The era of social computing in the Talent Management space has many storylines. One that is particularly interesting involves a fast-emerging solution provider called Zapoint and what they have accomplished in very short order. Founded in 2007, Zapoint secured its first round of funding in 2008, then acquired social job search site Jobster two years later. They recently signed a deal with HR.com to offer Zapoint’s software to that organization’s members, and have steadily been bringing in customers around the globe.
Zapoint’s solutions help to remove the ambiguity and subjectivity inherent in screening candidates based on their resumes, a capability set that certainly applies to evaluating internal candidates for positions as well. Many Talent Acquisition solutions incorporate algorithms to systematically rank candidates based on different criteria, but the uniqueness of Zapoint’s offering comes in the form of a business-relevant and elegantly visual graph of an individual’s personal, educational and professional experiences over time. It is business-relevant because the user of this information can readily see when and how an individual initially developed, further enhanced and specifically utilized various skills over the course of their life -- and not just in the context of professional or job experiences.
Why is this capability set, which Zapoint’s principals aptly named the Life Chart, potentially game-changing for the Talent Management arena? Here are three reasons:
• There is a universal recognition that “false negatives” (or job candidates screened out of the process who would have made great hires and contributors) are more damaging to an organization than “false positives” (or job candidates who turn out to be regrettable hires). As Bill Gates has said, a top-notch software developer can deliver $1 billion in value to Microsoft over the course of their career, so if they don’t join the company, that’s the equivalent of a $1 billion dollar missed opportunity. In contrast, a mid-level professional who doesn’t work out perhaps costs a company between $100,000 and $200,000 in direct labor costs and other business liabilities -- depending on how the company manages the situation.
To illustrate how Zapoint’s Life Chart could be a better hiring or talent decision tool than a resume or profile, consider the case of a management-level job candidate who took 18 months off for maternity leave during which time they became an avid blogger on business issues -- or perhaps pursued on-line courses in change management. Alternatively, let’s consider a similar candidate who took 2 years off for military leave -- or possibly 3 years off during a lengthy career to pursue an opportunity with the Peace Corps. These chronological lapses on a resume can easily cause a person to be screened out of a recruiting process. With Life Chart, however, any relevant skills being developed or sharpened during periods away from one’s chosen profession will all be presented in a way that is most engaging; i.e., nearly impossible to overlook.
This is not to suggest that Zapoint’s system is best leveraged in situations where job candidates have taken a leave of absence from work. These particular examples were given to highlight one of many possible instances where a resume or employee profile might otherwise “bury” very valuable information about an individual’s true capabilities, potential and developmental pursuits – it is that simple.
• Secondly, Zapoint recently embarked on an exciting and likely disruptive (in a good way) initiative using their SkillsMapper Talent Management software (the technology that underlies Life Chart) to provide skills maps to 300 of the world’s largest and most successful companies. The reason why this is very exciting and likely disruptive is because the skills maps are being developed without any collaboration with these 300 large employers. They are 100 percent built from social media and other employee-published data freely available on the internet.
• Finally, the Zapoint team is now offering these skills maps packages to dozens of forward-thinking employers who see the value this type of capability set represents in support of a much more employee-driven approach to career management and professional development.
The Zapoint Life Chart:
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Dr. Katherine Jones brings years of experience in HR and Talent Management and the technologies
that support a productive workforce. She writes about the technology ecosystem's
use in improving people management for optimal business results.
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