Real Time Executive, an Australian IT recruitment firm, is looking for a Senior Investigative Researcher & Wiki Gardener to lead the research team that gathers, organises and searches data from thousands of sources about skilled IT workers. The company describes its process thus:

“A typical assignment from one of our clients would be to find the top 20 Java Engineers in Australia. Posting an ad on Seek will not attract candidates at this level so we must use our highly skilled research team to identify potential candidates. This process of identifying candidates is a complex research exercise using information gathered from thousands of sources which must be collated, sifted, and interrogated to produce the results we require. To do this we use Confluence, an enterprise Wiki developed by Atlassian, to organise and search the incoming streams of research information.”

It says a lot about the growing importance of wikis to critical business functions when an IT recruiting firm bases its operations on a wiki — particularly where that process is meant to yield better results than the usual way of doing business. Plus, it’s nice to see that Confluence is Real Time Executive’s choice for their core business!
Why do they need a dedicated gardener? Apparently they ran into problems upon the initial release of their wiki when people dumped information everywhere and didn’t link properly, hence the need for a ‘gardener’ to ensure that the information is entered in a meaningful manner that is easy to find later. Historically all their research was kept in spreadsheets and on bits of paper (sounds familiar, eh?).
This matches what I have observed in other companies. While people preach about “knowledge management“, they only end up implementing “document management” since all their knowledge is stored in documents. Thus, the tools focus on finding documents rather than finding information. I have found that keeping information in a wiki makes it much easier to access and index the information (by adding tags and other metadata) than having to work with whole documents as units of data.
Okay, enough of my personal rants, I’m off to tend my garden!
Update: We’ve received information from RealTime that their job search is progressing well, with candidates who love the idea of being Wiki Gardeners. They are seeing this as “Recruiting 2.0“.

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