Sperm

First published on my Recruitomatic Blog on August 14, 2006


Coming to terms with my place in the blogosphere and the sorry realization that my esoteric writing cannot compete for readers in the bubble of recruitment blogging, I have decided to revert to a more traditional use for my weblog.

I shall write as if my posts were entries to a personal diary. The advantage of this is that I can now say what I like without having to pander to the sensibilities of those I once sought out for approval or acceptance. And no more replies to fallacious arguments, I’m done. I have ripped out the ability to count page views and the number of feeds from my WordPress dashboard. I will not be monetizing my site. Metrics? Phooey.

From now on I shall try to work out the details of a thing through the creative process of blogging, "musing" in blog-speak and posting a la Recruitomatique

Realizing there may be one or two who might want to read my entries – to fill their own void or loneliness perhaps – I will keep my sentences short. Uncomplicated. Not too intense. I will lighten up. Let the real me shine through.

If you are a recruitment blogger, one of the self-absorbed or self-serving or self-important – take your pick – or just a gentle reader, before you abandon me, disgusted that there is nothing of value here, a thought or two so that our brief time together may not be entirely wasted…

When putting your jobs online, try using a title for your post that will give the potential hire – that "one in a million" – something to identify you as different from the countless other indistinguishable posts they have to wade through. For example, "Sales Representative" does not differentiate you or your job from the teeming tadpoles out there.

I’m not suggesting you title your posts "Sperm" – although clearly you could – but something that will get your post noticed may also be considered the first step in the screening process too. How about: "SALES PERSON High energy go-getter for FT sales position. Are you confident and like people?" I might apply for something like that myself, if I lived in Roanoke. I guess sometimes finding just the right candidate at just the right time and in just the right place is a little bit like swimming up the primordial river pleading: "Me! Me-me! Me-me-me! Me-me-me-me!" No wonder some job boards are making so much mo-mo-mo-mo-money.

Similarly, consider the number of resumes online for American recruiters. I am told that Monster has 43 million resumes, CareerBuilder has 18 million resumes, and HotJobs around 24 million resumes of its own. Now, assume that 20% of those resumes are duplicated – is that a reasonable assumption? If so, that would add 17 million more resumes to the mix. We now have 102 million resumes available on the big-three boards. Let’s say, 10 thousand assorted job boards comprise the balance – a conservative number is it not, or beyond belief? Can we say each of those would have, what, five thousand resumes apiece? Is that a reasonable number? If so, all that means – without counting the resumes posted on association sites, alumni pages, and personal websites and so on, or the profiles on ZoomInfo and LinkedIn for example – there are at least 152 million resumes available online for U.S. headhunters and body snatchers. Golly!

Now, I will concede that for all practical purposes we can sift, sort, select and screen from the absurdly large number of resumes to narrow down the pool of candidates to a manageable number. And of course, no one could possibly access all of the resumes online at any one time. Who would want to? And many will report, despite every technological advantage, they cannot surface enough qualified candidates to fill their few open positions. I think I understand that.

The point is, just as every one of the up to 500 million sperm in each teaspoon carries the 99.99999% certainty that its mission will fail, it requires that critical mass for the single successful spermatozoa to fulfill its purpose. Without the millions and millions of resumes available online, the one that makes a difference – that one that consummates the search – could never be realized. My God, the creation of life – like finding the perfect candidate – is a marvelous thing, isn’t it? It makes me sing, "Hallelujah!" every time we make a hire and "Amen!" when they decide to stay.

According to David Sifry, the aptly named Technorati has just tracked the 50 millionth blog. The number of daily posts has doubled in the last 12 months to around 1.6 million posts per day. Therefore, the odds of you landing here are similar to the odds of my survival swimming the English Channel, if you get my drift.

Again, as with the number of jobs and resumes posted online, and the one-in-a-few-million probability of their potential being realized, the number of blogs and daily posts makes our union here an event that is truly miraculous. The scale of this thing is awesome – infinitely immense and at the same time, infinitesimally small. In my quest to understand the implications of this I somehow think Albert Einstein has some of what I’m looking for. Is that possible?

So, here we are – you and me – about to get down to the germination of a new idea for this cozy and insular place we call the "Recruitosphere", pregnant with possibilities. Are you ready? Are you sure? Come a little closer then…

Thesis: Each little spermy-thing is essentially comprised of three distinct parts: the bit on top – the head, of course – contains the nucleus, the code, the payload or, if you will, the post; the middle bit is the engine that powers the entire thing, like the internet, perhaps? The last part that propels the package through time and space, the long tail, is like, well, The Long Tail.

This combination of post, internet and driving force makes a randomly inimitable output possible most every time. Again, just as one zoosperm is quite indistinguishable from the next, indistinguishable job-, resume- and blog postings contain within them the potential to spawn great things – unlikely, but possible and purposefully – as if by some intelligent design.

Antithesis: Clearly an antecedent of modern talent management, Aldous Huxley in Brave New World explores a society where stability is based on a scientifically engineered caste system, not quite like the one Gautam Ghosh describes in a recent comment, but close enough to cross reference here. Human beings, manufactured through the re-engineering of sperm, are graded from brilliant intellectuals – like our modern day Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning – to the lowest menial workers, hatched from incubators and brought up in communal nurseries. Interestingly enough, posts titled like this one stand testimony to the "hive of industry"” where much of the action happens in Huxley’s prophetic book.

Synthesis: If we can accept that a) sperm might represent aspects of the recruiters’ experience online, and parallels the incalculable numbers of individual posts needed to bring forth the realization of just one; and b) by applying a futuristic view of science and technology to workforce and succession planning we can better control the outcomes for a well-ordered society, it follows:

A single blog post can be used to intelligently make the case for both developing a systematic approach to talent management and the incorporation of blogging as part of that strategic, but possibly boring, process. There you have it, in a nutshell.

In comparison with award-winning posts, this is a rather long post, I know. But, before you complain – tired and drained of energy – please evaluate the alternatives, given your own busy schedules and concertinaed attention spans:

1. Tempered by Fire: Where HR Is. Where It Needs to Go courtesy of Mercer Human Resources & Harvard Business School Publishing;

2. Next-Generation Talent Management: Insights on How Workforce Trends Are Changing the Face of Talent Management authored by Elissa Tucker, Tina Kao, and Nidhi Verma from Hewitt Associates; or

3. It’s 2008: Do You Know Where Your Talent Is? Why Acquisition and Retention Strategies Don’t Work published by Deloitte Research…

…and that’s just for starters.

Surely it would be easier to march into the boardroom, where for so long we have protested HR’s right to a place at the table, and say: “As it relates to the problems we face today, in all matters affecting our talent management and workforce planning, we have closely examined sperm and have drawn some meaningful conclusions. Respectfully, we would now like to present our findings to the Board.”

Sterile white papers, sanitized studies and loveless tomes hibernate in locked cryogenic chambers, frozen behind closed doors. They have their place for sure, and hold the promise of great things too. There can be no question of that. But so do our promiscuous blogs, don’t they? Nothing "in vitro" here, gentle reader, nothing at all.

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