What is a profile? In the broadest terms, a profile is any collection of information on an individual, stored in a structured database. Think of a profile on Yahoo! or Amazon. Profiles on these sites contain basic contact information, but also any other information required to carry out desired functions. In the case of Amazon, the profile maintains a history of the individual’s past buying behavior, which is crucial to the smooth functioning of the online auction. Each profile is unique to the user, secured with a password, and updateable. Profile-based Recruiting In the context of recruiting, a profile-based system is one in which each candidate has a unique file in the system containing all of his or her personal information. A profile-based system provides candidates with the ability to create and maintain a personal profile on the Careers website, which they can then access and “attach” to job positions in the future as the opportunities arise. This job application history also becomes part of the information contained in the record. The candidate profile is saved in the company’s candidate database, accessible via password through the Careers website interface. The password can also be used to modify and update the information on file. With profile-based recruiting, the corporate recruiter has the opportunity to pull structured data from candidates on any number of predefined topics for screening and matching candidates according to basic eligibility requirements for work with the corporation. Using a structured candidate profile, the data pulled from the candidate can better align with corporate hiring information needs. Profiles vs. Resumes In a non-profile-based system, a new record is created each time a candidate applies. Over time, the corporate database will have multiple records for a particular candidate. The information in a record in a resume-based system is determined by the conventions governing resume content, or is information the candidate considered to be relevant to the recruiter. There is little or no opportunity for the recruiter to pull truly relevant information from the candidate. The information in a resume-based record is fixed at the moment it is created; it does not get updated over time and so can only obsolesce thereafter. In a resume-based solution, each individual file needs to be reviewed before it can be determined if the applicant is a potential candidate for a role. Structured Data Structured data is more appropriate to automating the matching of supply and demand for talent. The corporation must first define in a structured way the skills, certifications, and interests required for a given position. By pulling data that matches the defined structure for each position from candidates into a profile, all candidates can then be matched and sorted against the criteria. The candidate profile contains, but is not limited to, information appearing in a conventional resume. The resume becomes a supplementary piece of information that may be reviewed when it is verified that the candidate has the correct skills. Advantages of Profile-based Systems A Careers website with saved candidate profiles makes the candidate, and not the resume, the fundamental unit of selection. This contributes to process savings by reducing wasted administrative time while creating more consistency in candidate records accessible across the enterprise. By building relationships, not gathering documents, staffing departments can respond to the needs of the corporation in a timely fashion. Through a continuous recruiting process dedicated to developing candidate relationships in advance of any identification of a hiring need, the staffing function is in a better position to identify quickly those candidates who possess the required skills, interests and motivations. A profile-based system can also support job agent functionality, which automatically sends email invitations to candidates inviting them to apply to jobs as they become available. Maintaining an ongoing relationship with a candidate requires updating and refreshing the candidate’s profile on an ongoing basis. A candidate relationship database system includes functionality that automatically identifies missing or out-of-date pieces of information, and requests them, through automated email, from candidates. Significant savings and process efficiency arise with the ability to find good candidates who now exist in your database without having to spend sourcing dollars on each new position you have. Other benefits of a candidate-profile-based system include accurate and swift searching of the candidate database, the ability to capture and retain a complete candidate history, and improved EEO reporting. The Future Is Profile-based Recruiting The Fortune 500 is increasingly turning to profile-driven Careers websites. iLogos Research found that allowing jobseekers to create and maintain a candidate profile on the Careers website increased in 2002 to 31% of Fortune 500 companies, up from 17% in the previous year, for a strong year-over-year growth of 80%. Given the tangible savings and benefits of profile-based recruiting, the rising growth rate in the Fortune 500 for the practice will continue in the years to come. In large part, this growth is being driven by the latest generation of web-based staffing management solutions, which incorporate a best practices front-end based on the candidate profile and a configurable, workflow-based back-end.