​Will Google’s new tool increase the quantity – and quality – of resumés?

Job postings, recruitment process may need revamping: Experts
By Marcel Vander Wier
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/14/2018
Google is donating $1 million to MaRS Discovery District, an innovation hub in Toronto, to design a futuristic job platform. Credit: Elijah Lovkoff / Shutterstock

(Note: This article originally appeared in Canadian HR Reporter Weekly, our new digital edition for subscribers. Sign up today to make sure you don't miss future issues: www.hrreporter.com/subscribe.)

A new job search feature offered by Google may overhaul the recruitment process for human resource professionals, according to experts.

On April 26, the tech company launched Google for Jobs in Canada — allowing people to look for a job using the company’s powerful search engine.

The feature has already launched in the United States and India, and it automatically opens when people enter a job-related query on Google. It works in tandem with many job-board websites, including Monster.

Jobseekers can sift through postings based on specifications such as job title, commuting distance or time commitment. Users can also save their searches or turn on alerts to receive email notifications when jobs are posted with criteria specific to them.

“This is really another technological advance in the world of HR and search,” said Angela Payne, general manager at Monster Canada in Toronto. “All of the intention is to be matching qualified candidates more cleanly and more closely.”

“It’s the way of the future. The reality is artificial intelligence is already transforming the recruitment process… and Google’s dominance in the online search space in general is just another evolution of collecting information and being ubiquitous.”

Google’s advances are intended to provide an improved, efficient experience for users, said Google Canada spokesperson Alexandra Hunnings Klein.

“Within this job search experience on Google, you’ll have access to detailed information about each job, so you can find the opportunity that’s right for you,” she said. “You’ll see an immersive experience that allows you to explore jobs from across the web, and refine your search to meet your unique needs.”

But while Google’s sophistication in aggregation will benefit the job search industry, it’s not a cure-all for recruitment, said Cissy Pau, principal for Clear HR Consulting in Vancouver.

“It’s another tool,” she said. “It’s another avenue to get the job out there, but it’s not the saviour to fill your vacant positions.”

“There’s going to be some disruption, but I think maybe the disruption is going to be HR practitioners or companies are going to need to be smarter and more efficient with where they advertise.”

Increased exposure

With Google aggregating job postings from job boards and the internet at large, employers’ recruitment efforts will receive more visibility, said Payne.

“It presents an opportunity for Canadian companies not only to get more candidates, but more qualified candidates,” she said. “That’s good. Ultimately, we want employers to find people, and we want people to find jobs.”

“It’s a benefit for both the jobseeker and employer, because the seeker has access to a lot of different options… And for the customer, the employer, ultimately getting more candidates, more qualified candidates in a more broad-based way is never a bad thing, either.”

A partnership with Google is not necessary for a job posting to appear in the search — though it is helpful. Google automatically indexes open job postings where possible, but following best-practice integration instructions is beneficial, said Hunnings Klein.

“Many jobs providers or platforms have marked up the jobs that are open on their websites so as to flag them to search engines and other third-party platforms,” she said.

“Our goal is to surface the highest quality and most relevant information to our users.”

For HR professionals, the launch of Google for Jobs could mean a major spike in incoming resumés, said Pau.

“Getting your jobs found is obviously important, and that’s what all these aggregator sites do. They allow your jobs to be found,” she said.

“It’s probably going to increase the quantity of resumés that companies will get for a job posting, but it will not increase the quality, and that’s always been our issue.”

The vast majority of applications through random postings are unqualified, said Pau.

“I find it’s just very, very easy for jobseekers to submit a resumé without really looking at the qualifications, without seeing if they’re qualified, without customizing their application,” she said. “That’s kind of inefficient… Somebody’s going to be wasting their time screening through unqualified applicants.”

Once considered critical to the job application process, many submitted resumés are now rushed or incomplete, according to Pau.

“I don’t think it makes it easier for the recruiter, the person hiring, because now you get these generic resumés that are not at all custom to your vacancy, and the quality of these applications over the years, I’ve noticed, has declined significantly.”

How to get noticed

Clean information is essential if you want a job posting to get noticed, according to Payne.

“Organizations — whether on the board or not on the board — need to have really good, clean information on their job ads,” she said.

“That’ll help them get peak reach for sure.”

To begin, postings should not include internal nomenclature, excessive punctuation or unnecessary special characters, said Payne.

Additionally, all online job postings should now include: the full street address of the workplace; a detailed description of job responsibilities and qualifications; work hours; pay ranges; the date of the job posting; and the precise job title.

Promotion of brand and culture is also important, as is the inclusion of questions to ensure applications actually read the entire posting, said Pau.

“Those questions could be industry-specific, or could be just general,” she said, noting they are simply intended to ensure some effort goes into each application. But the questions do not always work, as they may screen out quality applicants as well.

Depending on the industry and volume of unqualified applicants, consideration of niche association websites or internal recruitment systems is also a worthy endeavour, said Pau.

“If I were looking for an HR manager, does it make more sense for me to post on Indeed? Or should I maybe go to (an HR association), where you’re focused?”

“(An internal system) is cumbersome, it could turn people away,” she said. “On the flipside, as an employer, that might be my way of saying, ‘Who’s actually serious? Who actually wants to do research around what my company does and who we are, before they submit an application?’ It could be a good screening.”

Job platform of the future

Google also announced it is donating $1 million to MaRS Discovery District — an innovation hub in Toronto — to design a futuristic job platform.

The grant supports the development of MaRS’ Employment Pathway Platform, an online tool meant to help Canadians successfully shift into future workplaces. It is expected to launch early next year.

The platform will use labour market data and skills models to develop personalized transition plans for workers looking to make a career change, said Joe Greenwood, lead executive of data at MaRS.

“As technology creates changes in workforce patterns, we need to find ways to create opportunities for all of us to adjust,” he said. “The roles and skills that we require are shifting, and are shifting quite fast. People are going to have to continuously learn and adapt their skills as those roles move.”

The platform will provide a forward-looking view as to which roles are increasing in demand, as well as similar skill sets, said Greenwood.

“More of us are having to make jumps than we’ve had to before, and it’s not obvious.”

Those industries most susceptible to automation’s effects will be addressed first, including manufacturing, retail, hospitality, and financial services.

The first phase of the project will focus on citizens most vulnerable to labour market shifts, including youth and Indigenous workers, said Greenwood.

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