Benefits of Saved Candidate Profiles

My last article discussed staffing solutions that are based on a candidate profile. A candidate profile is a file in the careers site database unique to a candidate, containing all of his or her personal information in a structured format. The previous article compared profile-based systems with more conventional resume-based systems and pointed out several advantages to the new paradigm of electronic recruiting. This article elaborates on further benefits of profile-based systems, arising out of the more efficient use of information. Let’s suppose a fictitious company posts open requisitions to a careers website in a searchable database and solicits resumes online in response to these posted positions. Data Volumes Even a careers site with moderate traffic can generate a lot of candidate data for the corporation to process. The volume of candidate data coming from the careers site is a function of the overall traffic and the propensity of those candidates to submit a resume in response to posted job positions. Some candidates spam resumes at any open requisition they see, while others are more selective. Each time a candidate submits a resume on the careers site, the company receives an electronic file or document. For instance, think in terms of the simplest form of careers site response mechanism: an email link to “jobs@xyz-corp.com” at the bottom of every job posting. There will be a new email message arriving in this one email inbox every time a candidate uses the link. The same basic idea applies to web forms, be they simple cut-and-paste forms or more elaborate resume builders. Each job application event creates an electronic document or record that the company must handle and process. The Problem of Duplication Careers site visitors often submit resumes to more than one open requisition, either during the course of one session on the careers site or on subsequent visits. If we think in terms of each individual electronic document or record spawned by a resume submission event, it is easy to see how a company will get many duplicate or near-duplicate versions of a particular candidate’s resume as it evolves over time. Just how many duplicate resumes a company can expect depends on the number of times a given candidate returns to a site and his or her inclination to submit a new resume copy in response to a posted job position. Since recruiters ultimately want to select candidates, not resumes, the data management problem posed by duplicate candidate information is to reconcile or match up multiple resumes belonging to the one candidate who submitted them. Only then can a master data file or application transaction history for a given candidate be compiled. Duplication of candidate information in a database is a costly and time-consuming problem. Audits by Fortune 500 companies of candidate databases have discovered duplication rates of 40% to 45%. With today’s candidate volumes, manual de-duplication is out of the question. Technological solutions to the problem of duplication typically involve elaborate but fallible computer algorithms, based on parsing names, dates and other keywords. Often, the algorithm requires a manual check for accuracy. Job Carts Some companies have implemented a “job cart” feature on the careers website, in part in an effort to reduce the number of duplicate records in the company’s candidate database. Only one new electronic document is created upon checking out a job cart, consisting of the candidate’s resume information and the job requisition numbers of the positions placed in the cart. A job cart avoids duplication of candidate records that would otherwise be created over the course of a single user session on the Careers site. However, a job cart is incapable of eliminating duplicate candidate records created over the space of several visits by the same jobseeker, since the data it stores vanishes the moment the visitor closes his or her browser. Candidate Profiles A profile-based careers website gives job seekers the ability to create an account or profile on the careers website that contains all of the candidate’s personal information. The candidate can access the profile and “attach” it to specific job positions as the opportunities arise. Applying to newly posted positions at a later date on the part of the candidate requires only his or her password. The “saved candidate profile” approach requires a web-enabled back-end candidate database to allow candidates to create new records and access them at a later date. A profile-based solution ensures a one-to-one ratio of database records to candidates. Current Practices The trend in the Fortune 500 clearly favors the candidate profile approach over job carts. As iLogos Research reported inValue Creation Through Corporate Careers Websites, in 2002, 31% of the companies in the Fortune 500 have saved candidate profiles on the careers website (for an annual growth rate increase of 80%), compared to just nine percent that only have job carts implemented. Further Benefits of Candidate Profiles There are several key differences between a job cart and the saved candidate profile approach:

  • Creating a personal profile on the careers site is a better user experience overall than using a job cart. A candidate returning at a later date to a careers website to apply with a job cart to additional job positions will have to re-key all of his or her personal information again. On the other hand, the saved candidate profile approach keeps the candidate’s personal information for his or her reuse in the course of future job-hunting sessions.
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  • Saved candidate profiles are better suited to work in conjunction with the online pre-screening of candidates. The approach allows the opportunity to ask questions of the candidate that are specific to the requirements of the job position, one job position at a time. Asking candidates pre-screening questions specific to job positions is impractical in the context of a job cart feature, since the candidate would be faced with an overwhelming number of qualifying questions.
  • The saved candidate profile approach creates a complete application transaction record. All data gathered on past requisitions is available for future use, including answers to pre-screening questions, test scores, indications of work preferences, and more.
  • Saved candidate profiles are eminently suited to enabling best candidate-relationship-management practices. Imagine inviting all candidates in a database to apply to a particular job position that matches their interests, only to find out that some candidates received five or ten versions of the same email because they exist in your database several times. Rather than impressing the candidates in your database, you would create a negative impression that could impact your organization’s brand.
  • A profile-based solution ensures a one-to-one ratio of candidates to candidate files and guarantees accurate reporting. The ability to generate accurate reports is difficult in a non profile-based solution because there can be multiple versions of the same candidate record in the absence of a reliable de-duplication process.

Data volume and duplication, along with the candidate’s website experience, are important issues. The opportunity for centralizing an efficient recruiting process through the corporate careers website is motivating many companies to implement a staffing management solution. Key benefits of staffing management solutions include streamlined data management and the ability to report on key metrics. The implementation of saved candidate profiles functionality best provides efficiency for the corporation and an agreeable user experience for the candidate.

Alice Snell is vice president of Taleo Research. The specialty research practice analyzes the best practices and economics of talent management. Taleo Research focuses on critical issues and key trends in talent management that impact organizational performance. Taleo Research is the strategic research division of Taleo, which provides on demand talent management solutions for organizations of all sizes, worldwide.

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