Where?s the WOW? Recruiting Web Sites Aren?t Very Good

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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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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