Recently I have been surfing around the net pretending that I am both an experienced professional and a new college graduate looking for a job. I have checked into some of the country?s most well known web sites showcasing the Fortune 500 and even 100. Here?s what I found. A few don?t even have an employment or job link on their homepage (most notably Intel). Not even one company has a web site that would excite or entice anyone ? least of all a happily employed professional. I found the usual boring job descriptions with all sorts of boilerplate text on what I would be doing for the company. Not a whole lot on what the company would be doing for ME, though. Oh, there was the obligatory list of benefits and perks ? mostly what I already have at my current company or what I expect anyway were I a new college grad. But, what was more disturbing was how difficult it was to find anything. I spent more than 5 minutes on some sites trying to figure out how to actually apply for a job. Would you spend that much time? Texas Instruments has one of the best sites of the 20 or so that I checked out. They have begun to use some of the third generation web methods, such as interactive testing, that are beginning to emerge. They make it easy to apply for a job and have two tools that are a harbinger of things to come. One is a ?fit checker? which, by asking a series of questions, helps you decide if TI is the right place for you to work. A ?Career Mapper? is also included which asks you over 200 questions. The answers are analyzed using a special database that assesses strengths and weaknesses and recommends the types of jobs that best suit your aptitudes and talents. Microsoft also has a similar feature, which I have mentioned in previous columns. Together these give you an insightful look at yourself ? they add value to the experience of using the TI site and they help TI weed out people who might not be happy or productive at TI. Motorola also has a good site. If you are looking for something specific, Motorola does a good job of providing you tools and information. It?s not so easy to just browse through open positions, though. And, like every other site on-line, the resume builder is pathetic. All the on-line resume builders are little more than a first generation web form that asks for name and other general information and then requests you to paste in your resume. It is really a shame that no one makes use of the ability the web now has to pose questions, interactively request information, and actually guide a person through the process of providing useful information to the company. Almost every company does a better job of wowing college graduates, but even here the results are less than first class. The winners from the sites I viewed are General Electric, US West, and Lucent. They all provide extensive information, on-line job previews and testimonials, and other useful information for a new job seeker. National Semiconductor offers a chat room for new grads, which is a step in the right direction. Texas Instruments has a feature called Cyber Recruiter where a student can enter a question and the ?Cyber Recruiter? will respond with a personal answer. All of these are inching the web toward what it should be doing: enticing, educating and evaluating all the potential candidates who visit. Sun Microsystems has made a weak effort to offer some content to the college students who log in by providing a link to ?Cool Sites? on the web that college students might find interesting. But why hasn?t anyone created a site that would be of interest to a second or third year college student? A site that would offer help with homework (as Ben & Jerry?s Ice Cream company has done with high school students), or provide links to reference material? Or provide a service such as critiquing term papers in field of relevance to the company? This would build a candidate pool and keep potential hires coming back for more. US West uses a service provided by World.hire which allows candidates to sign up either as anonymous or known interested parties who want to get a continuing stream of information from the company about possible job opportunities. This type of service begins to entice the passive job seeker. Some sites are so poorly constructed that I have decided not to mention them here out of embarrassment for the companies. As the web evolves into a powerful tool for e-commerce and for adding value, why are recruiting sites still barely in the transaction stage? All the sites I have looked at are mostly passive. Mostly pushing out hype or pabulum. Mostly not interactive. Mostly not offering much more than could have been gathered from the newspaper or a phone call a few years ago. A really compelling, interactive employment site can be a differentiator for your company. Who is going to be first with a new millennium web site ? a site that is exciting, that offers valuable information, that screens and evaluates, that can be personalized by a potential candidate, and that can continue to bring that candidate back until he or she decides to take a job or move on to some other place? If you know of sites that are really different and that do any of this, please let me know. If you want a list of all the sites I visited with a checklist of features, log into my web site and click on the “Presentations” button. It is listed under “Corporate Recruiting Sites.?
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