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Appropriate tech

appropriate techSpeaking of appropriate tech (were we?), have you played Wordle? Oh, why do I ask – of course you have! Everyone I know, from the hippest GenZ to the doddering edge of the Baby Boomers, has managed at least a round or two. Probably more, as it’s as addictive as Lay’s Potato Chips. I enjoy it because I’m a word guy – and I’m much too lazy to get involved in crosswords or Scrabble or any of the other ‘word games’. One of the key things that makes Wordle work, in my opinion – apart from its ingenious game play – is that it uses appropriate tech. The tech is not flashy or resource-intensive – it simply serves the purpose of the game.

There is a lesson here for our industry. Tech should serve the users of our services – not impede them. Whether you run a mobile-first, profile-driven matching tool, or a niche job board with industry-specific profiles and search tools, your site should help candidates find the right employers – and help employers find the right candidates. All too often tech is used as a flashy (no pun intended) advertisement: ‘Hey, Ms. Candidate! Look here! Look at our super cool 360-degree rotating view of your potential employer’s office! Doesn’t that free lunch look good? How about those views from the 33rd floor?‘ (Never mind that in fact the employer has decided to go with remote-only for the near future!).  The tech has literally grabbed the candidate’s attention – but it hasn’t actually helped her in finding the right-fit job.

Then again, sometimes tech is an answer that management drags out when investors are wondering why the business isn’t doing better. “We’re introducing our new multi-phase matching system in Q2, which we know will increase applies and hires by 15%!” I’ve been in the management room for that one, sorry to say. Tech is an excuse, a CYA, a deflection.

Sometimes tech becomes unusable not out of any devious intent, but because it is being asked to solve an unsolvable problem. What’s the number one request from employers? “I want quality candidates.” So tech is thrown against the challenge of ‘quality candidates’; the only problem with that is, if you have 100 employers, you will have 100 definitions of ‘quality candidates’. (Or maybe more!).

So when you see a simple but ingenious game like Wordle that has subsumed the tech to serve the game, it’s a reminder that in the best job boards and recruiting platforms, that’s exactly what appropriate tech does: it serves the goal of connecting candidate to employer.  It doesn’t call attention to itself. It doesn’t increase friction. It just works. 

Tech is critical to your business’s success. But don’t let it be the master of your business – instead, use it to serve your users. Use appropriate tech – appropriately.

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