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Theory 3.1: Tools for Users

(August 12, 2005) Roughly, Theory One was that vertical search was a necessary carrier for "sell-side advertising. Implicit in that theory, though unstated, is a diminishing of the importance of central hub job boards. Theory Two was that vertical search was an interesting way to keep communities and networks entertained with cheap content, giving a distribution benefit to the job boards while allowing a more passive candidate oriented direct marketing approach. Theory Three is  about giving tools to users.

The hiring process, after 20 years of automation and ten years of web-ification, job board-ization, applicant trashing systems and a few good attempts at talent management, remains broken. It would be a remarkable thing if the emerging vertical search toolmakers would seriously address the overall problem.

Here's our prioritized list of places in need of fixing:

  1. Respect for all Candidates
    Candidates who are treated as "eyeballs" will send lots of spam. The courtship process (even for the least of jobs) is a two way street that sets the tone for the overall relationship. From poor candidate experience on websites to massive data overload from unsorted opportunity, people who are applying for work bear the brunt of our industry's sloth. Embedding respect in the hiring process is a core principle  underlying many of these items.
  2. Performance Standards / Transparency
    Any process that depends on the good will of others (candidates) should have clear expectations for performance established early on. For example, clear answers to questions like: How long will this take? What are my chances? How big is the competitive pool? What percentage of candidates from which source are hired?
  3. Transparency
    Transparency means status and accountability Where performance standards set expectations, Transparency ensures a measured approach.
  4. Process Feedback
    After all of the time and energy invested in the hiring process, most candidates walk away with nothing to show for their investment. The very least that should be offered is an audit that describes steps that can be taken to improve the odds the next time around.
  5. Data Ownership and Rights Management
    This question, which is clearly answered in most civilized countries, involves clear handling, disposition and security procedures for data that is the property of candidates,
John Sumser

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