As part of our Future of Work report, PSFK reached out to experts to get their take on the changes we’ve identified that are currently going on in the workplace. We recently caught up with Todd Silverstein, Co-Founder of Vizify, and chatted with him about how social is changing hiring and workplace collaboration. His project creates visual representations of your resume, past work and areas of interest that you are involved in. Read our chat with Todd below to hear more about how Vizify is bringing meta-data out from behind the scenes.
What experiences helped you shape the Vizify product?
We performed some simple experiments at the beginning of the product concepting phase that informed the final ouput. Basically, we created a bunch of fake resumes, some were highly visual and others were constructed in a more traditional text-based format. Once complete, we set off to get ourselves some jobs. The process led to a couple of interesting findings. First, we discovered that hiring has unfortunately become algorithmic. There are many organizations that use a computer-based filtering system that looks for specific keywords in resumes before advancing them to the next level of evaluation, obviously benefiting specific resumes. The next thing we learned from our research was that the state of the economy has had a direct impact on how companies filter resumes. A poor economic environment and high levels of unemployment naturally lead to a greater number of resumes circulating in the marketplace. This, coupled with the ease with which prospective workers can identify and apply for job opportunities has forced companies to take a different approach to filtering candidates. Hiring managers are spending far less time looking at individual candidates. We heard from numerous people that the average hiring manager only spends six seconds looking at each resume before making a decision about whether or not to progress it to the next step. And, we saw data in the marketplace that supports this. Once hiring managers make their way through the ‘noise’ created by a massive number of resumes, they are on the hunt for ‘signal.’ Signal is more than just relevant experience. It is whether or not an individual is a fit for an organization. We kept hearing stories about the lengths that hiring managers were going to in order to get a feel for candidates and their personalities. Vizify is primarily focused on this second area. Specifically, how do we paint a holistic picture of a person and allow those hiring to understand whether or not a person will be a cultural fit for an organization? And for those that don’t have a portfolio of work or a visual resume, how do they paint an accurate picture of who they truly are?
Is who you know as important as what you know?
‘Who you know’ is definitely important. Companies like BranchOut and LinkedIn are powerful players in the social recruiting space. That said, we still see opportunities to push boundaries and make it easier to not only find people, but to find ‘likeminded’ people. ‘What you know’ is something that has traditionally been harder to articulate within a resume and is an area that Vizify helps to address. For example, perhaps someone mentions on their resume that they are interested in boating. This may be something of importance to a hiring manager. But, how does that hiring manager really size up a candidate’s level of interest or expertise. We feel that there is evidence that can substantiate both interest and expertise within social media. If a candidate is in fact interested in boating, they are probably talking about it on social media and participating in communities made up of likeminded people. These types of things help to paint a more holistic picture of a candidate and help hiring managers assess cultural fit.
How does this benefit people that aren’t super-users of social media or can’t talk about projects?
Those that aren’t very active on social media still leave a digital footprint. It may simply be more faint. Vizify creates visualizations of all types (timelines, heatgraphs, pictures, etc.) that can pull all different types of data to paint a picture about a person. By simply capturing and reorganizing the presentation of personal data, you can very effectively demonstrate things about a person. And, we feel that the way that Vizify does storytelling around the data allows people to showcase the things that make them interesting and demonstrate their bona fides without having to awkwardly toot their own horn. As for projects that candidates can’t talk about, there are small ways we can help to validate a candidate’s role or participation in a project. We are using public data, but if a candidate is working on a particular project, perhaps a hiring manager will see that captured meta data shows an uptick in interest around a specific topic during a specific time that correlates to the stated project.
Social data is changing how hiring takes place, but how do you see it affecting social workflows?
I definitely see a change in the way that social has changed workflows within the walls of Vizify. We work as a core team with contractors that come in and out of the organization. Social allows us to identify these people and communicate with them easily. This allows us to be a lightweight, nimble organization. Tools like Skype, Google Hangouts, DropBox, etc. all continue the push towards greater ease of use and are simultaneously more powerful. These tools have made us more mobile and more organized and we now organize around projects, rather than a traditional organizational structure.
Thanks Todd! Stay tuned for the next Future of Work sneak peek as we reveal highlights from the full report throughout the month. Catch all the trends, futuristic concepts and expert interviews that you’ve missed here or buy the entire report. Join the conversation and share your ideas about the future of work with the #FoW hashtag on Twitter.