Comparing Job Search Platforms
Most of us know exactly what to do the minute we find ourselves out of work and in need of a new assignment. We go to our favorite job board site such as; indeed, monster, ziprecruiter, etc. and start surfing and spraying the internet with our CV. We also reach out to our friends and colleagues and others within our professional network to put the word out for us. We might even try emailing our resumes to various HR departments or calling a recruitment agency.
This stable of strategies is both familiar and comfortable for us as they are considered the gold standard or status-quo for finding an engineering job in the US. But are they effective and are there any alternatives? The fact is that job searching and recruitment hasn’t changed all that much in the last couple hundred years! I’m dead serious, think about it. Going back to ancient times, if someone needed to hire a worker they would post a job opening on whatever media was available at the time, which after approximately 1440 and the invention of the printing press, usually meant the local newspaper. Qualified workers would then respond to the job opening with their resume. Sound familiar? The only thing that changed in recent times is that we moved from print to the internet.
And that is where everything got very complicated! Sure, it was now a lot easier to find and apply for jobs. But that meant it was also a lot easier for thousands of other highly qualified people to apply as well. The field of available jobs and candidates expanded exponentially and it now takes more time than ever before to find a job. On average, an engineering job opening will see up to 250 candidates apply for it. Of those, only 4 or 5 will be called in for an interview. Beating those odds is like winning in Vegas!
Is there a better way? How about a Skills Matrix? These tables are fantastic for helping managers quickly assign the appropriate resource to a project. Resumes are full of problems; too much or too little information in them, spelling mistakes, unique acronyms, no two written in the same format, etc.
How about a nationwide Recruiting App that utilized a relational database with an embedded, custom-designed, Skills Matrix? Candidates could be easily filter-searched and notified when their skills, education and industry experience matched a resource-seeker’s inquiry. No more surfing for jobs and no more need to post jobs.
This concept of using a relational database with an embedded fixed set of fields isn’t exactly new. It’s currently at the center of almost every single website on the internet. It makes for easy filter-searching whatever you happen to be searching for. A great example is looking for a car on eBay. If you wanted to find a car on eBay, you would start be clicking on all the fields that apply to your particular desired search such as;
Year, Make, Model, Color, Engine, Transmission, etc.
Click the Search button, and all the cars that match our search results would appear. This is your qualified short list and from there you would vet them further by calling the owner, etc. But the relational database that you accessed did all the heavy lifting for you by analyzing a huge amount of data and narrowing it down to specific search results. Can you imagine how long and painful your search would have been if you had been forced to look thru every single car ad (like we used to do in the various auto sale magazines). It’s the same principle no matter what you’re looking for; vacations, all consumer products, etc.
Another big consumer trend that dominates our culture is what are known as ‘Digital Disruptors’. Sites like Uber, Netflix and AirBnB are well known examples of this. None of these platforms own a single taxi, theater or hotel, yet they are the biggest providers of these services in the world. They are digital companies that provide a direct path between the customer and the service provider and bypass everything that used to be in the middle. They do this while at the same time providing greater variety of choices for less money. They also flipped their respective industries upside down, hence the suffix ‘disruptor’.
There’s one last technology worth mentioning at this juncture, which is A.I. (Artificial Intelligence). Right now there are former Google employees in Silicon Valley who are designing an A.I. system that will build professional profiles of people gleaned from information that is available on the internet. That’s right. They’re creating bots that will seek out every detail of your online footprint via your smart phone GPS and camera, your social media posts-likes and shares, the sites you visit, etc. And they do this without your consent or awareness of it. Then they will attempt to match your profile with a resource-seeker’s job opening. Sounds great right? Except that it’s a compete violation of your personal privacy and has the potential to be horribly abused by those who would like to take advantage of your personal data. Aside for that obvious downside, there is also the very likely prospect that the US and Canada will soon pass legislation to curtail the invasive power that big tech has on our personal lives. Once that happens, the A.I. model completely collapses.
So where does that leave us? The system is ripe for a major overhaul, the next quantum leap forward. Engineering Job Czar is completely safe, an isolated island database that is private and will never be shared with other sites. Job seekers use our pull-down menus to voluntarily build their career profiles. Yes, it’s a form you need to fill out (which everyone hates doing) but it will be the last for you ever fill out, for life! Once their profiles are safety and securely stored inside our database, their skills, education and industry experience records can be easily filter-searched by resource-seekers within a few minutes, without posting a job on the internet. The job-seeker is notified immediately and boom! Both parties are connected without a single resume or cover letter being read.
Millennials will especially benefit from such a platform as it conforms to their desire to work outside of conventional norms. They tend to subscribe to the ‘Gig Economy’ (a term borrowed from musicians who go from gig to gig) where they get to pick and choose where they work, how long they work, combine work with pleasure, etc. They need a tool that gets them onto the next gig in a hurry and preferable from their smart phone will enjoying a latte.
So, now there’s an alternative to the status-quo that’s far more effective. Engineering Job Czar, an idea whose time has come! It will always be Free For Job-Seekers.
Steve is an Industrial Automation Technologist with over 30 years experience, working mostly in Oil & Gas. He created a job search/recruiting site after becoming frustrated with platforms like LinkedIn, Monster and Indeed.