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It is better
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the web than
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not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall


The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations

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(September 11, 2003) - The recruiter's holy grail is an automated tool that identifies, from a resume and other personal information, candidates who match the real requirements (usually unstated) of a particular job. Of course, the legend goes, that person is available and meets any credentialing requirements as well. With a click of a button, the hire happens.

We have seen amazing energies thrown at this notion for many years now. The truth, unfortunately, boils down to the fact that matching can't and won't work. Automation will never be enough to find the right person for a particular job.

That doesn't mean that you won't be swamped with offers for services that propose to accomplish the matching function.

It also doesn't mean that you can't purchase services that make the question of 'fit' somewhat easier to intuit. It's just that a 'match' involves so much human judgment that the process cannot be fully automated. It is possible, however, to get the details of employment branding refined to the point that fit is easier to find.

The real question in developing a system that produces "matches" is how much time and energy you are willing to invest upfront. The more detailed and accurate the job requirements, the more likely you are to find what you are looking for. In short, some positions (because of turnover and low cost) do not merit the investment. Others (for reasons of strategy) are too complex. There are a range of positions that merit detailed investigation and documentation as a foundation for matching. Again, matching is a way of narrowing the field.

We're pretty big fans of the 'Tom Janz' approach. Janz, a refreshing alternative to the industrial psychology monoculture, has built a company around the idea that matching technology can be simply inserted into the recruiting process. While most approaches to matching emphasize being comprehensive, the Janz approach is more 'pareto-like' (20% of the effort will get the most important 80% of the value).

Janz' company Behavior Description Technologies (BDT) provides a useful array of services from instructional material for Behavioral Interviewing to a simple module that screens applicants with 6 or seven questions. It's worth a look.

John Sumser


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