The Cloud

Still Hiring the Same Old Way?

Sifting through piles of résumés is tedious, inefficient, and expensive. The cloud may offer an opportunity for real process improvement.
David RosenbaumMarch 2, 2012

In the latest Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook survey, more than a quarter of the responding CFOs said they increased accounting staff in the past two years. In fact, the biggest growth in jobs right now seems to be occurring in the professional and business-services sector. But chances are the majority of those organizations are still hiring the old-fashioned way: posting openings and sifting through piles of résumés.

For Esker, a French-based, publicly traded document-automation company that has gone from 220 full-time employees to 280 in the past two years, that process of reviewing résumés, commenting on them, and ranking candidates was rendered even more time-consuming: everything ultimately needed to be shared with headquarters in Lyons before a hire could be made. Because hiring is a paper-based, standardized (yet critical) business process, Esker managing director and U.S. COO Steve Smith figured it was ripe for automation and began thinking about building a tool to do just that. After all, Esker is in the business of automating document processing. Why not digitize all those résumés to make them searchable by the skills Esker was looking for?

Before beginning to build his imagined tool, Smith and his human-resources director went online and discovered existing products similar to one they were imagining. They determined it would cost Esker far less to buy the capability than to build it. “I looked at three tools,” recalls Smith. “[With the first,] we would have had to install software, so I quickly turned away from that. Another didn’t have the functionality I wanted.” The third product was Unrabble, a cloud-based, software-as-a-service hiring tool that eliminates the paper. Indeed, it eliminated résumés altogether.

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“I haven’t looked at a résumé in nine months,” Smith says with a sense of relief to which many executives involved in hiring can relate. “And I won’t look at résumés any more. If a candidate approaches me the old-fashioned way and sends me a résumé, I send the person the link to the tool and tell [him he’s] got to go through this process. Within 30 seconds, I can tell if it’s worth my time looking into this person.”

Unrabble is browser-based. Instead of a traditional résumé, a candidate fills out an online form, and the hiring company can then sort applications based on whomever it believes best fills the job requirements. The Unrabble tool is searchable (job experience and companies can be checked), interactive (candidates can be ranked), and, as it’s web-based, easily be shared with any number of people, even if they may be in Lyons.

Smith deployed Unrabble about nine months ago after a free trial (“Just log in and it’s ready to go,” he says.) and estimates it’s reduced the amount of time Esker spends on hiring by 20% to 30%. The premium service costs $49 per month for 10 open positions; more than that, the price goes up. “I haven’t run it through an ROI calculator,” Smith says, “and I haven’t calculated the dollar savings. But if you figure just my time alone, and what I’m paid, and the time I’ve saved — it’s more than paid for itself.”

Smith mentions that Unrabble also allows him to search a candidate’s Facebook pages and LinkedIn profiles without having to hunt for them on the web. And if the candidate doesn’t have those pages? “If I’m looking for a sales rep and he doesn’t have LinkedIn, it makes me wonder,” says Smith. “Facebook, not so much. I consider that social. But if a candidate has a business network on LinkedIn and Twitter, that’s a positive for me.”