TQT: The Perils of Resume Aggregators

TQT: The Perils of Resume Aggregators

Today’s quick thought is about using aggregator sites to hire.

I was talking with a hiring director recently and he introduced me to a new concept I had not heard before. It’s called ‘whitefonting’ - here’s how it works.

These sites - think indeed, monster, etc - use algorithms to pull candidates together and present them to you, Mr. or Ms. Hirer, based on your search criteria. Let’s say you wanted to hire an employee for retail sales with 6 months of experience.

Let’s also say you wanted this person to be ‘friendly’, ‘customer oriented’, ‘optimistic’, and ‘good with people.’ Those are all good qualities for a retail sales associate.

So the algorithm goes off looking through the 10 jillion (...that’s a technical term...) resumes they have in their database to look for the terms that guided your search. Once it finds them, it sends them to your inbox so you can look at them.

As tech savvy youngsters tend to discover, there’s a way to game the system called ‘whitefonting’. It’s just like it sounds: people put all different terms and words in white font on their resumes and personal information to get the system to pick them up in searches and deliver them to your inbox. You can’t see it but the algorithm can.

It’s devilishly smart and good for the applicant, but very bad for you as the person hiring. Because you have no idea whether this person is even remotely close to what you are looking for, but they have some amount of credibility simply by landing in your inbox.

This is another example of how hiring the right person is becoming more difficult, even as our tools for doing so become more powerful. Never forget: a resume is not data - it is creative writing.

If you want to hire the right person the first time, let us know. That’s exactly what we help our clients do.