Revolutionizing Social Media Sourcing: Interview with Peter Kazanjy, TalentBin

I had the opportunity to interview Peter Kazanjy (@Kazanjy), one of the cofounders of TalentBin, and what a great focus and company! As with most cool concepts, this one started out as a need. Peter and the other co-founder were product managers at VMware and eBay respectively, and were often in the role of hiring manager. During their day jobs – they came to the conclusion that resumes often were a very one dimensional view of a person, and also could be easily manipulated. As long as the right words were on the page – the candidate could get an interview. Peter then went on a trail to figure out how to get more transparency into the actual applicants – trying to find out what the “real truth” is.

The Talentbin Concept:
What they realized is that due to social media and internet, people are leaving all sorts of artifacts out in the internet that show a better version of who we really are. Here is an example of a working hypothesis – compare these two profiles:

Candidate #1 – submits an application development  resume with lots of languages listed on it 
Candidate #2 – submits a resume with iOS development listed on it, they tweet a LOT about iOS development releases, answers a lot of questions on stackoverflow, and submitted code on github

Between the two – which one would be more interesting to interview? Obviously the later one, but absent a good user interface, and system – it would take a really focused person to find out all of that information.

The Talentbin Offering:
So the company has started mining all sorts of data repositories to find these artifacts (which by the way is apparently called “Social Exhaust” in Silicon Valley). For instance, they are pulling in tumblr, youtube, twitter, the entire US patent database, pubmed, and many, many more. So as a recruiter, you can go in, and search for people and see how they truly match their keyword searches.

Plus you can go in from the main interface and easily click thru to see what the person’s “artifacts” are.

Industry Offerings:
What is pretty cool, is that Talentbin has focused on adding certain professions at a time. For instance, for IT professionals, they found all of the cool sites that IT professionals and coders hang out (e.g. open source communities, etc.). Then they moved on the biotech industry, and focused on medical papers, etc.

How much Data? Average resume is 75kb
Given the technical slant of the blog, it was pretty cool to think about this from a recruiting data perspective. Today, most recruiters see a resume, and maybe a linkedin profile – so lets assume 1 meg of data at most. Whereas, Talentbin is focused on adding a ton more of usable data to the recruiters. They have quickly grown to having over 500 million profiles in their system (Keep in mind the US only has 311 Million people – so this is a massive database).

I was all focused on the increase in data, and Peter pointed out that this part is not really the important part. The important he explained was the strength and/or frequency of the data. So if you had someone that had on their resume immunotherapy research, and another person had published ten papers on the immunotherapy topic – the second person is the likely better candidate.

As a result, their system not only mines the data, but does a tremendous amount of post-processing to extract, index and find those connections.

The Results? 
They are still privately held, and they have over 150 clients using their system. From a metrics perspective, they don’t have any complete case studies yet – but anecdotally and intuitively this new tool for the recruiters should easily impact time to hire.

But in terms of market response, Talentbin was deemed one of the top 5 new HR technologies at the 2012 HR Technology show this year. If Bill Kutik is saying it’s cool – thats a pretty good endorsement.

Try it yourself:
Talentbin has produced a public version of the site that is available as an iOS application. Here is where you can download it.

Sourcing is just going to get cooler, and cooler!
It is very cool to see companies like this working so hard to try to get better information into the recruiters hands, and due to the nature of the internet – the quality and volume of the information is growing exponentially. What an amazing time of innovation for the talent acquisition industry!

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