The job market is in a continual, rapid state of flux flux— change so constant that it’s forcing companies to keep up with the times. New skills, investments in research, machine learning: they’re all things that are contributing to new ways of finding and choosing employees. The digital transformation is a huge opportunity for companies that want to optimize costs, human resources and investments. For people looking for jobs right now, positive attitudes toward change and innovation are especially vital.
It’s in this direction that companies like JustKnock are moving. This digital platform puts young job seekers in communication with multinationals focusing on ideas and creativity. We met up with the young founder Marianna Poletti.
How did you get the idea for JustKnock?
JustKnock is the first platform that helps people find work by sending ideas instead of a CV. With this system, the first phase evaluates candidates based on the ideas they present without sharing their identity with the company. JustKnock came about from the desire to meet a need that I’d identified at the start of my own career. After I finished my degree studies, I set off to find my first job in the classic way: by sending out my resumé. I felt that I couldn’t fully express my motivation or personality, and this added to my doubts on whether companies could understand a person’s true potential from an anonymous CV. That inspired me to revolutionize the process. JustKnock was established with the goal to help people apply for jobs in a unique way— through their ideas—and to be able to stand out more effectively from the pile of identical applications on an HR person’s desk.
What are the future plans for the platform?
I’m proud of the results we’ve achieved in just over 3 years, and the effectiveness of our model. Our team works with the knowledge that, in order to achieve our ambitious goals of expanding both on an international level and in terms of volume, we need to constantly innovate our own product. This means improving the process of automating “Job Call” generation through machine learning technology, and to make the process more seamless for the hiring company.
Lots of companies are investing in artificial intelligence and AR technologies for recruiting and hiring. What are your thoughts on this?
At JustKnock we firmly believe that the digital side of things has to help and enhance the human side but not try to substitute it. Research from the World Economic Forum says that by 2030, more than 40% of manual and mechanical jobs will be done by robots. So what will count more than ever are not going to be technical skills, they’ll be soft skills—the ones that make human beings unique (creativity, empathy, critical thinking and problem solving).
You can read about the recent case with Amazon, who decided to use AI to hire programmers. The result was that the machine automatically discarded all female applicants because the data—and therefore the CVs used to teach the machine—had been affected by internalized prejudice, transmitted through the choices of the people who did the initial screening. In summary, we think that machines can be effective as long as they are only used to support people, especially when we’re talking about using them in the context of HUMAN resources.
So what exactly should companies be doing to make sure they hire the right people?
As we’ve said, one of the biggest challenges for HR will be identifying the right candidates and looking beyond the standard skills, because software will be able to take care of that. At the same time, HR will need to take on a strategic role because innovating business processes starts with hiring the right people. Just think, resumés are a very old way of choosing people, with over a half century of history behind them. The person who introduced the CV was Leonardo Da Vinci, when he summarized his experience for the Duke of Milan. After over a half century, the limitations of such a synthetic and impersonal document are obvious.
The numbers clearly show the problem: multinational companies are inundated with applications. They receive an average of 200,000 CVs a year (+300 for every job posting). More than 64% of those are not even considered because they’re discarded by algorithms based on standard parameters that limit the number of possibilities.
What do you think about personal branding and using social channels for potential candidates?
Just consider that 94% of recruiters report that they spend the majority of their time on social recruiting. I believe that your image is relevant in your personal life and even more so in your professional life. Social networks allow people to meet and connect virtually without needing to meet in person. We can say with certainty that without digital assistance, it would be extremely complicated to get direct contact with people in managerial and decision-making roles. On the other hand, people who are searched for in a professional capacity with the help of these new tools can manage a bigger pool of applications in less time. The advantages are clear, but this new way of interacting presents different risks that might be less evident. Contacts can often be more superficial and less targeted at a specific goal (spamming). This is why it’s becoming more important than ever to ensure a person we’re reaching out to can see that we have clear ideas about why we’re contacting them in particular (through personalized, polite, and where necessary, formal messages). So a good strategy for personal branding is definitely important, but even more important is a coherence in the way you present yourself and behave, because even social media has certain etiquette.
The JustKnock team is predominantly female with a median age of 27. What are some of the challenges of being young entrepreneurs in Italy?
There are plenty of challenges, both related to culture (difficulties with rigidity and breaking out of old ways of doing things) and bureaucracy (finances and taxes). When doing business in Italy, regardless of the quality of your idea, resilience and motivation play a key role. You need to be able to believe in what you’re doing, especially when things don’t seem to be working or you find yourself up against an insurmountable wall. With our startup JustKnock, we want to solve the problem of workplace discrimination, and it’s this mission that has given us the strength to get to where we are today. If by doing business you know you’re also having a positive impact on others, your project will have a broader reach and even more internal motivation.
« Se scrivo ciò che sento è perché così facendo abbasso la febbre di sentire». - Fernando Pessoa Giornalista e co-founder, vivo il digital come imprenditrice e appassionata. Percepisco il cambiamento come un'opportunitá mai una minaccia. Occhi spalancati e orecchie aperte, sempre pronta alla condivisione, la chiave di ogni evoluzione.