In the July 19, 2016 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a reader bemoans the effect of “stupid” technology on hiring. He doesn’t realize he needs to get a dog.


robo-dogI saw a disturbing story on Bloomberg: Goldman Scraps On-Campus Interviews for Robo-Recruiting. It’s about how fewer companies are doing on-campus interviews because of the lack of jobs. Rather, some companies are having a machine do the interview. I cannot tell you how stupid I think this is. I am sure you will agree.

As an electrical engineer, I have to say that this is a misuse of technology — people like me might make such technology possible. I’m tired of hearing about “disruptive technology.” If this is the future, I want no part of it. What is happening here?

Nick’s Reply

Employers have given new grads no choice but to send robo-dogs to their job interviews to woof it up with the employers’ robots.

At the same time companies like Goldman Sachs complain there’s a skills shortage, they demonstrate a complete lack of recruiting acumen.

CNN reports there’s a surplus of talent (College job hunt gets tougher as campus interviews fade):

About 12.6% of college grads are underemployed, meaning they don’t work enough hours.

Then CNN quotes a recruiter:

There is a real skills gap. [Many college grads] don’t know where their education and skills fit in the workforce.

It seems this “Wall Street titan” can’t figure out what to do with skills and education, either.

How does this smell?

CNN says “the U.S. economy has a record number of job openings.” The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms there are 5.6 million open jobs.

NewsHour’s Paul Solman calculates that around 19.5 million Americans are either unemployed, under-employed, or looking for a job even though they’re no longer counted as unemployed or as part of the work force.

That’s a ratio of 3.5 job seekers to every vacant job. While not all job seekers are qualified, there’s hardly a talent shortage. But employers like Goldman Sachs claim there is — so, what do they do to pick the right candidates?

Edith Cooper, Goldman’s global head of human capital management, says she’s got a really novel way to recruit and entice the elusive qualified new grad. She has stopped sending humans to interview them:

We’re trying to take out an individual’s assessment of talent.

CNN elucidates this new strategy:

The Wall Street titan announced last week it will ditch on-campus interviews starting next year for undergraduates in favor of an automated interview recorded by HireVue, a Utah-based company that creates software for recruitment.

The aforementioned recruiter explains this supply-and-demand rationale:

A generation ago…the employer came to the candidate. Now the candidate has to find the employer.

If the head of Goldman’s HR isn’t getting it, here’s an analogy the head of sales might understand. There are millions of investors hungry for good investments, so Goldman’s stock brokers should stop selling — and wait for investors to beg for a Goldman account.

Beg to work for us!

In a job-seeker’s market, new grads must subject themselves to machine interviews, invest their time filling out online applications, and wait like starving dogs to be fed. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs HR managers get paid to wait for bots to do their hiring. Disintermediation, anyone?

dog-bot-2It seems not to occur to the Goldman Sachs of the world that they can’t find talent because they’re not looking for talent. It’s the proverbial story of washing your hands with rubber gloves on. It’s surrogate interviewing. Outsourced hiring. To use another metaphor, rather than going out to meet the talent, Goldman Sachs is sending a robo-dog named HireVue with a note in its mouth. Machine interviewing.

I’ve written about the likes of HireVue before: HR Pornography: Interview videos, WTF! Inflatable Interviewer Dolls? This is not disruptive technology. This is outsourced corporate irresponsibility.

In the midst of the claimed “talent and skills shortage,” CNN says the percentage of big-name employers that go to college campuses to recruit has dropped from 89% in 2007 to 76% today. They’re so desperate to find and hire talent that they’ve stopped recruiting! Worse, in a job-seeker’s market, Goldman tells job seekers to do tricks to get jobs.

Automated Personal Service

Recruiting requires selling — something a stock brokerage company should know a lot about. It requires personal contact, persuasion and, yes, a soft touch. Especially during a talent shortage.

Let’s go back to that analogy. In an effort to boost sales, Goldman Sachs tells its stock brokers to stop selling. Instead, the company publishes advertisements notifying investors that if they want to do business with Goldman, they must log-on to a third-party website and record their request for help with their investments. The selection algorithms are waiting! If you qualify, Goldman may do business with you.

Better yet, imagine this. You make it past the HireVue machine and Goldman invites you for a real interview. You respond with a link to your website and invite Goldman to record answers to questions that your own software will analyze to determine whether Goldman qualifies as a place you’d like to work.

Now, that’s automated personal service only a bank can appreciate!

Send in your dog

Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said to CNN:

Recent college graduates are having a hard time finding a job — finding a good job has become much more difficult.

robo-dog-3I’ve got an idea to make it easier on graduates.

Goldman schedules an interview where a personnel jockey will conduct a screening interview before you are permitted to meet the hiring manager. (Remember: There’s a talent shortage and Goldman is really desperate to impress and entice good applicants.)

Here’s the good part. You hire your own dog. You send a surrogate to the interview, so you won’t waste your time. (Perhaps you rent the dog from HireVue.) If anyone asks how you dare to send a dog with a note in its mouth, you cite the CNN article:

Goldman says it’s trying to weed out any biases between job candidates and interviewers, such as mutual friends, interests in the same sports or same schools.

You’re just trying to make sure the interview is fair and unbiased.

Do robots dream of job offers?

Is Goldman Sachs really suffering from a talent shortage and skills gap? While new college grads are dreaming of job offers, are industry titans working hard to find, recruit and hire those rare applicants they really need?

HireVue CEO Mark Newman is laughing all the way to the bank. I’m laughing at Goldman Sachs’ HR managers, who are deploying auto-mutts to bark at college grads. Woof!

If you’re the talent, and you know how difficult you are to find, I refer you back to last week’s column — with apologies for yet another metaphor: Tell HR you don’t talk to the hand. (For some solutions, see HR Managers: Do your job, or get out.)

What do you think? Are new grads just not ready for real jobs? Or are employers not ready to hire anyone? Maybe you should throw the employer’s bot a digital bone.

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  1. The reply is clueless, as the Bloomberg article is NOT about “how fewer companies are doing on-campus interviews because of the lack of jobs”. It’s a very good idea to read a link before commenting on it.

    The idea to eliminate interviewer bias is excellent. I can bet the complaining person is a white male engineer who never experienced interviewer bias. Now, he’s little worried that his privileges are coming to an end. Oh crap, those robots might select a black woman, not a man who reminds me of myself when I was in college. I call it stupid. I am sure you will agree. If this is the future, I want no part of it.

    Human touch is nice, but bias is toxic. Even hiring by robots is better than biased hiring which is so pervasive.

    > Goldman Sachs tells its stock brokers to stop selling. Instead, the company publishes advertisements notifying investors that if they want to do business with Goldman, they must log-on to a third-party website and record their request for help with their investments

    Financial robo-adviser businesses are blooming indeed. Keep up with technologies, Nick.

    • You’re right. The article is about machine interviews and robo-selection of candidates. To your point, this can easily be used as a smokescreen for discrimination, so that’s not the point. I wish you would not conflate human touch with bias – I don’t see the former triggering the latter. And I don’t see at all how hiring by bots reduces bias. I think Cooper’s real agenda is lowering the costs of recruiting while rationalizing robo-interviews as less biased.

      Technology in recruiting is so over the top and so counter-productive that employers are crying “Talent Shortage!” in the middle of what’s arguably the biggest talent glut America has ever seen. This technology is gender and race blind – it screws everyone.

  2. It’s rare the ATH comes to the party late. The F500 has been sending robots on recruiting for a couple of decades now. They ask things like ” how many gas stations are there? And ” why are manhole covers round?”

    I’m am stunned that Goldman Sachs ” Global Head of Human Capital Management” (you can’t make this stuff up) espouses this strategy.

    Here’s a news flash to solve ” the talent shortage”. Make your hiring managers directly responsible for staffing and retaining so that their functional units meet their goals. I know I’m brilliant for coming up with that all by myself, thank you.

    • Avis CEO Robert Townsend’s book “Up the Organization!”, was succinct: “Fire the whole Personnel Department.” Then send the hiring managers out to recruit directly.

      I recently talked to a group manager at one of the largest companies in the world, who said he knew of no mechanism where he worked to hire somebody he wanted to hire.

  3. Perhaps there is another reason, the truth of which may be open to question, but which appears to me to be the plausible reason G S is foisting HR recruitment robots on the great unwashed flooding its applicant tracking system with unsolicited resumes.

    Here it is – top tier Wall Street firms have relied for decades on select sources for talent. By that I mean they are key groups of privileged white males from ivy league schools and select fraternities. These recruitment channels have always been open at firms like G S to direct contact between hiring managers and the candidates that “qualify” to fill them. See the cited URL below for a detailed inside look at this dynamic from the Bloomberg wire service.

    For everyone else, robots are the order of the day and with one key purpose, and that is to avoid annoying G S hiring managers with candidates that they will never consider for hire. The robots are nothing more than a sneeze bar over the G S salad buffet.

    That a Utah firm is making money supplying the robots is merely a footnote in a stacked deck of cards against anyone who doesn’t come from a short list of top schools and the not so secret brotherhoods within them.

    Students who want to work on Wall Street might find better prospects by grasping for brass rings that are not gold plated.

    • Mayor: Thanks for that link. Reminds me of the recent book by Lauren Rivera about “the club.” Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs.

      I occasionally encounter members of such clubs. They’re pathetic. They’re scared.

  4. I actually thought this college grad was yanking our chains until I read your references.
    Oh yeah, if we can’t match our needs with the keywords on the resume, then the best way to think about this problem is that resume don’t tell us anything about a candidate. So we’ll scrap in person interviews for automated interviews. That will get us better clarity.

  5. I agree. Many new grads are not ready for real jobs. Lack of soft skills and the inability to sell themselves to recruiters is too often the case. Employers/recruiters expect grads to be engaged in the interview conversation – phone, Skype, in-person. I find that most employers are not finding new grads with a proven work ethic or knowledge of realistic salary expectations.

    • This is no different than any older generation complaining about younger generations… “Those damn hippies” come to mind.

      I would argue that it takes quite some time for younger, inexperienced people to find their footing in the real world.

  6. It’s finally happened. ATH has been infiltrated by victims who chose to play the blame game.

    In today’s world, the LEAST desirable hire is a White Male. Every HR office in the country is scrutinizing the gender and race of every applicant to TRY and prevent the chances of a news story saying the company is NOT diverse. It’s a given that any offers to White Males will be scrutinized by HR or the Equal Opportunity Office.

    Maybe all interviews should be done via I.M. with the applicants and Interviewers sitting in separate rooms? Will the career victims then have nothing to complain about? I doubt it. The work related questions will be viewed as racially bias or some other reaching excuse.

    Bottom line, I couldn’t care less about the race, gender or sexual preference of any of my fellow co-workers or employees. I just don’t want to have to do my work and then theirs on a daily basis, because the were hired to balance out some stat that is touted once a year or so in a news article.

    One thing I have learned in all my years, there are people in this world that think they are great employees, simply because the show up each day from 8-5. I call them the “coasters”. As soon as 5 o’clock comes, they are out the door. These employees have no passion for the quality of work or the job they do. Just hand them a paycheck and you had better give them the same raise you give your “Super star” employees.

    A “Super Star” employee doesn’t watch the clock and doesn’t’ think twice of staying after 5 pm to get the task completed and off their desk. Those are the types of employees who you truly can count on over time, and you allow them some flexibility if they come in a little after 8 a.m. the next day. These “Super Stars” are the ones who historically have put in their 40+ hours by the end of the week and you know you can trust them to get their work done and you don’t have to feel the need to check their work.

    The “coaster” employees will claim bias, regarding other employees, but they are the ones who never stay after 5 pm when there are peak work loads. If they do, they never let an opportunity pass by to complain about it or immediately demand a raise.

    I fully expect to be blasted for my comments and I fully accept that. It is still a free country. I’m speaking from my personal experiences over 40+ years and I know I’m not the only person here to work with these kinds of employees. Race, Gender or sexual preference are NOT factors in who fits into the “Coaster” or “Super Star” groups. It’s the individuals attitude that defines which group they belong in IMO.

    I wish everyone a great day and I hope you are as lucky as I am. I greatly enjoy my job and the people I get to work with each day.

    • @Peter

      Add “over 35” and “veteran” to “white male”, and you have the perfect reason to not bother to log into the ATS du jour.

      The better use of time would be to get mentored in entrepreneurial kills, idea creation and attracting startup capital, because employers simply are not interested in you.

      • Why would you enter “over 35” and “veteran” into any job application?

        Age and military experience are often not related to the job at hand. I am in my 40’s and not having any trouble getting calls or interviews. There are some employers who want experience.

        • “I am in my 40’s and not having any trouble getting calls or interviews.”

          So, anyone who IS having trouble getting calls/interviews is just…what? Weird? Stupid? A bad person? Damaged goods? Is your candidate experience in this job market the only one that matters here? Srsly, I do not understand where does this attitude comes from, it’s like telling someone with cancer “well, shucks, I don’t have cancer so cancer can’t be a legitimate thing in this world,” *sheesh*…

          • Wow @Sighmaster, you are reading in a lot to 3 sentences. There are markets for everyone’s skills and talents. There are employers who want older workers. There are plenty of millenials who are having a miserable time too. Everybody will have a different experience when they are looking for work.

            If your job hunting tactics are not generating results, then like anything else, re-evaluate them after three to four weeks and maybe try a different approach.

            @Peter’s description of hard working staff, the people who put in heavy amounts of work and go above and beyond would be coveted by almost any organization. These people will be the last to be let go.

  7. The computerized slots machines in casinos are fixed? Who would have thought. And if the real live person at he end of the robot is black and you are not hired then what?

  8. “I can bet the complaining person is a white male engineer who never experienced interviewer bias. Now, he’s little worried that his privileges are coming to an end.”

    Hmmm…very telling insertion of the race card “Julia”. A true prejucdicial post that screams backing of the “progressive” agenda which, ironically enough, is racist itself.

    Racism to “cure” racism?? Yep, that’s brilliant. Dr. King’s dream was killed long ago by the very people it was intended to lift up.

    Oh, and “Julia”, like the Michigan college that has righteously axed “affirmative action” the rest of the nation must also follow suit we are truly to eradicate biased advantages. Yep, facts are facts, affirm action hogwash simply favors a particular group of individuals – clearly divisive and prejudicial. And you talk about “privileged”!?!

    I agree, bias, in the form of robotic HR jockey “screening” is “TOXIC”. All one gets is watered-down, sterile employees.

    Another poster hit the nail on the head:

    “…there are people in this world that think they are great employees, simply because the show up each day from 8-5. I call them the ‘coasters’. As soon as 5 o’clock comes, they are out the door. These employees have no passion for the quality of work or the job they do. Just hand them a paycheck and you had better give them the same raise you give your ‘Super star’ employees.”
    For those with no brians, follow the other sheep to career stagnation slaughter and under/unemployment hell (Sit boo-boo sit! Woof!). For the rest of us, perseverance by networking around the trip line trap of automated “hiring.”

    “Congrats” too Goldman-Doogie-Scraps for yet another clueless debacle of dumbing down. A-players are sure to run for the doors after getting sick of entitled clock-watchers that HR forces into the company in the name of “diversity”.

    Truth hurts, history proves “diversity”, at best, is a very clever diversion.

    Folks like “Julia” are typical “technology for the sake of technology” short-sighted “shortage of talent” advocates who wonder why college grads are STILL living in their parents basements – UNDERemployed, if that.

    But hey, your wonderful technology delivers what ya demanded – keyword wonders, coasters and clock-wathcers.

    Wow, that must make for a wonderful work environment – entitlement minded coworkers.

    Now that is TOXIC.

  9. Train your robo-dog to lift it’s leg on the HR directors searsucker trousers.

  10. Nick, I’m finding the quality of these comments to be prejudiced and racist. This isn’t your usual standard of comments.

    • Agreed. Recruiter bias has a place in this conversation because it was mentioned in the article. But these comments are angry and blaming, not critical and constructive like usual.

      I actually have something to say on this topic, but won’t comment on this particular post at this time. I have no need for this negativity.

      • Annette: Please read my comment to Lucille below. There’s negativity in the world because there’s plenty of bad stuff going on. While there’s no need to drown in it, sometimes it’s worth helping pull someone else out of it. I hope you’ll take the time to say what you want to on the topic of this week’s column.

    • I very rarely comment on the nature of discourse on this blog because it’s rarely necessary. We tend to stick to the topics. But sometimes its worth talking about how we talk.

      Lucille: I don’t block or delete comments I don’t agree with, even if they’re a bit snarky. Today’s economy is having enormous impacts on people, and sometimes it makes them angry. Thousands of people participate on this blog. As long as they are respectful of others here, they’re welcome to express their opinions.

      Consider this exchannge:

      JULIA: “I can bet the complaining person is a white male engineer who never experienced interviewer bias.”

      CHRIS S: “Hmmm…very telling insertion of the race card ‘Julia’.

      The subtle risk in expressing opinions comes when people also express assumptions – and thereby expose themselves to criticism about their assumptions. That’s part of debate, but the more questionable the assumptions, the farther the debate can get from the original Q&A. I encourage everyone to think twice before they comment, and to ask themselves, are they being fair? Are they talking about the topic at hand, or are they inserting assumptions that can be debated and criticized?

      I encourage people to read the original Q in these columns carefully. What did the OP actually say and NOT say? We all read between the lines, and sometimes we see things that aren’t there. Sometimes we make reasonable assumptions. Sometimes our assumptions are questioned. The standard of discourse is affected by everyone commenting.

      JULIA: Oh crap, those robots might select a black woman, not a man who reminds me of myself when I was in college.

      CHRIS S: CHRIS S: “Hmmm…very telling insertion of the race card ‘Julia’.


      Everyone has their own style, but any dialogue is colored not only by each of the participants, but by the dyad. When I find myself getting into a tit-for-tat (and I do sometimes), I try to stand back and ask myself, what was the original point? What’s the topic? And much as I’d like to win a snark contest, I try to roll it back, get a bit softer, and try to re-focus the dyad on the actual topic.

      Chris S did not bring up race. Julia did. I won’t delete either of their comments because I expect them and everyone else to get the discussion back to the topic, using the facts of the OP’s question.

      This community has always been self-policing. All of us sometimes “go off” – I know I do. The rest of us can bring it all back down to earth and help maintain the quality of discourse.

      I won’t delete or police occasional anger, or responses to it. All I ask is that participants question themselves before questioning the intent of others. And, when you see someone going off, please consider that sometimes it’s better to help bring them back to the topic than to attack what you believe their intentions are. We’re all complicated.

      In this economy, we’re all hurting in one way or another. Have at the debate – but please try to help one another through the pain. That’s what I’m most proud of about this community. While discussion on other websites gets ugly and nasty and very off-topic, the members of this community show respect and concern for one another, and they focus on the topic. Sometimes that means walking a mile in one another’s shoes.

      Thanks for reading this.

  11. I’m with Julia on the need to eliminate bias in the hiring process. Bias and discrimination aren’t limited by political agenda. Take Harvard’s online free bias test, Project Implicit (for implicit bias,) and see how you come out: You might surprise yourself. I know people of color who took it and came out plenty biased against people of color. No surprise there. But Mayor Bongo got it right. The robots ensure bias in hiring; they don’t eliminate it. GS wants to close off a major channel of prospects they haven’t already vetted for color and class, and they want to do it without public repercussion.

    • It occurs to me that some employers gin up “bias policies” because they’re not good at running their businesses. Failing to be productive (produce profit), they distract themselves with stuff they can do, like produce policies.

      Profit and success are blind to color, race, age, gender, religion. If employers focused on being more productive, they’d be more intent on hiring people who are productive, regardless of factors that are immaterial to running a business.

      Prejudice plays an enormous role in business today, and businesses are suffering for losses that stem from it. I think the solution to bias is a renewed focus on what companies are really in business to accomplish. I’m not so sure the solution is to emphasize recruiting without bias. I think the better solution is to remove employees and managers who demonstrate bias.

      Okay, have at me :-)

      • Yes, in the abstract, Nick. But bias influences the perception of how profits can be made. The elite clubs and contacts Mayor Bongo referenced are used precisely because the people hired from them are assumed to be the best profit makers. So we are questioning here the very basic assumptions underlying employment. Documented changes are occurring but these are slow. In my own workplace devastating hiring mistakes were made because incompetent white men were assumed to be better at their jobs than potentially more competent minority applicants. We have non discrimination policies, but these are extremely difficult to enforce at highest levels of hiring. This is how bias/discrimination hurts everybody in the workplace, not only people of color. My workplace is testimony to this by the incompetence at high levels that cost us tremendously, both financially and creatively.

        • Once again, another race baiting post…

          “Addie” stated:

          “In my own workplace devastating hiring mistakes were made because incompetent white men were assumed to be better at their jobs than potentially more competent minority applicants.”

          Hmmm…alleged prejudicial conduct swings both ways. Here in the USA, the PC mindset is so deeply woven into the culture that minorities seem to “do no wrong”. A vile “victim” mentality dipping with entitlements that destroys the work place.

          Then “Addie” declares:

          “My workplace is testimony to this by the incompetence at high levels that cost us tremendously, both financially and creatively.”

          Look in the mirror…what have YOU done about it?

          On topic of bots, headhunters, HR and everything career related it is still YOUR personal responsibility to take action. “Action” means notifying your state/federal agencies, planning your exit or choosing to accept said circumstances, as you have thus far, and deal with it.

          Case law proves time and time again that a “mishire” or accusation of “incompetence” is NOT prejudicial. Good luck with legal action based upon frivolous accusations.

          You might wish to regroup and educate yourself…

          Nick has more than one article related to ignorant management, dumb hires, wasted company resources, etc.

          Subjectively attaching race to the original subject of HireVue and GS’s new bot “recruiting” path only poisons these postings.

          Most of us are sick of the “Bush did it”, blame the “white” man racism.

          Get a clue.

          • @Chris: I understand your points re applicants having some ownership in the matter. With all due respect, that only works to a degree. As an applicant, I’m not in management, the C-suite, and have zero control over how employers choose to hire. What I do have control over is whether I choose to let them treat me badly or not. I can choose not to continue, to write a letter to the CEO and/or shareholders, etc. But if I were unemployed, I’d think very hard about rocking the boat because my goal is to get a job so I can pay my bills, put food on the table. If rocking the boat means automatic disqualification, then I won’t do it because there’s too much at risk. Granted, there’s no guarantee that I’d be hired even if I jump through all of the hoops, but perspectives are different when you’re employed vs. unemployed.

            If enough job hunters refuse to play these games, then what? Will business turn to Congress to demand yet more guest workers/H1B visa holders to “do the work Americans won’t do”? Or will CEOs and shareholders get smart, realize how broken the system is, and do something about it? Some employers will do the latter; others will find it easier to do the former.

            And even if you’re employed, you might not be ranked high enough in the food chain to do anything about it, lest you place a bull’s eye on yourself. Addie might not have been in a position to do anything about the hiring practices but that doesn’t mean she’s blind to the impact those practices have on productivity, profits, and morale.

        • “Documented changes are occurring but these are slow. In my own workplace devastating hiring mistakes were made because incompetent white men were assumed to be better at their jobs than potentially more competent minority applicants.”

          Methinks you don’t know the definition of racism. Bad behavior isn’t just limited to white men.

  12. I think the wanting to eliminate bias, that is, the kind of bias that has nothing to do with the ability to get the job done, is a good thing. But robo-interviews aren’t the way to do it. There’s nothing to prove that the biases aren’t inherent in the robo-interviews. How do you know that the folks who program them or the employers aren’t building in their own biases, the very ones they claim they wish to eliminate?

    @Addie: Our former dean sent all of us the link to the Project Implicit bias test and asked all of us to take it. My colleagues are a pretty great group of people, and yet for all of us, there were biases we didn’t even know we had!

    I think this is just another roadblock, just another way to have as little to do with hiring as possible, while howling indignantly about the “talent shortage” and complaining about the “skills gap”. There’s no such thing as a perfect hire, so how about hiring someone who meets 75% of the absolutely necessary qualifications for the job (reasonable, not trilingual, Ph.D rocket scientists willing to work for $8.00 per hour) and train them in what they don’t have?

    • Oops, sorry about creating confusion. I hit “reply” twice. Nick – feel free to delete my response to Mary Beth above. And this comment as well. :)

  13. Talent shortage then allows STEM employees to be replaced by H1B sub-par folks. HR won’t fund two weeks of IT training for a 40+ age employee but would rather have a “”placeholder”” employee provided by the outsourcing company of the month. I just retired so its not my fight anymore but the mistakes are causing companies to fail. Disney is the most recent example of “no moral compass.”

    • True.

      I know a former IT Disney employee that experienced same years ago.

      Worse yet, other tech companies have gotten rid of long time loyal employees by having them train replacements before letting them go. Talk about adding insult to injury.

      Yep, H1B, another “legal” way to directly implant foreigner workers in American jobs under the guise of “lack of available talent”.

    • @John: Your comment mirrors the more recent experience of one of my cousins. He’s 56, works in IT, but in late 2014 he lost his job. His company decided to replace their older employees with H1B visa holders from India. Yet before he left, he and the other older employees were required to train their replacements. He told me that most of them didn’t speak English, and those that did spoke it poorly, and that they knew nothing…..supposedly they were hired because they had the tech skills that my cousin and his older colleagues lacked. But these “highly skilled H1B visa workers” needed a lot of training before they could do the jobs. I don’t think they’re any more skilled than native Americans, but they are much, much cheaper.

      My cousin was out of work nearly 6 months before he found another job, but now he’s got a longer commute to New Hampshire AND the best he could do was a contract job, so he said he’s getting paid less than what he made at his previous employer, but lacks the benefits and there’s no guarantee that he’ll be offered another contract. He said most companies didn’t bother to call him once they could tell he was over 35, and the couple that did bother to interview him told him to his face that he’s too old (but they would be glad to hire him on contract to train the youngsters and the H1B visa holders).

      • Marybeth, a friend of mine (not in marketing like me, but highly experienced in IT contract sourcing–and older, and a combat vet Army and AF)–we both have delved into the H1-B deal. We have uncovered that while a very few are talented IT people and are who they say they are, who really want to find a way to be Americans, an increasing number of H1-B’ers have faked up credentials generated back home or from quickie courses held by their Indian-owned contracting agencies–who then rip them off on rate. If they dare to leave, they hold their last weeks’ pay. The contracting agencies race to the bottom on rate since employers bring in five or so and let them fight it out. Who benefits here? THIS HAS TO STOP. And it has to stop at the Federal level because the Facebooks, Googles, Boeing and Silicon Valley pay Washington to make it happen. They don’t care…even if these programmers are incompetent or insert back doors or malicious code.

        Back to video interviews, HireVue was designed to screen for hotel and service employees. For experienced and senior level management, it’s insulting.

        simply say NO to video except if you are comfortable with it. I’ve been asked to do video interviews when the employer and managers are a train or car ride away. I’ve always said no. They don’t want to meet face to face, that tells me something. My attitude about video is that I don’t Skype except with colleagues and even then it’s a strain on everyone. First, it puts me in a bad light as an older candidate. You can never get the background, lighting and sound right. Second, it tells me I’m not important, only an object to be perfectly processed. If they are way out of town and it’s the only way, tell them to pay the $100-200 or so to rent an office with interactive video capability so at least you are in a professional environment. Then you arrange to control it….use an interface like WebEx or GoToMeeting where you can control what they see, so you can cut over to your computer and show your samples, present key points etc. You can turn the tables if you are, to Nick’s point, in control.

        • The only time video interviews were appropriate was when I was still in Broadcast TV, and the potential “sir talent” would send along some professionally produced samples, or better yet “air checks” (which are taken right off the master control console as they go to air. It’s the only way to move to a bigger / different market without spending all of your time on airliners. Then again, potential employers want to see how you work in front of a camera anyway.

          Heck, the movie industry still has you come in for a casting call.

          • “air talent”

            Spell check will be the death of me yet.

  14. @Maribeth I wish every hiring manager would visit Project Implicit. It’s incredible how what we don’t know about our attitudes affects us –in hiring, performance evaluation, or just working with people we don’t choose. The idea of using technology to eliminate bias interests me. But the issue remains: should eliminating bad judgment mean eliminating ALL judgment?

    • @Addie: Interesting question, and no, I think it is commendable to try to eliminate bad judgment, but that doesn’t mean we should eliminate ALL judgment. Interviewing people, making hiring decisions, even dating and deciding whom and whether to get married (and conversely, to get divorced) means we’re using our judgment. Sometimes it is off, as the Project Implicit bias test illustrates, but then it is up to us to be aware of our own biases and work harder NOT to let them cloud our good judgment!

      • Before “discriminate” became a pejorative term, it meant this:

        recognize a distinction; differentiate. “babies can discriminate between different facial expressions of emotion” synonyms: differentiate, distinguish, draw a distinction, tell the difference, tell apart;

        To be “discriminating” is a positive characteristic. I agree with you, marybeth. I think HR is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The Goldman HR exec who thinks she’s eliminating “bias” from interviews needs to consider that a bias for hiring good employees is different from a bias against one group or another. And eliminating bias by eliminating human interviewers will introduce other kinds of machine bias that are as bad or worse.

        For example, some of the best workers I know would never consent to machine interviews. Instant bias that works against Goldman. That HR exec will never see those candidates.

        HR execs would do well to study the social sciences before they buy crap from robo-interview vendors.

        • @Nick: Thanks for reminder that discrimination can be a good thing, too. Too often, the word “discrimination” has bad connotations, many of which are justly deserved. But as your dictionary definition reminded me, there’s a flip side to discrimination which can be good. There used to be an ad that wrapped up with a tag line “discriminating men want to know” (I can’t remember the product being advertised), and meaning wasn’t discrimination in the bad, illegal way but in a good way.

          The challenge is to be self-aware enough of your own personal biases (the bad kind) so you can weed them out, and keep the good biases so you make good decisions and good hires. But I still fail to see how automating the interview part of the process will help. The bad biases can be written into the software…

          • Bias is a much bigger topic than most realize. For an excellent, readable discussion that will change the way you think forever, check out Dan Ariely’s book, Predictably Irrational. It’s got little to do with employment discrimination and everything to do with how our minds work. This is why I’m very skeptical about “tools” that “measure” how biased we are about other people.

  15. @marybeth, So sorry to misspell your name!

    • @Addie: Want to try mine next? ;-)

      • When I first found this blog, I read your name “Nick Crocodiles,” but had the presence to look again.

        • There’s a feature on the old website that I named The Crocodile. When you can’t beat ’em, join ’em and keep smiling :-)

    • @Addie: People often misspell my name, and sometimes get called Mary Ann. So long as I’m not confused with Gilligan :)

  16. @Nick: Thanks for the tip about the Ariely book. I just requested it via ILL, and look forward to reading it. It doesn’t have to be about employment discrimination to be relevant or for folks to make the connection. As the article Mayor Bongo so thoughtfully shared with us this week, hiring financiers solely from Ivy League (or even a specific college’s) fraternities is just as biased as the other forms inclusion or exclusion based upon factors other than ability to do the job. Where’s the proof that Kappa Kappa Omega Delta frat boys from Dartmouth are any better at being hedge fund managers than the Dartmouth alumnus who majored in economics/business/finance but DIDN’T belong to KKOD fraternity? Instead of making the first hurdle to clear being a specific frat membership at X Ivy League university, how about looking at college major, GPA, internship experiences, etc.? To me, that would make more sense, but since much of hiring is based upon who knows you and your connections, then the frat connection makes perfect sense. The frat brothers are hiring eachother, using their connections to get jobs. I wonder what these hires’ majors were….was there additional screening or did the frat boy English major have a better chance of getting hired than the non-frat boy Finance major?

  17. I’m not quite sure when this shift happened but here’s the problem as I see it.

    I was hired out of college with a STEM degree but my manager spent time training me and making sure I acquired skills needed to meet the group targets.

    40 years later I don’t expect to hire people who fit my job description at any level…beginner or experienced. I want the basic skills/ experience, curiosity driven person, diligent, detail oriented and I still expect to have to invest in training.

    The F1000 seems to have lost this and go off on perfect candidate unicorn hunts

    We have a sales recruiter in our field who blows the trumpet of the ‘ world wide sales talent shortage’. Hint, the talent is over here, working for people who don’t make you take tests.

  18. @VP Sales

    I agree with you. I see the smaller companies willing to look at candidates who do not exactly match job descriptions while the larger F500 types want an exact fit. I think that the larger companies have more risk adverse management and feel that getting a perfect fit, even if it takes months, is better for their careers. If the candidate doesn’t work out the manager can at least point to the C.V. and say the candidate was a perfect fit and move on. This probably does enormous damage to those companies because they create skills and capacity gaps that could have been addressed by hiring a reasonably skilled person and ramping them up.

    As for Goldman Sachs, if you measure their performance by stock price they are where they were almost 10 years ago. So the brilliance in their HR policies, biased or not driving shareholder value.;range=my

  19. Since “Michael”‘s post was missing a “Reply” button/link, here is a response:

    “Michael” stated:
    “@Peter’s description of hard working staff, the people who put in heavy amounts of work and go above and beyond would be coveted by almost any organization. These people will be the last to be let go.”


    When the small ad agency, at which I was an accounting assistant, lost a large client they let go two revenue producing employees before finally sending me packing. Looking back I shouldn’t have been surprised NOT being let go first given my solid work ethic. Could it be that in a traditionally viewed “cost center” (accounting dept.) I accomplished enough to actually contribute to the profit side (actively accelerated A/R amongst other things)? In addition, someone likely noticed that I was usually the first to arrive in the morning, other than the receptionist. Proof positive that hard working staff can be noticed and “rewarded”.

    Back on the topic of companies such as GS that prefer to video interview off-campus, lets just say I’d pass. No one is going to be able to guarantee where that footage ends up with all the hacking of company data going on these days. And you just know its likely to be recorded and “passed” around, per se. It may take awhile but who wants to bet that one or more of those vids will end up on YouTube someday – scary.

  20. Is there a talent shortage, or a talent glut. What ever happened to ‘show a little respect’?

    Either way, do you really want to work for a company that thinks so little of you and your skills that HR feels that a robo-recruiter will do?

    I think not, and I likely would think that way if I were job hunting from underneath a park bench. But long before you or I are living under a park bench, we should get together and talk about what sort of business we can put into some of the millions of square feet of empty commercial space that every city seems to have available.