By Lucy Dunn, 11 February 2014

lucy-dunnNew Year is usually the time of year we all yearn for new things, ideas, jobs, challenges... the list goes on. Recently prompted by reading some interesting articles, I have been thinking about how "Is it possible to track talented people using technology?" Could there be a game-changer in the horizon which will disrupt career planning and recruiting yet again?

It is nonsense you might think. We, people, are not like goods and commodities being shipped round the world, anyone trying to "track" us would most probably violate human rights, privacy and warrant litigations but as the last year’s news stories have pointed out, we are being tracked, even if you don't think you gave permission. With the lightning speed of today's technology development, in many incubation clusters from Silicon Valley, to Beijing, to London, to Dubai, and even places you don't think of as technologically advanced cities, new ideas are being coded into reality which affect how we operate as professionals, and perhaps, it won't be long before we see maybe not people tagged with RFID tags but we will see digital tracking none the less!

In terms of how one looks for a new job. Think how far we have come in say the last 20 years. We used to have to do cold calling, reading newspaper classified sections and recruitment classified posts in industry publications searching for a job. In the past, people presented themselves through handwritten letters to prospective employers. When we entered the internet boom, we all started to use websites and emails. Now video-calls are becoming more common as the medium to host interviews. Besides our email addresses, our mobile number, our Skype names have become a kind of 'tag' that moves with us from house to house, job to job and sometimes from country to country. And now, with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn we all have social profiles in the virtual world, which can be another kind tagging which leave digital traces. As social media companies try to find a "money model" these sites are doing any and everything to capture your data so they can sell it to other companies. All those free services that we enjoy came with the requirement to accept a set of terms and conditions. Each and every one of those agreements was a release to allow companies to sell what they know about you. We all think "What possible value can my comments about my birthday party or where I had dinner have?" but when taken as part of a larger digital footprint, this knowledge does have enormous value.

In the future how hard would it be for companies to troll our very public digital profiles to see if we are complaining about work or our boss, celebrating a major success or contract, how long we have been with our current employer... and begin to estimate the probability that we will want to change jobs?

What does all this mean to me, you wonder? Maybe my crazy example of how job hunting and my business, recruiting could change and how I need to be positioned to take advantage of what the future could bring, will spark a little crazy thinking of your own. As you relax and enjoy some time off during the Chinese New Year maybe you will wonder how can you use what you already know about your clients to create value or your employees to create loyalty? Could you look at their public profiles and learn something that would help you close that big contract or keep your star performer?

In the beginning of the Chinese lunar New Year I wish all my readers good fortune, good health and a great year of the Horse.

And if anyone of you is thinking about a change of scene at work, do let me know.


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