HRO TODAY Oct 2013

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TekTober Six Degrees of Separation The power of connectivity wins the 2013 iTalent competition. By Maria Cristina Feliciano Connect6 founders Chris Hohman, Andy Estep, and Senthil Kumar were all facing the same problem: They couldn't find talent anywhere. Their industries were different—technology, product, and marketing—but their business struggles the same. They couldn't grow and scale their companies without great talent, and as hiring managers, they found themselves frustrated by the limited recruiting tools available. "We came at this because we were all hiring managers. We've participated in the front lines of the recruiting process, and found existing options out there to be very expensive, and not very fruitful," cofounder and CEO Chris Hohman explains. So instead of being continuously frustrated by these options, the three cofounders decided to build a tool to help not only themselves, but also all hiring managers who were in the same boat. Enter Connect6, a recruiting and social media platform. The technology leverages social media profiles to create a network of connections. In a nutshell, the platform allows recruiters to search networks like Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Github, Stackoverflow, and others to make a connection to great talent. "Really the whole focus here was how can we connect everybody that's relevant to the task together, unify them, and make it something that you can extract value from, for the purpose of finding a job or recruit," Hohman says. The entrepreneur presented this idea at the 2013 iTalent Competition at the HRO Today Forum in Philadelphia—and won. [18] HRO TODAY MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013 Getting Connected The best way to show the power of connections is through example. Hohman shared a story on stage to demonstrate how a network's reach can extend far beyond an individual's. In 2009, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—the governmental agency responsible for the development of new military technologies—held a challenge that invited teams to find the global positioning coordinates of 10 weather balloons hidden all over the country. A team from MIT tapped into its very large alumni network and asked members to find these balloons and provide the coordinates in exchange for $2,000. However, if an alum was contacted but was not in the right city, they could forward this request to a contact they thought could help, and still get a piece of the reward. Basically everyone who participated in the referral chain would be rewarded. Despite DARPA's prediction that this challenge would take weeks to solve, this team did it in seven hours. And every single person who participated was rewarded. Hohman observes, "Any metric you look at, a person who is referred into an organization tends to be a better fit, a stronger candidate all around, and have a leg up because generally, someone who is referred into an organization already has a sense of cultural connections and fit. It's just a more powerful way to go." Industry reports support Hohman's argument. Research by Dr. John Sullivan & Associates from shows that referral

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