Uber, Airbnb, and Yelp all depend heavily on data from peer reviews to deliver their services. But data from peer reviews are not just superior in differentiating cab drivers, apartments, or restaurants. They can be the strategic advantage in your recruitment strategy when assessing future employees.
The Billion Dollar Club.
A quick look at the club of unicorns — i.e. privately held companies that have been valued at more than $1 billion — reveals that crowdsourcing technology is, in fact, very common. You have probably heard about Wikipedia or IMDb, the latter of which, for many, has become the de facto standard in gauging the quality of movies and TV shows. With more than 200 million monthly visitors, IMDb proves that crowdsourcing is an incredibly effective information paradigm.
These organisations share a reliance on crowdsourcing technology which, simply put, “enlists a crowd of humans to help solve a problem defined by the system owners.” (Read more about Crowdsourcing Systems on the World-Wide Web.)
Now, you might be thinking that these are commercial technology organisations, which may not have anything to do with your business. So, why is crowdsourcing relevant to your recruitment strategy?
By now, most of us have probably made use of Uber, and after the ride, you are asked for a review of the trip. This information is incredibly useful for Uber, as it allows them to save a lot of resources in performance reviews, helping them maintain a high standard of drivers. Uber also does the same thing to its customers, so no rude behaviour if you want to avoid public transportation.
The strategy is very simple.
Uber does not rely on individuals’ reports on their own performance. Not only are the incentives skewed, but people’s perceptions of their own behaviour and performance often differ significantly from peer reviews. By letting customers rate drivers and drivers rate customers, Uber’s strategy is far more genuine, and the results are reliable.
Yet most companies hire as if peer reviews only apply to service businesses such as cab drivers and restaurants. But of course, this also applies to people applying for jobs.
Lies, Damned Lies, and Self-Awareness.
In fact, more than a third of all CVs contain significant misrepresentations. Yet this piece of data, along with the cover letter, has been the backbone of most companies’ recruitment strategy for the last 50 years.
Hiring based on CVs is particularly a problem with younger candidates, who haven’t had the chance to build a strong record yet. However, in any kind of service position, peer data is not just relevant, it is crucial for performance.
Simply put, it doesn’t matter if John believes he is doing well when everyone in his team disagrees.
Even in positions where 360 degree feedback is taken into account, it is often carried out in the form of unstructured reference calls.
The Learning Organisation
Data-driven recruitment can create a competitive advantage for your company, but it requires reference data points to be recorded and transcribed.
By structuring and codifying these reference points early in the hiring process, your organisation can gain knowledge over time about what information works to predict future behaviour and what does not. As such, reading the signal is about the structure of the data, and the source of the data. When both of those are taken care of, predictive recruitment is within reach, and you can start to merge signals with performance data to discover what creates performance in your organisation or team.