Writing on the Wall: Building the Ultimate Web-Hiring Engine

I have been reviewing web-hiring engines for several months now and have noticed a not-so-surprising trend?developers seem to be wearing a set of blinders that vary with their previous work experience. For example, some sites excel at managing applicant communication, others excel at gathering resumes, some manage hiring logistics, some concentrate on technical testing, some offer behavioral interviewing, and most fail at measuring job fit. Is this what a hiring organization really wants? I don’t think so. While each of the leaders in the field grasp a portion of a client’s needs (some better than others), shouldn’t they really be trying to get the right people with the right skills in the right jobs in the most energy efficient way? Defining The “Right” Job Yes, I know this is tough. Hiring managers won’t cooperate and HR often works from fuzzy and incomplete job requirements. That’s life?and, that’s a problem that needs a solution. A good web-hiring engine should have provisions in the front-end to help clients navigate through the job-definition phase?not using some abstract source of dimensions or competencies, but using robust definitions that are measurable and have a real impact on job performance. A good competency list at this stage is critical. If the client cannot do it, then the vendor should make it easy by helping the client populate the fields. It doesn’t have to be a complicated, just thorough and robust. Trying To Get The Right People Now that the client has a “job target” it is time to go hunting for applicants. Applicants can come from a variety of sources; unsolicited resumes, job boards, passive candidate web-crawlers, headhunters, staffing agencies, etc. Each of these sources usually generates resumes that are very client-unfriendly?and that’s a problem that needs a solution. No, I don’t mean key word searches. A good web-hiring engine should be able to shift applicants and third-party vendors away from resumes and toward standardized application blanks that are fast to complete, contain job competencies, and act as “universal translators”?you know, like the ability of everyone on Star Trek to speak English even though they live on separate planets. You want to solve a client problem? Standardize and enhance the accuracy of applicant data. Measuring the Right Skills Ok, now that we have a tentative list of people who might have the right skills lined up for the job, it’s time to see whether they “fibbed” about their abilities. Misrepresenting skills is a candidate’s favorite pastime. Entire books have been written about developing this skill. Accurately measuring an applicant’s real ability to do the job is HR’s job?and, that’s a problem that needs a solution. But you can’t just start anywhere. Accurate measurement uses data from the job target to identify the necessary measurement tools. Validating each tool assures that scores are associated with job performance. A good web-hiring engine contains a variety of client-validated measurement tools that accurately assess candidate skills. These may include behavioral questions, tests, simulations, etc., depending on the job and the requirements. The key is accuracy and validity. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*> Energy Efficient Energy efficient means that the site must meet both the hiring organizations’ and the applicants’ needs. Applicants want many choices and are seldom willing to provide more than minimal information about themselves. On the other hand, organizations need considerable data in order to screen out unqualified applicants?and that’s a problem that needs a solution. A good web-hiring engine contains different levels of applicant involvement that starts with easy to complete forms, and gradually progresses toward the detailed information needed by an organization?not all at once, of course, but in a progressive manner alternatively gathering information and giving encouragement (in psychological terms, this is called “foot in the door technique”). Of course, throughout the applicant process, there are problems to be solved in both keeping the applicant informed, managing the application process and doing the necessary EEOC tracking?and that’s a problem that needs a solution. A good web-hiring engine facilitates this process by providing automated email updates, maintaining tickler files, scheduling internal and external events, and generating reports. Finally, a good web-hiring engine will contain an intelligent applicant skill-sorting system?not one based on unit-weighted Boolean logic, but one based on expert rules and good decision making practices that reflect the human decision making process. Conclusion I don’t know where your web-based hiring engine stands, but I would venture to suggest that if your engine does not excel at getting the right people with the right skills in the right jobs in the most energy efficient way, you have some significant chinks in your competitive armor. Incidentally, these solutions are not as easy as they sound. Don’t leave home without an expert.

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