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What Caught My Eye: Wearing Your Heart on Your Sleeve-Literally

A series of weekly outside-the-box news stories and the lessons they hold for recruiters by TAtech CEO Peter Weddle.

This ultrasound patch could let you watch your own heart beat | Science News

Shakespeare was being metaphorical when he had a character in Othello say, “I will wear my heart upon my sleeves.” Today, it’s a reality.

Researchers at MIT have created a wearable ultrasound patch than enables you to peer inside your body for up to 48 hours. One news report described it as “a Band-Aid with sonar,” but in point of fact, it’s actually the same kind of ultrasound technology that’s been used in hospitals for years. What’s new about this product is its transportability and accuracy.

Ultrasound machines create images of internal fluids, soft tissues and organs by bouncing sound waves off of them. According to Wikipedia, the sounds are “ultra” because they exist at “frequencies higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing.” Said another way, ultrasounds are vibrations that act exactly like music and voice, except they can’t be heard by people.

What they can do is probe beneath the surface of our skin to produce a high-fidelity image of what’s going on inside. That image, in turn, can be used by a trained diagnostician to examine the size, structure and overall health of everything from the lungs of a smoker to the baby growing inside a soon-to-be mother.

This new wearable ultrasound, however, is designed to enable a normal person to keep an eye on his or her own heart. Right now, the image is somewhat limited given the size of the patch, but there are plans in the works to create a wireless interface with a wearer’s mobile device, which could then translate the signals into 3-D images. When that happens, we’ll be able to watch our heart in action in real time.

What Can Recruiters Learn From This Development?

While there may be a degree of satisfaction in watching a healthy heart pump away, the real purpose of the wearable ultrasound is to detect problems with the organ before they become fatal. That may give us a sense of security, I guess. I’m just not sure many of us have the expertise to spot a malperforming heart, but maybe that skill will be provided by the device’s handy instruction manual.

Recruiters, on the other hand, don’t need a manual to detect a malperforming candidate experience; they have the native expertise to do so. And, there’s never been a more important time to flex that capability. Today’s working men and women – especially those considered to be high performing talent – expect an efficient, courteous and respectful journey through an employer’s recruiting process. When they don’t get it or, worse, when there’s just the tiniest hint that it may not occur, they bail. They don’t hang around long enough even to ghost.

The only way to know for sure if a candidate experience is healthy is to use the equivalent of a wearable ultrasound patch. What’s that? A campaign of quarterly “mystery applications.” Every three months, a different recruiter on an organization’s recruiting team should adopt the role of a job seeker and apply for several jobs. They should go through as much of the process as possible, using the persona of a qualified applicant – a near-perfect fit for each position – and see what happens.

The purpose of the exercise is to two-fold:
• First, they are assessing the quality of the overall experience. Do they feel as if they were treated well by the employer and in a way that positively reflects its employment brand?
• And second, they are also taking a close look at one or more specific areas that have been or could be problematic. For example, how timely and useful were the communications they received from the employer?

I understand that implementing a quarterly health check of the candidate experience can seem like piling on to today’s already overloaded recruiting teams. But recruiting processes age quickly, especially these days, and the only way to avoid problems that can sap recruiting performance is by probing inside them on a regular basis.

Food for Thought,

Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can download his latest book – The Neonaissance – FOR FREE at And, if you don't have time to read the entire book, just download a short excerpt of his inspirational message.