Future Friday: Finding talent via the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things will become a valuable tool in talent selection.
The Internet of Things will become a valuable tool in talent selection.

Using the Internet today to find people is not a surprise to anyone. Everyone knows about Linked In and Twitter and other social media sites in addition to the job boards. However, the Internet of Things is a different animal, a potentially very different way of finding the people that fit our needs exactly.

A definition

According to Wikipedia:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. Typically, IoT is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine communications (M2M) and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications. The interconnection of these embedded devices (including smart objects), is expected to usher in automation in nearly all fields, while also enabling advanced applications like a Smart Grid.

Right now, for the most part, the IoT is made up primarily of “things”, such as your car or washer or thermostat. However, quickly devices that monitor people are also being added to the IoT. Devices such as a Fitbit, or your iPhone, or an implanted heart monitor are increasing part of the smart grid. This is leading to something called the “quantified self.”

Quantified self

Futurist Thomas Frey gives us a picture of the “quantified self” under the IoT. He says:

“These “things” have a way of gathering information about ourselves in ways we never imagined were possible. Not only will we be able to monitor the quantity and quality of food we eat, the air we breathe, and our daily activities, but we will also be tracking the information we consume, our moods, our level of engagement, and what undertakings we find most stimulating.”

He further adds:

In addition to charting the normal inputs and outputs for our mind and body, we will also be evaluating the context in which we exist. Whether it’s an emotional context, environmental context, or spiritual context, each plays an important role in determining who we are. In the future, it all becomes measurable.

Frey believes that this collection of data on each of us will eventually lead to collecting data on our “human attributes.”

Human attributes

Our quantified self will not only be data on where we are, what we do, what we eat, and how our health is, but it will also help us understand out deficiencies and our strengths. As Frey says “The ‘quantified self’ is all about building a vast and measurable information sphere around us.” This sphere will help us make decisions about how we can change and improve and bolster what we are good at doing. It will measure how creative we are, how well we think, what we may think about, and what our skill sets are.
An employer with this information could more easily find someone who not only has the educational and work  background they want but could also look at the measure of your creativeness, or tenacity, or some other variable important to the job. This is not the kind of information that currently appears on a resume or a profile, but at some point may be available via the IoT.
This would be akin to someone publishing their assessment on their Linked In profile for every employer to read so they would know how they like to work, their key management points so someone would know whether they really can work unsupervised. Only this information via the IoT is actual data from daily experience.
This data would also help in career development from the employee’s point of view. They would be able to determine what experiences they would need to have to accomplish their career goals and would be able to evaluate a company to learn if the company offers such an opportunity.

Not here now

Obviously such a system is not yet existent, but it is probably much closer than we think. The biggest hurdle in creating such a system will be attitudes about privacy and discrimination. There will be some challenges to overcome but in the long run I feel that companies and employees will gain professionally and personally as a result.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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