The internet made applying to jobs easier than ever, but it’s also opened the floodgates, forcing employers to sift through hundreds, if not thousands, of applications to find a qualified fit for a position. This process is challenging for employers as well as job seekers, who must do their best to stand out among the competition.
Employers often use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to filter and process these large numbers of applications, utilizing algorithms to quickly scan resumes and documents for keywords and former job titles. Unfortunately, these algorithms also mean that human eyes never see most online job applications.
This predicament can be especially frustrating for gig workers. They may look for work in their specialized areas, as well as fields in which they have little experience, meaning a company’s ATS may result in their resumes being overlooked.
Algorithmic hiring solution tilr is working to redesign the online application ecosystem’s foundation for gig workers. PYMNTS spoke with Summer Crenshaw — its chief operating officer, chief marketing officer and co-founder — about what, exactly, is driving the growing interest in gig work, and how changing the online application process’ structure would impact gig professionals in the broader American economy.
What Gig Workers Want From Their Gigs
A tight labor market, difficult job application processes and greater shifts in professional values are all contributing to gig work’s increasing appeal, Crenshaw explained. There’s no telling how long it will take to find full-time employment these days, and gig work often suffices as a temporary fix to keep people afloat during the search.
“It can take over 40 days [for a company] to get a new hire in the door, and it could go way longer for a job seeker,” she said. “I think that people need a stop-gap. If people need to supplement their incomes, it’s helpful to know that there is a way to do it that allows professionals to take control of their destinies.”
The option to work gigs while searching for full-time options gives job seekers more flexibility and relieves their financial stresses in the interim. It also allows them a voice in how often they get paid — something Crenshaw has seen firsthand.
Feedback from the tilr community suggests potential employees are now demanding payments more frequently than the standard biweekly pay cycle. It was important to launch tilr with the promise of weekly pay, she said, but it didn’t take long before members signaled their interest in even shorter cycles.
“Over 90 percent of our community members say they would love to have daily pay,” Crenshaw noted.
There is more to the growing appeal of gig work than a tight labor market and tighter belts, however. That growth is also a sign of a wider shift in professional values that transcends both industries and generations.
Professionals who exclusively rely on gigs for their income make up approximately 15 percent of tilr’s 30,000 members, but another portion of that community is comprised of full-time professionals seeking work for other reasons — interest in a new field, for example. The group, at large, seemingly shares a common desire for greater control over their careers, though.
“[Control as a priority is] definitely a cross-generational value,” Crenshaw said. “It is not a millennial, Gen X or baby boomer value. Rather, it is a workforce value — and what that value is, is that people want this new control over their daily ability to earn income for their families.”
Using Skills To Match Job Seekers To Employers
Whether an established professional looking for an enjoyable side job or a college graduate hoping to get their foot in the door, gig work can offer a new way for professionals to pursue their chosen paths. That said, Crenshaw recognizes that career paths are not always linear, and that using algorithms to search resumes for specific titles and keywords can pose a problem.
“[Algorithms] are eliminating so much of the population that could do the job, simply [because] they did not have a title,” she said. “In the tightest labor market in 40 or 50 years, we have to think about talent differently.”
The tilr solution involves shifting the focus away from titles and keywords, and instead using algorithms to match professionals to potential employers based on their skill sets. It aims to expand an employer’s talent pool, helping it to find professionals who have not only worked in an industry, but also have the training necessary for the work they will be doing.
“We are agnostic about job titles,” Crenshaw explained. “We really don’t care if you were a customer service rep or an aerospace engineer. We want to know what skills you have, because we know that there is so much overlap from one company to another company, one type of job to another type of job.”
All tilr community members receive background checks and an introductory interview before being admitted to the community, at which point they can begin applying for jobs. When a “one-to-one” match occurs — with an applicant possessing all the skills required for the position — tilr sends an applicant a job offer via push notification.
“If they accept that job, they get it,” Crenshaw said. “That is their job.”
Staffing platforms like tilr have the potential to support America’s expanding gig economy. By streamlining and expediting the job search, these platforms make gig work more feasible for the average professional.