Most organisations still rely on agencies and surveys to source the best talent and optimise engagement. In an age where we can accurately measure IQ and personality in milliseconds, why is our job market still low-tech and cumbersome?

Information age markets

Everyone loves eBay. We can buy anything we like from anyone in the world at any time without fear of being cheated. Alongside AirBnB, Transferwise and other platforms, eBay has enabled peer-to-peer economy. Not only that, but in-built reputation and price adjustment systems have made it easier and safer for business to enter and prosper in this digital space. These 21st century ecosystems are products of the information age, and may provide a model for the job market of the future.

An end to HR?

The information age ‘employee’ will be motivated to self-improve by engaging digitally with the specific tasks and responsibilities best suited to their unique abilities. In an eBay-style job market, one can be a broadcaster before breakfast, a lawyer over lunch and a designer before dinner.

If we had the data tools to assess our own strengths and weaknesses, it could mean the end of HR as we know it. One could self- match to career paths, like buyers to products, using a powerful online recommendation system with in-built reputation, price adjustment and privacy features.

The cold start problem

These tools already exist but their adoption is far from widespread. Computerised adaptive testing has revolutionised psychometric testing and machine-learning models have definitively brought assessment out of the lab. However, unlike the tremendous progress that we have observed in retail and hospitality in the last decade, the job market is more fragmented than ever.

Employers face the question today of how to establish trust tomorrow. We will see greater use of data for HR, but attitudes must change first. The answer lies in focusing on ability, assessment and personalisation, as opposed to performance, judgment and prescription. Are you up to the task?