…or TalentSprung?

I can’t decide what I think of the newest (and some say hottest) tool for crowdsourcing recruiting. TalentSpring was launched last month as a way to provide job seekers with a way to distinguish themselves from the crowd, and as a way to allow companies to have access to qualified candidates quickly and efficiently. TalentSpring uses a peer ranking system: in order for you to have your resume included, you have to agree to rank 12 sets of mini resumes, side-by-side, and indicate which candidate you would more likely interview. The mini resume should include the top three professional accomplishments for the candidate, so it should give the casual reviewer at least an idea of the candidate’s “quality.”

Overall, the theory is that the cream rises to the top. Each candidate receives a ranking score based on the number of times his/her mini resume is selected, and the higher the score, the more likely a recruiter would want to see that candidate.

This brings me to my issues…

Okay, okay... I know it’s a Beta product. But, that said, why do they still have all their test data up? When I go in to rank candidates, I get page after page of “candidates” who are actually test records. Their mini-resumes are all exactly the same:

Best Website Ever
Best Website

It’s frustrating, because there are so many fake records, and so few real records. If you’re going to do a media blitz, get out to your database and clean it up so that people can see the real benefits of the product.

Second, they use these horrible code names. I’m Orange-2. I went to Texas A&M. I abhor orange. Why can’t I pick my own codename? My guess is that it is because if people were able to choose their own code names, they might put in their email addresses, thereby making it easier for recruiters to contact them outside of TalentSpring without having to pay the TalentSpring subscription prices.  I can understand their need to protect their revenue stream, but there must be a better way.

The job categorization needs a lot of work. As it is right now, you have to drill down level after level after level to find resumes, and at the end, you may not even have resumes that offer what you need!

Also, I found myself being asked to rate resumes from domains about which I know nothing. If they actually had real resumes in there, I would have been lost – I have no idea whether implementing an ISO-9000 Quality effort successfully is that important in 2007. I just don’t have that expertise. TalentSpring knows what I do have expertise in, and it should use that to determine the people I am asked to rate.

While I’m on the rating topic… I wonder if people will go out and rate the obviously less-qualified candidates as more impressive than the more qualified candidates in an effort to make their own rankings appear better. Given some of the people I’ve encountered over my career, especially when I was a consultant, I see this as a real risk. That makes me less apt to trust the rating system.

Overall, TalentSpring has a unique business proposition. If they can move it forward, and take care of some of the glaring issues with the system as it is today, it might well change the face of recruiting. Otherwise, it will just be another great idea, poorly implemented: TalentSprung.