Recruitment technology evolving

A look at a few applications intended to improve matching process

The clout of job ads in newspapers and magazines has almost completely faded away with the predominance of online job boards and corporate websites. But the recruitment process is still time-consuming, costly and error-prone. So to provide more qualified candidates in less time, recruitment technologies, such as optimized keyword search engines, mobile applications and video platforms, continue to evolve.

Optimizing the search, match

Vying to improve upon search engines, such as Google, that use a keyword search and Boolean technology — which can produce a bunch of resumés from unqualified candidates — Monster has launched Power Resume.

The product takes a holistic approach in searching through resumés in Monster’s database. If, for example, it searches for someone from “Harvard,” only candidates with education from that school, not “John Harvard” or “Harvard Street,” are produced. Or if a recruiter is keen to find a salesperson who has exceeded sales targets, Monster’s premium feature will present resumés that include “record sales,” “top salesperson” or “president’s club.”

It factors in more than 10,000 word variations for just one search, says Javid Muhammedali, director of product management at Monster in Boston.

“The product brings a human-like understanding to the match process.”

Jobseekers are ranked out of 10 and their resumés are boiled down to a short summary, with years of experience, education and skills match, that can be stacked side by side to compare candidates.

“It’s able to parse that resumé and identify each job they had, what company they worked for and how long they worked for that company and, on that basis, prioritize applicants,” says Muhammedali.

Workopolis is also busy improving its matching capabilities. The online job board has launched a search engine strategy that automatically optimizes every posting on its site for Google. Job postings on Workopolis are also distributed on Twitter.

“We’ve become an enabler for customers to really make it easier to extend their reach,” says Gabriel Bouchard, president of Workopolis.

In May, Workopolis will launch a new process to expand its ability to reach already-employed individuals — “window shoppers” — who make up 43 per cent of the population compared to active and passive jobseekers.

“We want to provide employers with a much more scalable, online recruitment solution which will allow them to maximize their reach, do a better job at engaging individuals who are qualified, not necessarily candidates, but people with the right skill sets,” he says.

As a company, you want to find a way to get in front of those individuals while they’re forming their opinions, says Bouchard.

“Hopefully, it’s going to make the recruiter’s life much easier.”

Mobile applications

Also new is an iPhone application that lets jobseekers search for and apply for jobs wherever they may be. Eventually the application will be available for other smartphones such as the BlackBerry and Android. And this summer, employers and recruiters will be able to manage job postings through mobile devices.

“They’ll be able to search for resumés using their smartphone and look at applications they’ve had listed on the JobServe site,” says Kathryn O’Brien, national sales manager at JobServe Canada, which is distributing the application. “As the workforce becomes more mobile and people are doing more work away from the standard office environment, it’s going to really allow them to have the job board functionality via their handheld device.”

And employers or recruiters do not need to change job postings as job ads are condensed for the application.

“Having concise adverts that are chock full of keywords that the candidates are going to be searching on is what’s going to make online advertising effective for any employer,” says O’Brien.

Videos more complex

Online videos are also making inroads on the recruitment front, in various scenarios. Minavox, for example, offers video-enabled interviewing technology that has candidates go through an online “sort” process.

“You can make the upfront screening part very complex and very specific so really all you’re getting at the very end is a group of highly filtered individuals,” says Todd Nowensky, managing director at Minavox in Toronto.

If successful, the people answer open-ended, interview-specific questions for a webcam. Questions can be presented as onscreen text, an audio clip or streamed video (such as showing a workplace scenario and asking a candidate how he would deal with it).

An employer can then go through the videos using tools to assess candidates — such as inserting comments, scores, pop-up video comments or marking off important sections that can be put together as a playlist and shared with others.

Videos are also the name of the game at Recruiting in Motion, which films jobseekers answering four stock questions.

“There’s no cutting and snipping here, just one straight shot,” says Paul Vendittelli, a partner at Recruiting in Motion in Toronto.

A URL link to a web profile of each candidate is presented to employers, which includes the video clip, a downloadable resumé and brief summary of the candidate — with highlights from the interview.

“When the employer is actually meeting these candidates… they’ve almost done the preliminary screening that a first interview usually takes,” said Vendittelli.

Employers can also be the ones posting videos as part of recruitment efforts. In November, several mining companies became involved in a project run by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MIHR). The council produced video profiles of workers in the mining industry, highlighting those jobs in greatest demand and the range of occupations available.

The videos have been posted on the companies’ websites and also shared at conferences, MIHR’s site and YouTube.

“(The videos are) punchy and really speak to what careers are out there because these are real people, they’re not actors,” says Melanie Sturk, director of attraction, retention and recruitment at MIHR in Kanata, Ont.

MIHR also ran a virtual career fair in early 2010, with exhibitor booths staffed remotely. People from around the world could look at job postings, submit resumés or contact employers through blogs.

“It’s beneficial to the employer because they don’t have to take time away from their desk,” says Sturk.

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