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The Hiring Tool That Could Kill the Resume

Poachable, a startup that launched last week, connects job candidates with employers the way Tinder matches up daters.
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The resume, a dated and inefficient component of the hiring process, is dying. Now Poachable, a two-week-old startup co-founded by ex-Google and Microsoft employee Tom Leung, is trying to put the final nails in its coffin, while also putting pricey headhunters out of business.

The company's Tinder-style platform targets what Leung calls "passive candidates"--people who have desirable credentials but who are already employed. Candidates type in what their dream job would be and their salary, location, and other requirements, as well as their employment history. The system then finds matches by aggregating all the job listings on the Internet and filtering out the ones that don't fit with the candidate's specifications. 

Leung, who co-founded Seattle-based Poachable with engineers Ian Shafer and Sam Skjonsberg, tells Inc. he's surprised the archaic hiring machine hasn't been fully disrupted yet. "It's amazing that people have been finding jobs pretty much the same way for as long as I can remember with pretty much no innovation," he says. 

The founders starting building the platform after realizing recruiters were using their previous company's product, Yabbly, to poach tech employees who were answering the site's ask-me-anything questions. Leung says that the recruiters are looking for potential candidates who aren't actively searching for jobs, which makes them more desirable than people who have been on the job market for some time. "This put a lightbulb on in my head and I was wondering if we could build something to help desirable candidates find jobs well upstream, before they start looking," he says.

At the same time, Tinder, a dating app that allows users to swipe through pictures of men or women and choose the ones they want to meet, was generating a lot of excitement around its easy platform. Poachable's app, which is about a month away from launch, "is not an exact transfer of Tinder, but we put it together with a little bit of Netflix, and a little bit of LinkedIn," Leung says. In the meantime, candidates can use the website in a similar way.

Inc. caught up with Leung to talk about the future of hiring, the death of the resume, and how Poachable will give headhunters a run for their money. 

Seriously, do resumes have no part in this? Haven't employers said, "Where the hell is this person's resume?"

Tom Leung: Out of dozens I've contacted with matches, I haven't had one employer ask me for a candidate's resume. What they will say is 'What kind of experience do they have?' [or] 'What is their current seniority?' and they'll glance at their LinkedIn profile. But the 8 1/2 by 11, Times Roman, name in bold in the center at the top, seems archaic to these employers. And the data we're collecting is more valuable than the traditional resume. If you look at someone's resume, you could think they are qualified for any number of jobs. But in reality, because of their interests and passions and requirements, you can scope that down. 

As your app will be like Tinder, the overall theme is matchmaking. Can you elaborate how Poachable accurately filters for matches?

TL: It's like what companies in the online dating space have been trying to figure out. You can't search for matches by saying: 'I'd like to find a female interested in men between 21 and my age.' You'd find millions of results, but if you say you're looking for someone who watches Meet the Press and goes hiking, well that universe scopes down pretty quick. We are doing something similar with job search because when you ask them, people's requirements are very specific. With the traditional job search website, you fill in job title, location, and function. But people are sharing with us things like, 'I want to work with someone 10 years my senior,' or 'I want to manage a team that's X people or more,' 'I want to work in a place that has an open environment and where I can work from home once a week.' 

How is Poachable's platform helping to ease pain points in the hiring process?

TL: For professionals, the quandary they find themselves in is this: They're in a job and like it, but would be open to a great opportunity yet don't want to go and publish their resume on Monster or write on LinkedIn that they are looking for a new job. So right now, they can come to us and say where they're working and what opportunities they would consider. It's kind of like in junior high that you wouldn't ask a girl out directly, but your friend would ask on your behalf. In some ways, we do that online and go to the employer and say, 'Here's this guy, here's his experience, he lives in the area and thinks your company is interesting, would you want to set up an informational call?' 

What are your thoughts about hiring, considering your company enables poaching of other companies' talented employees? Is all fair in love and hiring?

TL: I have been on both sides of this equation. My view in previous jobs when people would leave my team, I would take it very personally. But over time I've come to feel that if you're an employer, it's your job to keep your staff happy, fulfilled, and in the right place. If you're retaining people only because it's hard for them to know what's out there, that's not a sustainable model. 

Poachable's system must be accumulating a lot of data. What trends are you seeing?

TL: There's a few companies where we are seeing a huge concentration of employees signing up with us. In certain geographical locations, we're seeing a large amount of people leaving a few tech companies, but not leaving others. I don't see a lot of people from Google in our system, nor do I see a lot of people trying to leave Facebook. Our data is allowing us to see many different things. Once we aggregate it, we will be able to predict things like if you have certain characteristics and interests, you won't be open to this type of job, but you will be open to this job if it's in your city. Or, if you work at company A, you won't be interested in working at company B, but you'd work at company C if it's a promotion. The pieces of data we are collecting are going to allow us to find out why people work for companies, don't work for others, what companies need to improve, and what they need to stop doing.

Last updated: Jul 24, 2014

WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter, Inc.com

Will Yakowicz is a staff writer for Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and local politics for The Brooklyn Paper and was the editor of Park Slope Patch. He has also reported on the West Bank and Moscow for Tablet Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.




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