badWho’s really bad in today’s HR Technology world?

  • Companies that actually spend money on software that peeps at employees and people they want to recruit?
  • HR Technology companies that make the software?
  • Investors who could be gambling their cash away in Monte Carlo? (And seeing a show?)
  • HR executives who brag that they’re peeping at employees who might be doing the nasty nasty with some other employer?

Who’s Bad?

A reader sent me this gem today, from the Washington Post:

This software start-up can tell your boss if you’re looking for a job

I’d love your take on it. I see a few things in the story of Joberate, a company that:

“scrapes publicly available data from millions of individuals’ online social media accounts, or buys it from other parties, to assign what it calls a ‘J-Score’ that estimates their level of job search activity, likening it to a FICO score.”

(Yuck. Digital dumpster diving. Scraping the bottom. Bad.)

First, I’d love a list of Joberate’s customers — so I could advise you to quit your job there if you have one, because who wants to work for a company that invests more in peeking at what you’re doing than it does in making sure you’re a happy employee? But alas, Joberate’s customers don’t want to be identified. (Ah… busted doing the nasty nasty… send the PR manager into fits!)

Second, I’d like five minutes with the HR jokers who convinced their companies to buy into this tracking technology: Where are you hiding? Don’t you have a real job?

Third, I have a few words for “Brian Kropp, who leads human resources consulting for CEB, which has a venture capital arm that’s an investor in Joberate”: You’re an HR executive and an investor? Do you write HR Technology software?

Finally, to Joberate’s chief executive, Michael Beygelman: Close scrutiny and analysis of public media (I did a big-data dump of the Washington Post and ran it through my algorithm) reveals you should be looking for a new job, even though you’re not. Or maybe you are. Someone could check. If anybody cared.

HR Technology + LinkedIn = Really Bad

I always check out people worth writing about. Mr. Beygelman’s LinkedIn profile reveals something you really ought to care about. (Hey, it’s a public profile, anybody can look at it without scraping anything.) He wrote an article titled “LinkedIn changes to InMail policy create business case for Joberate technology.”

Here’s the nugget:

“Instead of sending blind InMails to potential candidates on LinkedIn, recruiters can now use Joberate technology to track job seeking behavior of people they’re interested in contacting.”

HR can be bad with Joberate, but LinkedIn helps recruiters be really bad. Now you’re going to see where all those silly LinkedIn In-mails you get from “headhunters” come from — an algorithm that links up Joberate with your favorite junk-mail purveyor:

found-you“When Joberate technology tells the recruiter that a person’s J-Score went up, it means that person’s job seeking behavior has increased, alerting the recruiter when it becomes the ideal time to contact a potential candidate. At that point a recruiter can send an InMail to a prospective candidate whose job seeking behavior and activities have just increased.”

Whoo-wee! Thanks to HR Technology, a recruiter (or your boss — whoever pays for Joberate!) found you looking for a job! Kinda like looking in your peephole.

Who’s bad?

Would you hire Michael Beygelman? Would you invest your money with Brian Kropp? Do you worry Joberate is watching you? Is it time to turn off InMails on your LinkedIn account? Do we really need more software companies?

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  1. The people that should get blamed for Joberate are the executives who approve HR technology purchases, instead of simply telling HR to talk to employees, candidates and managers.

    A good hint that the whole thing is a bad idea is the fact that the customers do not want to be named. If your HR practices cannot stand public scrutiny then you are doing something wrong. The employers using it are likely going to out themselves when they start confronting employees, and word will get out quickly to start using aliases when job hunting.

    I just don’t think that this service adds any real value, it’s a poorly thought out technology problem for a problem that technology cannot address. Joberate would never tell you why people are leaving, once the decision is made to leave it is normally already too late to reverse and when your staff find out that you are spying on them all trust will be lost.

    • “If your HR practices cannot stand public scrutiny then you are doing something wrong.”

      What an indictment.

  2. But, wait a minute, I thought companies didn’t want candidates who are looking for a job, they only want “passive” candidates, i.e. those who are NOT looking…? I’m so confused!

    • They want to identify them so they can be screened out.

    • Nothing wrong with being confused. It’s confusing. The technology and the product in this case are confusing because they don’t make sense. Joberate is producing a crap product that makes no sense — but HR is buying it anyway because HR will eat anything put on its plate if the sign says “technology” and/or “social media.”

      You SHOULD be confused because someone is doing something ridiculous.

      Michael nails it above: “If your HR practices cannot stand public scrutiny then you are doing something wrong.”

      What’s really shocking is the utter stupidity and gullibility of an investment company like CEB putting money into something like this. Er, ah, well, maybe it makes total sense. It’s the “human resources consulting arm” of CEB that’s doing it. Need anyone say more? HR sticking another HR technology needle in its arm?

      Nothing confusing about that.

  3. Btw, looks like we’ve all been mercifully spared this ridiculous bit of “HR technology” —

    “I Got Scammed By A Silicon Valley Startup,”

    Company was WrkRiot aka Jobsonic. From Crunchbase: “Taking the search out of job search with a patent pending customized platform utilizing NLP and Machine Learning” and “We do this by allowing a person’s resumes to be matched through signal classifications to every job posting on the web within their desired industries, salaries and locations in real time. Not only are their resumes matched, but the job postings will be ranked in order from the highest possible choices to the lowest.”

    I get so much warm fuzzies from that phrase “signal classification”…

    • Sheesh: Talent problem solved! Every human being on the planet has been matched to a job.

      Now, march!

      Thanks for posting this. It’s a good lesson all around, not just about startups.

    • I had to go back and look up the Crunchbase record for WrkRiot aka Jobsonic. (They do keep changing names, don’t they? Running from the VCs, I suppose.)

      The stupidity of venture investors is just incredible. I had to read that line for myself: Taking the search out of job search.

      They got seed funding. Want to open a lemonade stand online?

  4. Seeing as my credit reports (which determine my FICO score) always seem to have incorrect information in them, I’d put little credit (pun intended) in a person’s “J-score.”

    On the other hand, it’d be fun to turn the tables on employers who use this. I bet it won’t be long until some companies promote their average “J-score” to show how satisfied employees are. It’d make a great conversation piece if you’d determined during the interview that you didn’t want to work at a company:

    Interviewer: “So, do you have any questions for us?”
    Candidate: “Yes. Your average J-score is rather high compared to other companies I’m talking to. Why do you suppose so many of your employees are looking elsewhere?”

  5. Nick,

    You should check this out.

    My thought: it ain’t gonna fix the hiring process.

  6. It is amazing how the hiring process as gotten so high jacked by these B.S. schemes. I came across I have never heard of them before but it looks like a lot of big companies are profiled. It seems like a cross between Glassdoor and Linkedin but appears to be geared toward service industry and other unskilled or low skilled jobs based on my quick look.