Job Wars. Using Technology to evaluate Immigration Candidates for jobs in Canada
In the old days, employers would make connections with local recruiters in international countries in order to find overseas candidates. Basically, this was the only way to properly evaluate talent in a timely manner.
Of course, those days are quickly coming to an end. Employers and governments are starting to understand that computers are better at evaluating international candidates than humans and are embracing technology as the new weapons of evaluation against all international candidates. Hopefully, you are ready to do battle in these new technological job wars. If not, it may be a long time before you find a job and immigrate overseas.
Remember that person in your local town who knew someone that could get you a job overseas? Sure, you had to hand over a few thousand dollars with little or no guarantee of success to find an overseas job. However, in theory that person was trusted by the international employer to find people who were smart, dedicated and competent enough to take a risk on and bring overseas.
Unfortunately, we all know that humans are imperfect creatures of judgment. All humans carry biases based on race, religion, gender, friendships and what people refer to as overall gut feel. For years, employers have had to put up with the many flaws of humans helping humans move overseas. If a perfect candidate walked into a recruiter’s office in an overseas country, there was no guarantee that this person would be presented to the international employer over a cousin or good friend of the recruiter. Perhaps even a little bit of money could cast a favourable light on someone who really had no business interviewing for a position.
So, employers and governments waited and waited for something to help them evaluate international candidates from afar. Everyone knew that this something was what industrial and organizational psychologists refer to as predictive analytics for hiring or ‘Smart Recruiting’. Recruiters have given the whole practice the grandiose name of “Big Data”, but basically it is the idea that computer algorithms combined with significant data sets, can more effectively understand people, determine personality, and most importantly make hiring recommendations.
Undoubtedly, there is controversy and skepticism towards the whole notion of Smart Recruiting. Many old school international recruiters will tell you that there is no substitute for personal interaction and knowledge in the recruiting field, and that humans are still the best method to help people find jobs and immigrate overseas. Of course, one big thing has changed in the last decade that makes the argument for computers over humans extremely compelling, and that is the Internet has delivered the ultimate data set.
The use of an almost unlimited amount of publicly available data to determine international candidate fit has become an intoxicating proposition for employers and governments. Add up all the public information contained in your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google search information and there is a treasure trove of data for an algorithm to evaluate and determine if you are a good fit for a specific company. Even better, any company can perform this search without you even knowing or being able to affect the conditions.
For example, look at how IBM has developed an algorithm running on its Watson supercomputer to compare personality fit using Twitter accounts. (See - https://developer.ibm.com/bluemix/2014/11/24/twitter-personality-comparisons-using-watson/). Want to see if someone is a good fit with a company? Simply compare that persons Twitter handle with a corporate Twitter handle and Watson will return an evaluation in nanoseconds. Now think of all the public information available on every potential international candidate and you can see why employers are salivating at the chance to abandon humans and hire computers to help them find international candidates.
Even governments are jumping on the computers are better than humans at helping people immigrate bandwagon. In Canada we have a computer system called Express Entry to determine who will be offered permanent residency immigration status in Canada. Basically, it is a fancy computer algorithm that compares all international candidates in any given month and provides them with a score and rank. How the algorithm works, and what data set it utilizes is a government secret. But it is clear that technology is becoming an increasingly important tool or weapon to be used against international candidates trying to find a job and immigrate to Canada.
So, what can the international candidate do to fight back in this technological job war? Obviously, you have to know how the technologies work and be acutely aware of what data points potentially trigger the algorithms of computer decision-making software. A lot of this is guesswork, but some of it is obvious. If you claim to be a positive candidate but 90% of your public data set implies negativity, then you have a big problem. No one will ever be able to figure out how computers determine fit, that is the point of using computers over humans, but you can at least have some awareness of what is going on.
More importantly, you can fight back using technology. Really, there are two ways technology can be used to help the international candidate equalize the balance of power in the technological job wars. First, technology can help you strike fast by contacting employers who have a great propensity to hire international workers as soon as they post a job position. Second, technology can help you strike often. Employers view Smart Recruiting as a numbers game, just put everyone into the computer and see who fits best. International candidates should use technology to take the same approach. Use technology to apply to as many employers as possible, and eventually, with enough refinement, a result will become possible.
Technology is bringing in new opportunities for employers to find, and more importantly evaluate, international candidates. But at the same time, international candidates cannot wait and hope that technology will point an electronic finger in their direction. What is the best approach? Act fast, act often and start using computers to help you find a job and immigrate to Canada.