A candidate enters the interview room. You’ve studied their CV, reviewed their portfolio and validated their test scores. Now, here’s where it gets really interesting. They’re about to show you their robot(s) and the impact that they have on their performance.
This scenario is surely going to become more common in the enterprise as we see more ‘augmented’ workers – i.e., people who bring their own Intellectual Property to the job to help them achieve more. For example, I know a recruitment consultant who used her engineering background to develop an automated search bot to find the most relevant candidates from across multiple sites.
Increasingly, all the best candidates will have some form of digital differentiator they can bring to the interview table.
Innovation is the new knowledge
I think this is due to the shift in how we retain knowledge in the digital age. Knowledge is everywhere now. If my tap is leaking at home, I can watch a YouTube video and learn exactly how to fix it. I don’t necessarily need to search the classifieds or get a recommendation for a plumber.
So when it comes to recruitment, perhaps we should be looking less for certain existing skills or a specific level of knowledge – because it’s all easily accessible and easy to learn, digitally. As employers, maybe we should be more interested in the unique IP that candidates can bring, whether it’s a software bot, a set of macros or a unique algorithm. Alternatively, a generalist with excellent knowledge management skills may be able to adapt more quickly to changing demands than a specialist.
This will raise some issues as to how we go about assessing candidates in the future. The recruitment process could be run totally differently, more as a ‘showcase’ of the candidate’s ‘robot portfolio’ as applied to problem solving.
Of course, there are a number of questions this would raise, for example:
- If the candidate is able to work more efficiently with their own tools than their peers, they may believe their time is worth more than the package on offer. We may see an increase in piece work rather than salaries.
- Legal complications could occur too. If those tools were developed in time paid for by a previous employer, who would technically own the IP? Could it be challenged? What protections would need to be established?
- Perhaps there are IT or security concerns as well, when you consider people bringing their own technologies to bear on business data of varying sensitivity.
An augmented workforce is quite a new idea – and there are lots of unknowns. But we need to start thinking about how to embrace it and make it work for both employee and employer. The benefits for both are exciting and still largely unexplored.