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Additional information from iLogos Research, including the report, “Best Practices for Fortune 500 Career Web Site Recruiting.”


Practitioner Information

Society for Human Resources Management

International Human Resources Management

Industry Information

eRecruiting Business

Hunt-Scanlon Strategy

For book directory of job boards

CareerXroads 2001 G. Crispin, M. Mehler. ISBN 0-9652239-1-4

To win in a knowledge economy you have to acquire the best knowledge! As the knowledge economy evolves, the world of talent acquisition is undergoing drastic change. In this article, I will uncover the technologies to help large companies leverage the latest strategies to lead in this new economy and show the likely economical implications of those new applications.

You acquire knowledge by different means: some by training existing staff or redistributing it internally; or by externally acquiring new skills. Here I will not cover internal retraining, but rather focus on optimizing skills within companies and the external acquisition of these skills. To help explain, let’s take the analogy of what actions and technologies you would use to find a restaurant.

Finding a Restaurant Tomorrow

If you are driving around looking for a good restaurant, knowledge can help you reach your destination faster. A long time ago, people had only one way to know the location. That was to have been there before or to have been given an explanation of how to get there by someone who went there before. Then signs came along as a way to help people find their way around. Next maps gave us the ability to locate where we were and give us directions on how to get there.

More recently, the world has expanded the possibilities. Now, global positioning systems (GPS) can help you locate where you are, and tell you. Automatically, they show or even tell where you want to go at any time. Some even more advanced systems will actually recommend restaurants according to your taste. Those who have tried GPS in their car, however, know it is still sometimes better to have somebody in the car who knows the city well.

GPS technology is not yet perfect but we are close to a technology solution that will not only learn our taste, recommend a good restaurant and tell us if it is reasonable, but also share third party reviews of the eatery. So, what are the similarities between technologies to find a restaurant and those to find a job?

A Short History of Acquiring Human Capital (Recruiting Talent)

In the past, we had a referral system. “I know somebody who is looking to hire somebody like you.” That still operates today. Next came the “signage” stage, advertising that we were looking for somebody. This signage went from the physical world, such as the store window, to the paper world of the classifieds. Today it is further extended to the online world in the form of online job posting. But, as you can imagine, there is a revolution—the equivalent of the GPS technology—in the technologies to find a job, or to find talent to fill a job.

How Are Corporations Optimizing Their Search for Talent?

Today companies use a combination of techniques to find, or source, talent. Advertising was the first way to find talent and a retained resume was the tool par excellence. Today the Internet changes many interactions and makes it easy for corporations to maintain relationships with prospective candidates. At iLogos, we follow the evolution of career web sites by tracking the latest usage and best practices of large corporations. In our research, we identified 20 factors of success to begin efficient recruiting with technology.

Before covering these 20 best practice factors, though, I want to make clear that using a corporate web site only as an online front-end to recruiting data or to simply attract viewers is not very useful. You need to integrate the user interface with a back-end process to improve recruiting efficiency.

In our research, we found that best career sites contain the following 20 sections.

1.    A link to Careers Section from the Homepage
2.   About the Company: Benefits
3.   About the Company: Culture
4.   Separate College Recruiting Section
5.   Job Search by Job Category/Department
6.    Job Search by Location
7.    Job Search by Keyword
8.   Urgent Need Jobs Highlighted
9.   Complete Job Description
10.   One Click to Apply
11.   Pre-Assessment Tools Customized for Each Job Position
12.   Choice of Cut-and-Paste Form or Resume Builder
13.   Attachment of Formatted Resume
14.    Application Automatically Connected to a Job Position
15.   Anonymous Application
16.   Email to Friend
17.   Job Agent
18.   Profiling
19.   Reuse of Candidate Information for Multiple Applications
20.   User Feedback

Full details on all the Best Practices for Fortune 500 Career Web Site Recruiting are available at Now, we’ll look at two important practices: Profiling and the Job Agent.


Profiles of candidates compile information about their career preferences in a predefined way.

Profiling is a matter of matching, not filtering, candidates to job positions. The traditional resume has sections covering education and work experience. Profiling, instead, standardizes the gathering of a candidate’s job preferences and overall conditions of employability.

Conditions of employability refers to such issues as:

 Skills level and development

 Willingness to relocate

 Attitudes toward business travel

 Expected salary range

 Availability or start date

 Preferred working conditions: shifts, full-time/part-time, telecommuting.

The recruiter also has the opportunity to gather information such as “Languages Spoken” that, while appearing on some candidates’ resumes, may not appear on all. Profiling ensures that this information is gathered from each candidate in a standardized way.

Profiling resembles a resume builder: an online form presents the jobseeker with a number of predetermined questions. They then choose from a set of predetermined options; there are no free-text fields, which would require interpretation.

Unlike a resume builder, which is presented to the applicant at the very end of the job search and application process, profiling can occur at a very early stage. A first-time visitor to a Careers section is prompted to register with the site, which provides profiling information. This information can become part of a record the candidate can save on the site, with a password, for future use and updating. Also, visitors who proceed directly to a job search can be prompted to complete a profile when they apply for a particular job position.

Job Agent

During a visit to a company’s Careers section, a jobseeker may register with a “Job Agent” to be informed if a position matching his or her job skills and interest arises in the future.

The Job Agent asks the jobseeker to provide his or her email address, and to answer a few simple questions. The email address enables the jobseeker to be contacted at a future date. The questions form a picture of the jobseeker’s interests. At a minimum, the jobseeker is asked to indicate his or her desired location and job category.

To do this, the jobseeker typically selects from lists built into the Job Agent, reflecting the company’s locations and business areas. A jobseeker, for example, can select the job category “Marketing” from the supplied list of job categories. Questions on such topics as the jobseeker’s salary requirements or willingness to travel help to build a more detailed profile and can be used for the person registering with the Job Agent.

When a position matching the profile supplied by the jobseeker arises, that jobseeker receives a notifying email. The email can give a short description of the job so the potential candidate can make a quick, on-the-spot assessment of his or her interest. The email invites the jobseeker to return to the company’s Careers section and apply immediately to the job position. Typically, the email provides a link that leads the jobseeker directly back to that job’s online application.

Implications of The Job Agent

As shown on the chart below, a Job Agent is used by only six percent of Fortune 500 companies. That level of adoption shows that we are at a very early stage for this practice.

The Job Agent is the equivalent of having an intelligent friend to remind you what is available out there according to the criteria that you selected. But most Job Agents have been based on simple tools that work with keyword matching technology and have no learning or evolution capability.

As described earlier, profiling is the complement to make this technology useful for both the jobseeker and the corporations. It allows a true match between the two and provides true value.

The Gap Between the Supply and Demand of Talent

Friction or a lack of direct and clear communication characterizes inefficient markets. Today, the human capital world is full of friction. We often hire a candidate because we can find no one better or, because there is nothing open, we cannot allow another candidate to grow.

Tomorrow that will improve. Large corporations will be allowed to maintain their own database of candidates where automated skills matching will be performed between the supply of talent and the demand for talent. Historically friction has been very high when acquiring human capital because of the many imperfections in the medium of communication. The lack of a standard communication platform has caused a supply and demand disconnect. We tried to fix this communication problem by imposing a standard of communication to describe skills: the resume. But today, the databases and the Internet technologies allow companies to define a new standard. Today a new dynamic platform has been created: a corporate-wide skill database that allows candidates and corporations to produce a better match and reduce the friction.

Finding a Job Tomorrow 

Tomorrow your dynamic profile of skills will be available and will streamline the process of matching talent to requisition. Like the intelligent guide to your restaurant of choice, the route to filling and mining your talent pool will be vibrant and efficient. Dynamic, updated databases and automated interactive communications will enable a good fit for both jobseeker and corporation. Companies will also be able to utilize personal and corporate-wide skill databases to link demand of skills or talent internally or externally and even help build people’s skills through training and elearning.

What Will Technology Change for the Economy?

Technology and automation in human capital are here to stay. If you are competing for talent, technology is key to speed. If you are in a slow down, technology is key for maximum efficiency. Technology will also most likely influence the speed of the economic recovery. Time to fire can be very short; that process is easy. But time to hire has produced an intrinsic friction because of the inefficiency of the communication process between jobseekers and corporations. With Internet technology bringing better efficiency to recruiting, that friction is diminishing. Hiring can accelerate and corporations can gear back up with less lag time once economic conditions change.

The Internet and its related technologies are changing the backbone of the intrinsic structure of our information exchange. Those who are not rewiring their processes today could be swept away by the next wave!

Yves Lermusiaux is President and founder of the Internet recruiting intelligence consultancy, iLogos Research. He is a widely sought after public speaker, consultant, and industry analyst on the topic of online recruiting, and has been quoted in Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Standard and Time magazine.



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