by Stephen Shefsky
Stephen Shefsky is CEO of tilr Corp. a talent intelligence platform based in the US and Canada.


The right person, with the right skills, in the right job. The overarching challenge in recruiting is to extract from a job description the skills and competencies needed for a candidate to perform and to find the talent either internally or externally, that matches your hiring need.  It sounds simple enough, but as any Recruiter will tell you, it is not as easy as it appears.

The systems and tools that have been designed to support matching opportunities to job seekers, while growing more sophisticated, are still reliant on a candidate’s resume; a 1 – 2 page synopsis of their career history that can simultaneously misrepresent a candidate’s skills (when a previous employer’s expectations of that job title do not align to your own), and can fail to capture skills and strengths of a candidate that didn’t get articulated on the resume in interest to “keep it concise”; (your most talented candidates could never capture all of their skills AND their full work history in just two pages!)

Furthermore, the time-starved world that Recruiters and Hiring Managers live within, the hidden talent within one’s own organization is often overlooked in the interest of hiring as quickly as possible.  After all, every day of a vacancy is a strain on the employees and leaders are filling in the gap of the absence.  While most organizations will assert a commitment to “hire from within”, without adequate tools to identify, track and match your internal talent to upcoming opportunities, it can feel easier just to post the job, and “see who applies”.

The end result is a perpetuating cycle of recruiting (and recruiting costs) that often fails to attract, identify and develop the right person, with the right skills, in the right job.

Emerging Trends In Talent Acquisition

The McLean and Company 2021 HR Trends Report reports “HR functions have been remarkably resilient in the face of enormous disruption to operating environments, the increased urgency of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) priorities, the role of HR, remote work, and digital transformation”.  In fact, the top 5 priorities for People and Culture in 2021 are:

  1. Recruiting
  2. Developing Leaders
  3. Controlling Labour Costs and Maximizing Labour Spend
  4. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  5. Providing a Great Employee Experience

Further, this report highlights the need for digital transformation and AI tools for talent management and talent acquisition; now more than ever! Stating:

In the disruption of 2020, seeing a decline in long-term actions like creating a talent strategy is not surprising as organizations relied on short-term solutions to address immediate needs. However, long-term actions like analyzing the skills gap and training employees on the new skills will provide even greater benefits: higher performance in innovation, supporting change, and data-driven decision making.” (2021 HR Trends Report; McLean and Company).

tilr is uniquely poised to support HR Leaders in driving success across each of the emerging trends, and to help guide the HR business partners to navigate the digital transformation necessary for the new word of work!  Our machine-learning technology unlocks the power of AI in talent acquisition and AI in talent management to empower you to know, grow, and engage your current talent and to attract and inspire new recruits.

The Hidden Talent You Already Have

The need for skill-based succession planning is not a new one.  In fact, in 2003, Harvard Business Review reported that “in many companies, succession planning is little more than creating a list of high-potential employees and the slots they might fill. It’s a mechanical process that’s too narrow and hidebound to uncover and correct skill gaps that can derail promising young executives. And it’s completely divorced from organizational efforts to transform managers into leaders.”

But, while this is has been a known “burning platform” for decades, the tools available to resolve it are limited and expensive, leaving them “out of reach” for many small-medium-sized enterprises whose talent budget is already exhausted by the cost of job postings.

The result? HR professionals find themselves trying to track and develop their internal talent on excel spreadsheets that feel impossible to maintain.  Even the most sophisticated spreadsheet will never capture all of the evolving skills and interests of your employees, so you continue to risk overlooking internal talent for opportunities.  And your employee engagement metric takes another hit!

And here’s a thought to consider; your employees are only a portion of the “hidden talent” in your organization! A job seeker is unlikely to apply to your organization more than once.  Many traditional applicant tracking systems categorize candidate records according to the job posting for which they’ve applied. And recruiters, when they are hiring for their next position, will often opt to repost vs. going back through the database of previous applicants, because it is time-consuming to sift through resumes of candidates who may not be interested or available.

tilr’s talent intelligence platform offers solutions that optimize the hidden talent network in your organization!

With our skill mapping technology, recruiters and hiring managers have instant access to a dashboard view of the skills existing in the organization.  Employees are encouraged to create and maintain the profile of their own skills, which puts the opportunity and accountability in their hands to manage their career growth.

When you have a project or position available, tilr’s Talent Matching Index helps you instantly rank your internal talent (from your employee base AND your candidate pool) against the opportunity, based on the skills that are required for the job.  And, it allows you to efficiently communicate new opportunities to matched candidates with broadcast email that allows them to self-identify their interest.

Furthermore, with our partnership with, tilr provides access to over 300,000 facilitator-led and self-study courses right from within the mobile app, fueling your succession management efforts. You are empowered with the people analytics you need to identify where the skills reside, and where there are deficits in your talent pool, and with the tools, you need to close gaps, even before a vacancy exists!

Skills Matching Enhances Hiring Manager and Recruiter Experience

tilr’s talent management platform supports and enhances succession planning and talent optimization also enables you to identify, with confidence, where you don’t have the skills internally for your hiring needs.

When the right decision for your business is to turn to external recruiting, tilr’s algorithm-based skills inventory instantly matches skills with the requirements put together by your talent acquisition team.  With this, you get the full benefit of the most innovative features of AI in your talent acquisition strategy, thereby driving:

  • reduced risk of overlooking the best-qualified candidates;
  • reduced time to fill, cost of hire, and speed to competence of your selected candidates; and
  • improved quality and objectivity in recruitment

tilr has created a platform that overcomes the limitations of resumes and, instead, utilizes skills and capabilities as a job seeker’s currency, bringing you significantly closer to the right person, with the right skills, in the right job!

The Great Pandemic Will End… But the Great Transition Will Continue

The impact of Covid-19 has been felt by every department in every business.  Period.  Business closures and workplace reductions have sent thousands of highly skilled furloughed workers into the marketplace. There are outstanding candidates in virtually every skill set now looking for work, many of whom haven’t written a resume in years while they’ve been performing in their jobs! The candidate experience has always been important in the hiring process, but never more so than it is right now. tilr’s user-friendly job-seeker platform helps candidates find opportunities that match their skills, but we do so much more than that!  Job seekers can practice answering interview questions and can leverage the partnership to upgrade their skills, giving them the support they need to be successful. After all, your best candidate is a great employee. And the best employees often have the least experience in looking for work! We’ve worked hard to make it easy for them so that you have a chance to match and meet the best!

And, speaking of ‘meeting’ the candidates – before 2020, virtual interviews were largely reserved to global hiring. In our current climate of social distancing and “lockdowns”, the world of work has changed, and there is significant evidence to indicate that virtual work will continue long after the pandemic has resolved. In keeping with this trend, candidate selection has “gone virtual”, with online and video-based candidate interviewing.

Tilr’s integration with zoom web-conferencing allows you to “meet” candidates right from the mobile app!  While work has gone virtual, you have the opportunity to “throw the net wide” and attract candidates without being restricted to a limited geography, and to be able to interview from anywhere.

Screen Skills Anonymously: Achieving DEI

The last year has been pivotal in the world’s understanding of what it means to be truly inclusive. Organizations are being challenged to face the hard truth that good intentions are not enough. Diversity champions have long understood and promoted the importance of identifying and removing systemic barriers to hiring and promoting talent from the BIPOC community. What has emerged more recently in DEI work is an understanding of the impact of UNCONSCIOUS BIAS in hiring and talent management. There is an enormous body of literature that concludes “we all have biases”.  This has been a difficult, but critical concept for HR leaders to face. What we now understand, in a way that we never have before, is that these implicit biases are often in conflict with our own conceptions of ourselves and of our conscious value systems. You may be committed to selecting the most meritorious candidate for the job, but there is incredible evidence that stereotypes are influencing hiring and talent management decisions, even when it is completely unintended. (See Banaji, MR & Greenwald, AG (2013) Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People (New York: Delacorte Press).

With this newfound understanding of unconscious bias, and a recognition that everyone has biases, organizations have a growing commitment to “doing better”, companies are embracing DEI training, encouraging employees to identify and overcome their unconscious biases.  But it is a challenging battle, confronting deep-seeded belief structures you don’t recognize in yourself. In addition to the hard work of confronting our biases, organizations are looking at the tools and systems we use to support talent management and hiring.

We now know that the information on a resume can reinforce biased hiring, despite our best intentions. But, for decades, the resume has been the starting point of the hiring discussion and traditional Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are built around a resume transaction.

About tilr. We have enabled organizations to mitigate hiring bias by hiding their immediate identifiers such as location, zip and postal codes, schools, and first names and last names. You can know, with confidence, that you are eliminating the powerful undercurrent of unconscious bias that drives systemic barriers to employment for diversity groups. And, in doing so, you send a powerful message to the candidate marketplace that you are an employer whose commitment to hiring the best-qualified candidate, with the right skills, without prejudice.

tilr – technology-enabled human capital management enables you to find your people, know your people and grow your people more efficiently and effectively.  We automate the process of mapping and matching skills, arming you with the people analytics to make better, more confident talent decisions.