Job boards fundamentally flawed

by 22 Jul 2008

THE JOB boards of today are fundamentally flawed, and will be superseded by a new generation of career sites based on sophisticated databases that are better able to ideally match up candidates and companies, according to CareerBuilder and Jobfox founder Rob McGovern.

The text search function is the biggest problem with modern job boards, because most resumes and job advertisements contain roughly the same words, he said. As a result, job boards serve up many irrelevant applications to HR professionals and recruiters, wasting time and money.

“The fundamental issue is that jobseekers aren’t finding the jobs they want – and companies aren’t finding the jobseekers that they want,”McGovern said.

“So there’s a question of what happened? Why are the jobs and the jobseekers not coming together?”

Speaking in Sydney at the recent launch of MyCareer’s Head Hunter site, which is powered by Jobfox, McGovern said future job sites will not be about putting jobs online, but putting candidates online.“For the last 12 years or 15 years, almost our whole industry has been about getting the jobs online, because they weren’t online before,” he said.

“What we really think is going to happen is that a candidate will have a permanent online presence and they will have permissions to tell employers what they’re allowed to see, and what they’re interested in doing next.”

Furthermore, McGovern said that people are going to care a lot less about social networks and a lot more about social contacts.

Social networks, such as MySpace or Facebook, are made up of social contacts, and potential employers will be able to use people’s networks as a sort of network reference.

“So an employer might say ‘This candidate looks interesting. Do we know this person? Does anybody here know this person?’” McGovern explained.

“You might look at their social network, and find out that he’s friends with somebody who works down in the marketing department. Let’s go talk to that person and see if he’s a good guy.

“Candidates want this information out there. A good candidate wants you to be able to check them out. They’re saying ‘Here’s my network, check me out’.”

He said the same principle would be applied to jobs, so that candidates could see how they were connected to a potential employer through their contacts.“You might have a friend who has a friend who used to work there, so you might want to ask that friend if it’s a good place to work. This idea of context is going to be really important,” he said.

However, McGovern cautioned young recruiters who were using social networks for candidate searches to exercise caution.

While people are busy creating networks within the current role, they take that network with them when they leave. “And they’re taking that network to their next employer,” he said.

“We think a big trend is going to be employer-owned networks, not recruiter-owned networks right. So when the recruiter leaves your network, people that are connected to your company stay intact.”

McGovern also predicted that the resume might be on its way out. He said that resumes normally didn’t convey in-depth information about skills, competencies, personality and cultural fit.

He said that candidates will have a personal profile online that they maintain for their entire life, and candidates will grant access to certain employers during certain periods of time.

“There are a tremendous number of companies who have invested interest for making this happen because we all want the process to work better, particular for employers,” he said.

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) will also evolve to the next level, according to McGovern. He predicted the focus is going to move from filtering resumes more towards tracking skills and competencies.

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