June 23, 2018

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The Information Overload Age

I recently discovered I have succumbed to "O. D." Overload Disorder.

You know you have reached the point of "" on information services when you begin ignoring half your inbound email (because you assume most of it is spam) and hang up weekly on all those wireless and long distance sales agents whom you leave scratching their heads wondering why you won't listen to their newest, greatest deal.

I just read an insightful article on the "convergence" of recruiting technologies. It discussed how world renown software providers such as SAP and the like are working more closely to link corporate web sites, the internet, and internal corporate software to provide a more streamlined "converged" information system to H.R. In theory the newly converged technology would supply info faster than any of us would be able to digest.


If we could now only double the staff of all corporate H.R. departments just to deal with volume of inbound information about to be hurled at them! I don't know about you, but I can barely get an H.R. person to return one lousy phone call per week never mind reply to five hundred resumes "converged" daily! Who are we kidding here?

The way I see it is like this:

First we had the Information Age.

This promised faster-than-ever accessibility to volumes of information resulting in the average person having any question they could think of answered quicker than you are able to even think of the next question!

Now we have entered "phase-two": Information Overload Age.

This is the stage where the novelty of lightning fast email fades and instead you become furiously frustrated at having to DELETE thirty spammed emails daily. Eventually you reach the point of ignoring your email altogether and surrendering.

Convergence is taking place all around us as you read this. Take Onstar for example: PLEASE! And keep it while you're at it.

This miracle button on my new car was supposed to open the door on my Batmobile while I was leaping out of a twenty story building to find the door open just as I slipped into my cushy driver's seat. Right? (You surely remember the snazzy commercials don't you?.)


Let's just say if I were Batman I'd be dead splattered across the sidewalk.

As I drove off the dealership with my new car this summer equipped with Onstar Voice activated telephony (the absolute latest I was told and ONLY available in the Northeast at the time!) I could barely wait the five days I was promised I could begin to use my hands free 30 minutes of voice activated/ voice recognition capable cell phone.

Three weeks later I still couldn't wait!

Four weeks later, and three phone calls to Onstar finally activated the cell phone (it was never configured properly she politely stated even though I was standing two feet away from the New Jersey Sales Manager for Onstar who happened to be at the dealership the day I picked up the car and was personally configuring it on the dealer's lot as I stood by watching !).

It may have taken one month instead of five days (its all Verizon's fault they later claimed when I made it clear I doubted their first version they refuse to supply us with numbers quick enough!) but hey, we at least got it working.

So as the kids sat in the back seat, Dad began demonstrating the latest in hi-tech 21st century gizmos as I commanded my new computerized phone system to make my first voice activated call.

I press the button and hear "Ready!" (the polite female computerized voice which the system emits).

I say "Dial" It asks for the first number. I begin dictating the phone number which I was then planning on storing. I couldn't even get past the area code which was "two, zero, one".

"Two!" I exclaimed. "Pound" replied the computerized voice.

No. "Two"; "Pound". "Clear" I say (this is supposed to clear the last number).

For the next five minutes the computer and I argued incessantly with each other as it flatly REFUSED to understand my "TWO"! As I grew more aggravated I forgot the command for deleting and each incorrect command (like "delete" instead of "clear") resulting in more questions from the computer such as "speak slower". " I do not understand", "please try again" etc. etc.

Finally, I let my wife try (fortunately she was driving during this experiment and not me otherwise I would have driven the car into the nearest wall just for kicks!).

It recognized my wife's voice (heck she's the registered legal owner maybe that's why) but not mine. Finally, I realized if I spoke much more softly than I normally do (I have a loud voice) it understood me.

I just received a mailing from Onstar today describing the other 650 uses I can use it for!

Six hundred and fifty? Oy Vey!

It ranges from having the on board "Virtual Advisor" (I warned everyone in Forsythe about one year ago virtual advisors were coming and they finally did!!) which can read stock prices, weather, sports scores, and just about anything available on the internet that can be viewed with a pc monitor, it can read to me as I drive.

Do I really want more of this abuse? No.

Here in the East coast hand held cell phones were banned from many counties and states for fear of drivers careening into oncoming lanes as they pounded the daylights of their all-too-small-to-read buttons while traveling at speeds exceeding the limit by ten to twenty miles per hour.

Soon we'll have a new worry on our hands: That of impatient, techno-frustrated drivers like myself wanting to careen their vehicle into the nearest wall just to get the faulty virtual advisor to shut off because we're unable to remember the proper voice command!

I decided I have reached the point of information overload and the highly limited capacity of my meek brain has become the greatest bottleneck of the information age. I suspect if its happening to me its happening to my clients as well. Which in turn, is great for me, as I'm in the business of making my life miserable so that my client's life is easier!

As for recruiting, keep in mind hiring managers and your clients can only absorb so much as well same goes for HR departments.

Competent, fast, efficient, and professional recruiters will be the only salvation a hiring manager has left to avoid being sucked into the information vortex with no escape.

-Frank G. Risalvato, CPC CEO
IRES, Inc.