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#HRTechChat Preview: Are You My Employer?

As a young boy just beginning to read, #HRTechChat Co-host Brent Skinner had a favorite book, one that had been around for over a decade. “Are You My Mother?” features a young hatchling of a bird of an undisclosed species traipsing about an unfamiliar, increasingly manmade and worrisome landscape as he looks for his mother. Dr. Seuss might have spun the tale. He didn’t, but P. D. Eastman—a protégé of Seuss, according to Wikipedia—did. And the story, if written today, might have served as a loose, loose allegory for the bewildered, displaced jobseeker’s experience. She’s just trying to figure out what’s what amidst the chaos of untamed, clunky old technology designed to source, categorize, sift, screen and otherwise delineate and judge her—with little ability to make her feel in any way special during the process. New counterpoints designed to combat her plight (and the hiring organization's) constitute the focus of #HRTechChat Episode Twenty-Two, which takes places this Friday at 2pm ET / 11am PT.
Word to the Mother
Back to the poor little bird—a mother bird makes the mistake of leaving her egg untended as she leaves in search of food, thinking that she'll return before her soon-to-be newborn hatches. But he hatches while she’s away and promptly leaves the nest, in search of her. He first asks a few animals whether or not they might be his mother. Each responds with a no, some with apathy, and none with discernible empathy. Wandering along, the baby bird then asks an old, rusting, abandoned car and receives no response. Panicking, the little bird yells the question to a plane and boat, to no avail.
Finally, he happens upon a piece of heavy-duty earth-moving equipment. The machine, in motion, is spewing black diesel exhaust. Terrified, the bird can’t imagine that this power shovel could possibly be his mother and, in fact, tells it, “You are not my mother! You are a SNORT!”
Remember: He’s a newborn infant. He has no reference point. He’s scared and lost; he just wants to make his way to safety, and his environs are not helping. That isn’t really the manmade environment’s fault, but it is what it is. …
Word to the Employer
Defying all apparent logic, the power shovel returns the frightened baby bird to the nest, reconciling him with his mother, who returns shortly thereafter. And the two live happily ever after, as all humans and animals do following the conclusions of fantasies and other fictional children’s stories. And, looked at one way, the allegory makes sense, albeit with plenty of holes, but looked at in another way it again makes sense—if still with a few holes.
For instance, the jobseeker here could be the baby bird, and if it is, will the confused, lost jobseekers who might become your employees not encounter the power shovel and, instead, never get hired by anyone? Or, will a power shovel of a technology scoop them up to live happily ever after elsewhere, with some other employer? That’s one way to look at this.
The other way is to say the little bird symbolizes the employing organization, and each animal or contraption represents a technology of varying usefulness in helping the bird—excuse us, the hiring authority—find a good-fit, future employee, here represented by the mother. That most of the technology isn't that good at doing so is no one person's fault, and you can’t really scold the tech; an inanimate object, it didn’t know any better, when it was new.
The Mother of All Power Shifts
A staid organization might balk at the idea of an employee being its mother, and yes, the dynamic is mixed, but think about it: Doesn’t an organization derive much of its sustenance from its employees. Wouldn’t an organization have trouble carrying on without its employees carrying it on their backs? That’s what we mean.
Well-documented are the shortcomings of old-think applicant tracking systems (ATS), whose very entrenchment often impedes organizations that might otherwise want to adopt and implement newer, better technologies. But these systems are nevertheless yielding ground to improved ways of doing things. It’s the mother of all power shifts: referral engines, point-of-contact engines, sourcing engines, mobile-based application engines—some of them seem to embrace the notion of being an engine, and it’s fun to append the word to the rest of them. For tidbits of info into just what these engines are, watch our tweets in the #HRTechChat stream during the course of today through chat time. Technology may yet transform the jobseeker’s experience into one worth experiencing.
#HRTechChat Episode Twenty-Two: Join Us on Friday 6/22 @ 2pm ET / 11am PT
Both the joys and frustrations of motherhood are among the greatest in life, we hear. This week, the joys and frustrations of technology-enhanced recruiterhood and jobseekerhood provide the backdrop for #HRTechChat. We’ve again tweaked with the schedule, and the old timers around here will recognize 2pm ET / 11am PT as our original time slot, now our new time slot. Following are the questions that TMT (@talentmgmttech) will tweet, which Brent Skinner, contributor to HRO Today, and his co-hosts at-large Sean Charles and Meghan M. Biro will retweet. They look forward to your tweets and insight, too:

  • Q1: Aside from being frustrating to #jobseekers, what are the biggest shortcomings of the old-think #ATS? #HRTechChat
  • Q2: When pre-hire do orgs have the best chance to connect with #jobseekers. How can #hrtech help? #HRTechChat
  • Q3: Please share examples of new #hrtech possibilities you’ve seen improving candidate experience realities. #HRTechChat
  • Q4: You’ve heard this question before, right here on #HRTechChat: Are we moving beyond the ATS? If so, what’s next?
  • Q5: Is #hrtech shifting the power balance between jobseeker & employee, even in a down economy? How? #HRTechChat
  • BONUS CONVO: If A5 is yes, why is new #hrtech changing who, employer or jobseeker, makes first contact? #HRTechChat