Tech Insights: An App for Something You May Be Totally Excellent At

Here’s a puzzling business model: A HR tech application to help write job advertisements.

It’s puzzling because, surely guys, we must be expert at this already. We’ve been writing job ads for decades and decades, and lots of them, so I’m sure your company has this down to a fine art.

Or maybe not.

An Ohio-based company, GlideHR, has been having success selling their app/service to well-established businesses that have come to realize they kinda suck at reliably writing effective job ads. Companies fail at this routine activity because managers feel they don’t have time to write an insightful description, and in any case, are not particularly good at explaining what the job is like and what competencies they need.

HR doesn’t have the staff to help, and as a result, poor jobs ads are written.

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The application works by asking the hiring managers good questions, then using algorithms and human writers to craft an effective ad. This has an out-of-pocket cost, but I suspect it’s far less than the cost of trying to attract talent with crummy ads.

However you don’t need to make decisions based on what “Creelman suspects is true;” it would be easy enough to run tests on the quality of candidates attracted by your traditional ads versus ones attracted by ads written using a new process.

This last point is particularly important because whether you continue to write the ads in-house, use GlideHR or find another service, it makes sense to, from time to time, check how well the process is working relative to alternative approaches.

What is interesting?

  • It’s interesting that there is a role for a micro-application like this in recruiting, an area which is already swamped in technology offerings.
  • The solution relies on a mix of algorithms and humans. I think this is a potent combination (as did novelist Neil Stephenson in The Diamond Age). The humans are generally freelancers, not employees, which is also quite cool when you consider how much harder it would be to build a new business around writers who were regular full-time employees.

What is important?

  • There are some basic processes organizations should have mastered long ago but have not. It seems some tasks are of a nature, such that organizations struggle to stay good at them. If you can notice what these tasks are, and admit that it’s something the organization is never going to get and stay good at, then you can outsource these tasks to specialists. It’s all about knowing how to deconstruct and disperse tasks (which incidentally is a major theme in my new book on the future of work).

David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research, is a globally recognized thinker on people analytics and talent management. Some of his more interesting projects included:

  • Conducted workshops around the world on the practical aspects of people analytics
  • Took business leaders from Japan’s Recruit Co. on a tour of US tech companies (Recruit eventually bought for $1 billion)
  • Studied the relationship between Boards and HR (won Walker Award)
  • Spoke at the World Bank in Paris on HR reporting
  • Co-authored Lead the Work: Navigating a world beyond employment with John Boudreau and Ravin Jesuthasan. The book was endorsed by the CHROs of IBM, LinkedIn and Starbucks.
  • Worked with Dr. Wanda Wallace on “Leading when you are not the expert” which topped the “Most Popular List” on the Harvard Business Review’s blog.
  • Worked with Dr. Henry Mintzberg on peer coaching, David’s learning modules are among the most popular topics.

Currently David is helping organizations to get on-track with people analytics.

This work led to him being made a Fellow for the Centre of Evidence-based Management (Netherlands) for his contributions to the field.



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