What Do You Do? Computer Say No!

Having a portfolio career and an amassed array of skills, experiences through a range of roles and industries, sitting on both sides of the desk and working with people of all ranges of power and persuasion can make for a challenge to laser focus on any particular item that promotes a value or resonates with a particular job description.

It is said that variety is the spice of life. I constantly see, in today’s world of disruptive commerce, shouts for innovative and dynamic entrepreneurial people. Employers are demanding the candidate to exhibit endless flexibility, continuous learning spirit, leadership (which comes from a variety of real-world experiences) and passion above and beyond the ends of the universe. Job posts full of adventurous “go-get-em” and WOW description asking for an all-rounder with specific specialisations!

Now its great to fire up candidates imagination, and entice them to want to rise to the challenge and make a difference. We all aspire to contribute and show value. Organisations want to attract the best candidates and have the best talent available to them. That is utterly right and worth the pursuit of lengthy and diligent recruitment.

However, too often in the background is an automated candidate vetting process. This word search and pattern match process leads to exclusion of the very characteristics and experiences the candidate has, and so often desired by the hiring organisation. Adding value to the role and organisation.

Maybe AI and Machine Learning will overcome this challenge with improved fine-tuning and deeper profiling. Just maybe the robots will be able to see through the pile of noise and applications to the very gem an employer requires.

The online world offers so many data points with a clear connection to leverage the intelligent mass evaluation through automation of applications and fit for the role profiles.  The danger is it will miss the person behind the logic and the personality that strikes at the very heart of what can make a company great; it’s people, not its robots.

I feel challenged by the conundrum. Putting myself in a box and meeting word pattern criteria to express who I am and what I can add. I struggle with this, as my core principle and journey through life has never been one of a closed mind or single threaded passion but an excitement to learning through new experience, the challenge of the unknown and the thrill of it all. The robots guard the gates to constructive and engaged exploration I fear.

How disciplined should one be in updating their CV and professional profiles?  When promoted or role change within their existing organisation? But how often do you really need to? What is the catalyst for this? Clearly the opportunity to seek new employment, or change of role within your current organisation. Now how do you relate your content to the robots?

I took time out to read the recommendations I have gratefully received on Linkedin (me on Linkedin). I wouldn’t say I have a vast number of them (17) but tracking the period of time from the first to the latest gave me food for thought as to “what is it that I’m really good at, but don’t recognise?”, “what is the consistent comment that resonates across these?” and “how do I feel this has changed over time?”

Your skills should change and be influenced by new experiences; good, bad and ugly. But always to the benefit of your growth and learning.  The relevance of any comments or observations overtime may appear to become less relevant as a consequence. They all show the journey from what you used to do, to what you can do, and now what you want to do.

Linkedin Recomendations Chart-1

What’s more, would the Robots be able to interpret these in context? And does a leopard change its spots or is it that the spots just get bigger?

Clearly, I had a good run through 2010/11 and when I think about what was occurring in my professional life at the time and the market it was driven by the need to reinvent my proposition and value to find a new role to challenge me. Digging deeper into the content of the recommendations and out of the 600 words used the top 10 words were:

Linkedin Recomendations Chart-3

With that in mind, the following is the most used (para) phrases concerning activity (not a recommendation): time and on budget and attention to detail.

So how would you use this to align your CV to what you are successfully capable of achieving as value and assuredness for your next employer? Would the robots then box you into? Computer Says No! When you really are looking to reach upward to the next level of your career.

I used http://www.writewords.org.uk/word_count.asp to analyse the text in my recommendation and manipulated these as lists in Excel to contextualise them for this exercise. The full distribution of useful words is depicted below.

Was this a useful exercise? I found it helped confirm what I know I am good at. It gave me food for thought as to what I possibly really want to do, but isn’t being recognised! And also suggested that it is too easy to fall into the trap of the easy option when really to feel alive you want more.

I sincerely thank all my colleagues (past and present), business associates and acquaintances that provided a recommendation.

I’d be interested to hear how this Linkedin Recommendation Analysis process worked out for you. And to all those seeking new employment, good luck in your endeavours.