Sorry, Alexa and Siri Won’t Find Your Next Hire

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Jun 15, 2017

Voice assistants at home are becoming big business. Amazon’s Alexa showed-up in 2014. Google Home came shortly thereafter. And now Apple has gotten into the game with HomePod.

Strategy Analytics estimates Google will sell 1 million devices by midyear. The research group also estimates Amazon sold 6.3 million Echo devices last year, and say that should go up meaningfully this year. Analyst Mark Mahaney estimates Amazon will sell 60 million Echo devices by 2020, bringing the install base to 128 million.

HomePod may be late to the party, but don’t count out Apple. “We didn’t have the first MP3 player. We didn’t have the first smartphone. We didn’t have the first tablet,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview with Bloomberg. “For us, it’s not about being first. It’s about being the best, and giving users an experience that delights them every time. We don’t let that impatience result in shipping something that’s just not great.”

If you have one of these toys, you know they’re great for updating you on the weather, ordering stuff from Amazon, or simply giving your kids something to do when they’re bored. But if you’re expecting these devices to make a big splash in the employment space, don’t hold your breath.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

“Anything is viable to recruit, but is it realistic?” asks Tim Sackett, President at HRU Technical Resources. “People keep telling me they recruit off Twitter, but realistically what percentage of hires do we really hire off Twitter? Almost none. ‘Siri, can you find me a Java Developer in Kalamazoo, MI?’ Maybe she’ll be able to, but I’m doubting it will ever be a serious source.”

Quite right. A quick look at the Alexa app store for a “jobs” search resembles a ghost town. Showcasing commands like “Alexa, ask job search to find software engineer jobs for me” and “what does SEEK Company Reviews say about IBM?” apps promise to connect candidates to opportunities with the efficiency of hitting up a job site or your favorite employers applicant tracking system.

It’s fool’s gold. Almost none of the apps have reviews, and the ones that do only have a couple.

ZipRecruiter, which has the most prominent presence, only has four reviews with two and a half stars out of four. The most recent review is from August 2016. One reviewer said, “After 10 times of giving ZipRecruiter my city and state, and Alexa asking just as many times for my city and state, I gave up. Remove the skill.”

“It’s unclear to me that this is how people want to search for jobs,” said Robert Hohman, cofounder and CEO of Glassdoor. “The technology and the opportunity are premature, but we’re watching it closely just in case.”

Hohman did offer some optimism, however, saying “Asking ‘Alexa, How much does a software engineer in Los Angeles make?’ might make more sense going forward.”

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