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Loreal replacing resumes with essays in China


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Despite being the most populous nation on earth, recruiting in China is still very difficult -- particularly in terms of finding the raw talent of smart, driven, young people from non-privileged backgrounds. This is a problem that elite American companies are also just starting to realize might be a brake on their future growth. A new program to start initial screening with a short essay question -- written on mobile phones no less! -- and only go to the resume late in the interview process has delivered amazing results for the French beauty giant.

The example they offered in the article really illustrates how important writing ability is.

"We have developed algorithms that can take the words that people use and derive context from them," said Robin Young, the founder of Seedlink Tech.

"Language can be a very good predictor, for instance, of how intelligent someone is, how experienced they are, how much knowledge they have."

Rather than complementing the existing CV-based selection system, Mr Young claims he can replace it, and L'Oreal China seems to be convinced.

Here's how it works: students use their mobile phones to access L'Oreal's website which prompts them to answer three open-ended questions.

For example: "If you had one month and a 25,000RMB budget ($4,000; £2,570) to tackle any project your little heart desired, what would you do?"

The answers, which have to be at least 75 words long, are automatically fed into Seedlink's database and the software gets to work.

It analyses the language used and compares each candidate's answers with the many thousands of others.

Then, supposedly calibrated to mine for the specific personality traits that L'Oreal is looking for, it produces a ranking with, in theory, the person most suited for a career at L'Oreal at the top.