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In Unilever’s Radical Hiring Experiment, Resumes Are Out, Algorithms Are In

Source | Wsj.com  |  BY:Kelsey Gee

When Saniya Jaffer arrived for a job interview at Unilever UL 1.01% PLC’s Englewood Cliffs, N.J., office last October, she was a finalist for a summer position in information technology. After three rounds of interviews and assessments, the Chicago-native was about to encounter the first human in the process.

Before then, 21-year-old Ms. Jaffer had filled out a job application, played a set of online games and submitted videos of herself responding to questions about how she’d tackle challenges of the job. The reason she found herself in front of a hiring manager? A series of algorithms recommended her.

A radical hiring experiment is under way at the London-based maker of Dove soap and Axe deodorant. To diversify its candidate pool for early-career roles that are a fast track to management, Unilever has ditched resumes and traditional campus recruiting. Its new process relies on algorithms to sort applicants and targets young potential hires where they spend much of their time: their smartphones.

The company has made more than 450 hires across the globe this way since the fall of 2016. Its experiment provides a glimpse of a tech-fueled future of recruiting in which humans write job descriptions and make the final decisions, but software and algorithms do the rest. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Jet.com have begun using similar digital tools to hook young workers and broaden their candidate base.

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