Job Boards, Robots, and Profilers Help!!

Job boards have proliferated over the past two years to the point where there are so many that recruiters spend most of their time in a smog of indecision and confusion. Wasn’t life easy when there were only Monster and CareerMosaic? Instead of simplicity we now have Dice, Techies.com, incpad.com (formerly vjf.com), Headhunter.net, and Net-Temps – not even mentioning local boards and a variety of vertical job boards that promise to deliver candidates of a particular stripe in a particular geography. Recruiters manage a growing number of job boards and are bending under the increased flow of resumes these boards are generating. Candidates, too, are increasingly distressed with the lack of response to their emails and resumes that seem to disappear into a sea of electrons. Candidates have to juggle resumes on several job boards while never being certain how one board is different from any other. Recruiters also have more tools that are purported to make their life easier. (Isn’t technology always THE answer?). These include the fecund robots to “intelligently” search the Internet for specific candidates and more job and position profilers than viable candidates. And as the cherry topping all of these, we have a growing assortment of assessment tools, psychological screeners, and “fit” testers. Where does this all end up? Probably in the emergence of a new service called a career network. At its heart are three elements: a profile database, a job database, and a matching engine of some sort. The profile database will collect the usual resume information, although in the best cases, this will be a minimum set of critical information so that a recruiter or hiring manager can decide whether or not to move forward with a candidate. This profiler will also gather information about how the candidate used the web site. It will collect information on what other places the candidate browsed and perhaps will be intelligent enough to recommend specific sites TO a candidate. Peripheral services that could be offered include interviewing tips and advice as well as links to information about a particular city or place. In addition, there would be links related to that city such as those about schools or social activities. These career networks would have well established links to an assortment of related services to enrich the experience for the candidate and to provide a reason for the candidate to return to the site for future searches. The jobs database will aggregate similar positions from many companies, provide information about particular jobs at specific companies by offering video job previews and day-in-the-life profiles of incumbents. Jobs can be prioritized and some artificial intelligence will provide matching of particular skills a candidate says he or she has with these job positions. When recruiters provide some feedback on which candidates best matched certain jobs, the tools can actually get “smarter” and make increasingly better choices. Built-in screening tools will be able to determine whether a candidate has the skills and even personality for a particular company and then direct the candidate to those respective firms. This will reduce the number of extraneous resumes that get into the ordinary corporate database and make the chances of a manager finding a viable candidate much higher. How? They will screen and provide feedback to candidates about their skill set and why it is not a fit for the position they have applied. It may also recommend other jobs for which the candidate is better qualified. I estimate that a system like this could reduce the size of the typical database by more than 70% and make the remaining 30% almost entirely useful. The primary pain for most recruiters today is not the lack of resumes, but the over abundance of resumes and the lack of time to screen them and match them to a hiring manager. Screening tools will slowly make this a more streamlined and effective process than it is today. Who will play in this career service market? Existing career services that have a chance to play successfully in this area include the AOL & Monster alliance as well as the Yahoo!/WebHire one. Forrester Research believes that professional association sites such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) also have a chance to dominate this emerging service market. To be successful, sites will have to have the market share and technology to dominate. This makes it unlikely that smaller players can win in the long run. Many smaller job boards may well get incorporated into larger ones, and a few smaller ones may be able to effectively grow into this new role. Partly it will depend on the vision of the management teams crafting the next generation tools. If you agree with this, I suggest you let your job boards and screeners and other providers know that you are looking for a single solution that delivers results – not just an electronic classified ad service.

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Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.

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