Hiring App's Secret Sauce: Social Media Bragging

Unrabble candidate screening system asks applicants to deconstruct their resumes into achievements, backed up by social media references.

David Carr

October 27, 2011

3 Min Read
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8 HR Collaboration Platforms In Action

8 HR Collaboration Platforms In Action

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Steve Smith likes hiring people who brag--provided they can back up whatever it is they're bragging about.

As the U.S. COO of the document management company Esker, Smith has started screening job candidates using Unrabble, a Web service that asks applicants to deconstruct their resume into achievements, backed up by social media references. When an applicant puts in one of these "brags," saying they increased sales 1,000% or patented a perpetual energy machine, they also provide an introduction to a LinkedIn or Facebook connection who will vouch for that claim.

While not everyone provides those social media references, "definitely the better ones seem to," Smith said in an interview. "When they put in those 'brags,' that's great--instead of me finding the references, they're right there."

The brags are just one aspect of the Unrabble system, which CEO and co-founder Kevin Watson said was created to revolutionize the recruiting process. Previously chairman and CEO of the identity management firm Verid, which he sold to EMC in 2007, Watson said he experienced the pain of recruiting as a fast-growing firm that "threw money at the problem" of sorting through stacks of resumes because company leaders didn't have time for that. "We later realized that over the last two years of the business, we'd spent like a half a million on recruiters," he said.

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One reason for the inefficiency of the process is the lack of a standard format for resumes, plus their tendency to "be filled with ... let's call them exaggerations," Watson said. From the job seeker's point of view, putting in an application over Unrabble is not dissimilar from creating a LinkedIn profile, and it can import LinkedIn data, where available, he said.

"Then, for each of those bullet points on a resume, we give you the opportunity to go out to your social network, your peers, and find people to verify those facts for you," Watson said. Uninterested in the debate about the professional networking virtues of LinkedIn versus Facebook, Unrabble links to both, and others as well.

Further, Unrabble applies analytics to the applicant data, making it easier for employers to see which ones most closely match the skills they are seeking.

Esker's Smith said he also values the way the system prompts applicants to rank their strengths against criteria he has set out. Since they don't know which criteria are most important to him--and the system won't let them give themselves top ranks in everything--Smith thinks he gets a pretty honest self-assessment of how good a match they are. "My number one thing may be their number 10 strength," he said.

In one case, where he was advertising for a new Latin American sales representative, the company got 120 applications, and Unrabble allowed him to quickly whittle the list down to the most promising 10 candidates. Collaboration features built into the tool allowed him to share his thoughts on the candidates with his boss at company headquarters in Lyon, France.

"He could see what I liked about the candidates and add his comments. Maybe he gave some of them a slightly better ranking, and maybe he saw things I didn't see," Smith said. Bottom line: a faster, better hiring decision.

Unrabble offers a 30-day trial, with pricing starting at $29. The $49 per month Pro version supports 10 open positions, monitoring of 20 job posting links, and 10 users who can collaborate on reviewing applications.

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About the Author(s)

David Carr

Editor, InformationWeek Healthcare and InformationWeek Government (columnist on social business)

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