In today's world of work, candidate reputation is becoming an increasingly important factor in hiring decisions. While the resume used to reign supreme, employers can now rely on data for a more holistic view of a candidate's experience. In fact, 50 percent of talent professionals and hiring managers say data is the top trend impacting how they hire, according to recent research from LinkedIn. Data effectively gives hiring managers a 3D view of an applicant's background as well as insight into their personality, helping them predict hiring outcomes, increase retention, evaluate skills gaps and build better offers.
A candidate's past performance and experiences, learning and development pursuits and current network all come together to build a virtual reputation that provides hiring managers with a spectrum of new information. "You get a much more holistic view of that person and how they are succeeding," says Dani Johnson, co-founder and principal analyst for RedThread Research, a human capital research and advisory firm. "Reputation is becoming more important and we need to figure out how to help individuals signal what their reputation is to recruiters."
Reputation: The New Resume
Knowledge and skills are two important pieces of a candidate's reputation that are easy to quantify—formal education and certifications or training easily account for these aspects. But it's often those undefinable and unquantifiable characteristics that result in an offer.
"There are parts of a reputation that you can't build," Johnson says. "People either come with it or they don't." It is often easier to up-skill a candidate who is lacking certain hard skills for a role than teach or instill soft skills.
While skills will certainly remain an important part of the hiring process, Johnson believes reputation is today's digital currency. Part of this trend, she says, is driven by the Millennial worldview. "It's a different mindset," she explains. "The better your reputation, the more mobile you are." For example, while it was customary for Baby Boomers to spend 35 years at the same company, it's not uncommon for Millennials to bounce between multiple companies and careers today.
Seeing the Bigger Picture
Larger trends in recruiting are also pushing hiring managers to pursue a more holistic view of candidates. First, due to the fast pace of modern business, there's a greater risk involved in making a bad hire—trial and error has become costly and outdated. Second, hiring managers now have access to a wealth of data. Rather than only being able to consider the information that candidates include on their resume, recruiters can find a variety of information through a quick online search.
"[Information is] available through all kinds of professional social networks—LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook—and all those types of things signal whether or not a person is a good fit for the organization," Johnson says.
Often, hiring managers rely on a feeling, hunch or guess about whether a candidate will thrive in a certain role or fit in with company culture. But when there's more data to work with, recruiters can cut down on the surprise factor and hire more confidently.
Johnson encourages recruiters to pay special attention to three external factors in particular:
- Additional certification or education pursued outside of work, which demonstrates passion for particular interests
- Volunteer experience, which provides new learning opportunities
- Networks that show who the candidate knows and can connect with in their industry
Looking Beyond the Hire
Candidate data plays a role in internal learning and development programs as well, and enables employees to continue to build their reputations at their current company. "With data, we have the ability to see who wants to go where and what they're interested in," she says. "We should be paying attention to that. Those are signals that we're not currently using."
With talent management systems, HR managers have access to performance, learning, and recruiting information about individual employees. By tapping into this data and helping employees bolster their reputations, HR managers can help guide career paths, provide desired training and ultimately increase retention. "You can make better decisions about what that person is capable of, which can funnel them into programs that will help them develop the skills to [grow]," Johnson explains.
Making reputation a part of the hiring process and employee lifecycle not only benefits organizations by providing them with well-rounded employees and empowers workers by providing them with the personalized professional development opportunities they desire, but it also ultimately expands the talent marketplace for recruiters by closing the skills gap with talented workers who can meet the needs of the current workforce.
Photo: Creative Commons