a recruiter, which would have charged them 25 percent to 30 percent of the first year’s salary. And it would have probably taken anywhere from three to six months. Our process went from start to finish in five weeks, and it cost them $4,000. At the end of the process, they had four outstanding candidates.
You predict that the traditional résumé soon will be obsolete. What will replace it?
Within two or three years, the résumé as we know it will no longer exist. What will take its place is living, breathing profiles of candidates. LinkedIn is the best and most popular example of that, but it’s really beyond just LinkedIn.
There’s been a tremendous explosion in the variety of technologies available to help with the hiring process. These include everything from webcam-based interviewing to big data analysis, social media and digitized assessments.
So, where does this “living, breathing profile” come from, and what do you mean by big data?
All of us are leaving traces of ourselves in digital form. That could be our Facebook page. It could be a bit of code I wrote for a company, articles I’ve done, interviews I’ve given or online assessments. There’s a huge trend toward using gaming as a way to measure skills and aptitudes. All of these traces of what you do online go into compiling big data.
Who is compiling information for digital profiles?
There are lots of technologies out there being built to gather candidate profile information from a variety of sources. Most of them are early in their development. In the tech realm, there’s a company called connect6° that’s doing a lot in printing profiles for technical applicants. They’re pulling information across a huge swathe of the Internet, social media, places where tech people hang out on the boards, and they’re compiling vast profiles based on this evidence.
What can job candidates do to make their digital profiles attractive to employers?
The biggest mistake that job seekers make is not having consistency across their entire digital profile. Your résumé should be consistent with the LinkedIn profile, and that should be consistent with your Facebook profile, and that should be consistent with the type of discussion boards you participate in. When there are huge inconsistencies, that’s a red flag.
Startups are known for a more casual culture than the corporate world. How does this affect the hiring process?
There is that culture of creativity, that casual culture, but there is a movement in the business not toward rigidity but toward definition and refining the processes. I think in the area of hiring, you don’t want to be too casual, and you don’t want to just go with gut feelings because the consequences are so severe.
Virtually every hire at a startup is a key hire and will have a significant impact on the future of the company. I’ve literally seen startups fail because of one or two bad hires.
How will digital hiring affect older job seekers or those who might resist fine-tuning their digital profiles?
They will be left out if they don’t adapt. I’ll use the one-way interview as an example. Older applicants are less likely to want to participate in those webcam videos. That sends the signal that you’re set in your ways and not willing to try something new.
Even in startups, which are primarily driven by younger people, there is a need for expertise and for the type of gravitas that only comes with experience. Companies are looking for people, regardless of their age, who can adapt and continue to learn new things, new technologies.