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Theory 3.2: Global Accountability

(August 18, 2005)  As you can tell, we've been applying a lot of elbow grease to the concept of vertical search in the jobs market. While we remain skittish on the concept, we've missed more than our fair share of predicting the obvious. We'll give the benefit of the doubt to the buzz this time.

So, what are some obvious things you could do with a vertical search engine in the jobs arena? (We always told the folks at Monster that if we'd had the Flip Dog data, we'd retire and become stock market players.)

(BTW, indeed does have a tools development interface, an XML API. We anticipate seeing the same thing from each of the competitors. It's really not Web 2.0 without the possibility of overlapping mashups. Really disciplined players, like Amazon, have APIs that are released like software, by revision number, on a schedule. The commitment to an ecology of developers separates winners from losers in Web 2.0)

We'd like to suggest a focus on accountability. Holding historical and current data from the job market gives the verticals (indeed, simplyhired, workzoo, and, perhaps nimblecat) the opportunity to measure a number of things that job hunters currently don't (or can't) know.

For example, here's a baker's dozen variables that a good job search engine ought to be able to give its customers. With this data, lots of interesting performance data about human capital management would be available for market review.

  1. Freshness: How long has this job been online?
  2. Specific Shelf Life: How long does this company keep jobs like this open?
  3. General Shelf Life: How long does this company keep an average job open?
  4. Importance to the Company: What is the quantitative relationship between items 2 and 3?
  5. Specific Volume: How often does this company post this job? How many times has this job been posted in the past year?
  6. General Volume: How many job ads has this company posted in the last year?
  7. Seasonality: Are there hiring patterns at this company?
  8. Timing: When would be an advantageous time to apply based on posting volume?
  9. Distribution: Is this job typically available at other locations of the company?
  10. Inter Mural Similarity: Are there jobs that are similar in other companies in the same region?
  11. Intra Mural Similarity: Are there similar jobs within the company, by comparing actual ad content?
  12. Cluster: What Jobs have similar responsibilities but different titles?
  13. Branding: Has there been a shift in the way that this job is described?

Each of these items simply involves massaging the data that must be collected to build a vertical. There are lots of other wonderful possibilities once you start mashing in other data.

Don't forget to check out the blogs on bert.

John Sumser

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