Work: Fight the System!

In an episode of the classic Marvel’s Master of Kung Fu, Shang-Chi is walking the street of Manhattan at night, crossing the street at Park Avenue as the sign turns red. He is confronted by a patroling police officer with his felony. Shang-Chi humbly asks the officer if the sign has eyes. The answer is no. Anyone can see that there are no cars stopping from crossing, and so Shang-Chi concludes: “the sign, as you say, can see nothing”, he then continues into the night towards some anticipated street fight in Chinatown.

Image credit Marc Faletti on Flickr.

Let’s pretend the stop sign in this case represents the System. A system that gives you the green or the red light depending on its settings. A system that allows you to enter, or keeps you out. A system that is blind, and yet we as humans trust it with our lives.

The problem with recruiting is that we are becoming even more depending on a system that is built by humans while in essence being everything but human. In our fear of being biased or wasting time with the wrong candidates we turn to (big) data to give us the best solutions out there, based on hard skills and algorithms. This is creating two distinct problems. 1. Increasing difficulty for talented people to find a job because of a System that for some reason gives them the red light, and 2. Increasing difficulty to find talent that is aligned with the company, because the System cannot see. It can only act on its program.

Why is there a growing gap between the need for talent, and the need for a meaningful career? Why do we believe more in machines than in humans when it comes to finding and contracting other humans? There are still humans in recruiting, but if you as an applicant is not acknowledged by the system, you will never encounter another human being in the process. You will only encounter a system that requires you to enter your skills, your education, your background, your experiences, your aspirations for a job. And many times you have to do this over and over again since there are a lot of proprietary systems out there. You may even have to download software in order to apply. How about that for facilitating a healthy relationship?

So, where is the solution, and how do we make it easier to find a job that suits us and how do we find candidates for our company? I believe the solution is more human interaction, not less. More social skills, more value-based recruiting. More storytelling, more conversations. Online and offline. More meet-ups, communities, groups, hangouts, discussions and feedback. Just say Mo’.