As is the case with many industries, the first phase of technology integration is about transferring offline or analog processes online.
In the recruitment industry, we saw a generation that helped assist companies and candidates by putting them all onto one platform, then using a keyword optimized version of search to take people from awareness though consideration and conversion.
Think Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, Indeed.com and TheLadders.com. Each built a slightly different experience by layering other offerings on top of helping answer the basic questions. For simplicity-sake:
- how do I find a good job?
- how do I hire a good candidate?
Going after size and audience first
A high level roundup of who these sites serve and what they offer.
Monster.com is primarily used to help those seeking work to find job openings that match their skills and location. In 2006, Monster was one of the 20 most visited websites out of 100 million worldwide, according to comScore Media Metrics#.
CareerBuilder.com provides online career search services for more than 1,900 partners as of March 2008, including 140 newspapers and portals such as AOL and MSN#.
Indeed.com is an emaployment-related metaseach engine for job listings. As a single-topic search engine, it offers vertical search, is currently available in over 50 countries and 28 languages and has surpassed Monster in number of searches -- over 140 million unique visitors every month#.
TheLadders started life as a service for $100k+ job seekers, and later opened to job-matching services for career-driven professionals. The company helps professionals find the jobs and meet the employers that are right for their career goals#.
Millions of profiles, and millions of companies however do not guarantee a good match.
Algorithms can be gamed with the right keywords -- a cottage industry of resume writing for machine reading advice has been helping in that regard. For candidates there is still the issue of understanding company culture and fit.
Taking the process online and making it bigger and more efficient helps some in one regard, yet creates complexity in another.
* Of course, at the same time, a roster of niche vertical and specialized marketplaces flourished. I won't dig too deeply into it at this stage as I'm not an expert in career sites -- my interest is the evolution of technology and business.
The questions on each side of the conversation still beg for further steps and data points. How do I know the company and the job are really what advertised? Does the candidate information represent reality?
Making relationships visible next
Once the one platform marketplace is optimized and automation continues to drive efficiency up and costs down, we are still left with the overarching question of how to help sort through a roster of likely candidates and find the one for me.
Enter a new wave of services that begin to make the relationship between people visible by encouraging connections and helping develop one's network.
LinkedIn.com is a business-oriented Social networking service# where professionals and companies can connect through personal relationships. For this reason it has been a favorite tool for relationship brokers -- recruiters, headhunters, and then sales professionals.
The network provides a series of filters to help with sorting private/public information. However, the connection- and real name-based nature of the social network raised the question of finding a more discreet way of doing due diligence.
Questions like: how do I know what the experience is really like inside your company? What salary benchmarks should I be aware of as I navigate the process? Created an opening for another kind of service. One that would help protect sources while still providing some form of verification.
Glassdoor.com, a U.S.-based "job and career site where employees anonymously dish on the pros and cons of their companies and bosses" and rate the CEOs. The company "verified that the reviews came from real employees through technological checks of e-mail addresses and through screenings by a content management team"#.
Technology is starting to do more of the heavy lifting in terms of providing services that were not possible at scale in the analog world and still preserving the integrity of the experience as much as possible.
Iterating what works
People are becoming more comfortable using the tools and platforms, and are developing a sense of what they like and don't like about them. User adoption is delivering usage data as feedback.
So now we are at a point where iteration of the elements that are working is starting to accelerate. Since companies become very good at what used to work, you probably will not be suprised to note how upgrades are actually happening on new platforms.
Specialized networks that are professional-results-focused are flourishing. Take for example Behance.net, a platform developed to showcase and discover photography, graphic design, illustration, and fashion. Where other services are meant to organize creative people and support creative careers#.
Another example still on the creative side is 99Designs.com, a graphic design marketplace that connects designers with customers who need quality, affordable design services.
The company pioneered the design contest, where designers submit competing designs in response to a customer’s design brief—and the winner receives a cash payment for their work#.
99Design.com co-founder Matt Mickiewicz's new company Hired.com is out to reinvent the job-placement process. Personal experience with the still choppy hiring process help Mickiewicz sero in on the opportunity.
[...] found himself dismayed by a lack of search options: There were job ads, which were time consuming; personal recommendations, which couldn't provide for a startup looking to scale fast; and, finally, an endless army of headhunters trawling LinkedIn for potential candidates#.
Accelerating the process
Hired.com is a "curated, two-sided marketplace" that helps pair job seekers with the right job as fast as possible. It works based on a rapid auction model:
- Software engineers, product managers, and other technology/media/finance types create a profile.
- This billboard acts as their resume and portfolio, which clients like OpenTable, Lyft, Gilt, and American Express then look through.
- After listing their desired salary requirements, they spend the next week interviewing with interested companies, which then "bid" on the candidate they want.
There is a seven-day limit on acting. Word-of-mouth marketing and the ability to advertise availability discreetly if employed make the platform a viable contender for successful matchmaking.
Demand encourages adoption -- candidates in New York are equally fed up with recruiters and are tired of feeding resumes into a black hole. The promise that recruiting should be transparent, unbiased, and that the talent should be in control is making the service more appealing.
Where do we go from here?
Taking our destiny in our own hands by learning new skills thanks to online programs, starting companies at a faster rate, going solo, and/or exploring flexible arrangements by taking on project work are all easier thanks to technology.
Full time employees exploring other options can try HireMyFriend.io, a platform that provides a level of anonymity for employment seekers by keeping personal details--names and pictures--private until the job hunter expressly gives it to companies.
So far it doesn't sound that earthshaking. However, the service allows anymous profile creators to ask their friends to back them up (hence the name). View a sample profile here#.
The intermediaries who are not adding value are getting cut off and the platform is acting as the broker by connecting reputation into the process, and injecting transparency and speed into it -- both valued functions.
In the background, the engines that support the system learn about what works and what can be improved.
This is what I'm seeing as trajectory. Interested in learning about your take and of course more tools. I'm a big fan of Twitter lists, and I have one for recruiters who are active on the network.
My take is any new tool tends to be additive until it or the market is mature for what is next.
Happy connection Friday.
Bonus reading: 50 Job Resources for Makers.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.