To what extent does a CV reflect someone’s appropriateness for a job? How much does it cost recruiters to read and select candidates from piles of CVs? How much effort and cost goes into developing the optimal resume?
This year in China, 33,000 graduates applied for 70 places on the French cosmetics company L’Oreal’s graduate recruitment scheme. Rather than submitting their CV, they were asked to answer three simple questions via their smartphones. Then, a Shanghai-based startup called Seedlink used predictive language analytics to match right candidates with L’Oreal’s recruitment criteria. Seedlink’s RCXUE product asked open ended questions such as “”If you had one month and a £4,000 budget to tackle any project your heart desired, what would you do?” The software then analysed the language used in the answers, and compared each candidate’s response to draw up a shortlist.
Prior to using this approach L’Oreal filtered candidates by selecting only from China’s top universities. However, L’Oreal is joining a growing band of top firms who are questioning the value of high academic achievement.
Google, for example, recognise that good grades are useful, but not a good indicator of future performance. According to Laszlo Bock, ‘head of hiring’ at Google, quoted in the NYT – “For every job the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability …. the ability to process on the fly and to pull together disparate bits of information… The second is leadership — i.e. when faced with a problem do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead… Another is humility and ownership… Research shows that many graduates from hotshot business schools plateau. “Successful bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don’t learn how to learn from that failure.”
The implications of the use of language analytics in assessment are immense. For example, ATC21s, the 21st Century Skills assessment project at Melbourne used language analysis technology to analyse how well students were performing at collaborative tasks. As the technology and its implementation improves the idea of testing students in written examinations so they can pack their CVs with good grades is becoming rapidly dated.