An algorithm deciding which programmer to interview? Permission to ignore resumes?
It had to happen sooner or later. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) were the first major application of technology to the decision about whom to interview. Now there is a new kid on the Siliconblock in Gild.com. .
A good article in the NY Times ties the paradigm of applying technology to applicant selection to Big Data and the emerging field of work-science. Already top companies are testing and using Gild's software: Facebook, Wal-Mart, Twitter and others.
The thesis is this: Traditional hiring of programmers for coveted employer brands such as Google and Apple has depended on credentials such as a degree from MIT or Stanford, work experience at another premier company, etc. Glid.com believes that talented programmers who may be as good or better are being overlooked because they don't have a degree from a top tech school or a prestige background. They have developed a technology to address this problem.
How do they identify promising candidates then? By applying Big Data analytics to recruitment and using ~300 variables to predict a valuable hire. Instead of looking at three or four factors, they weigh more heavily the actual programming work someone's done.
The NY Times describes the broader criteria this way: "The types of language, positive or negative, that he or she uses to describe technology of various kinds; self-reported skills on LinkedIn; the projects a person has worked on, and for how long; and, yes, where he or she went to school, in what major..."
Executives at Gild.com in an interview with NPR said that they have ambitions to apply similar technology to fields in which work is harder to quantify: teaching, community organizing etc.
Gild's vision aligns well with the paradigm shift going on in HR (human resources) towards metrics-based decision making about recruitment and new hire evaluation. HR increasingly is needing to justify its existence in terms of providing quanitifiable value to the business.
Takeaways for programmers and job seekers in general? If this early-stage tech company is a harbinger of things to come, jumpstart your online footprint now! Leverage Linkedin to the max, including work products (once you get the media feature), put up a personal website to provide even more examples of your work and its impacts, start now to build thought leadership on Twitter, and blog. In other words, be everywhere and anywhere recruiters might be looking.
It's hard for me to say this more strongly: If you're not branded online - with breadth and depth, you will not be ready for the hiring environment of the future. With the tremendous communication potential of the Internet, you have the potential to beat out other applicants with much more impressive credentials. Who doesn't want to be able to do that?
What are your thoughts on this trend? I'd love to hear.