HR Technology Column

Still Trying to Get Recruiting Right

Still Trying to Get Recruiting Right| Human Resource Executive Online Yup, the sector is still berserk with innovation, despite the downturn, layoffs and hiring slowing to a crawl. So what better time to debut something completely new, as industry veteran Rob McGovern, founder of CareerBuilder and current CEO of Jobfox, just did?

Monday, April 6, 2009
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More than three years ago, I wrote the first story about Rob McGovern, founder of CareerBuilder, trying to change the recruiting game with a startup called Mkt10.

With $40 million in venture funding, his company, now called Jobfox, has certainly evolved since then. And now at the worst imaginable -- but probably the best -- time, he has released a disruptive new service called ResumePal with five very important vendor partners.

Jobfox has already gotten a hold in the recruiting market with 1,000 corporate clients and more than 1.5 million candidates. Its value proposition is a very different approach to matching candidates and open positions online.

Jobfox discards the resume as the primary source of candidate information, instead using a new kind of profile. This is completely unlike the old profiles, which required the candidate to cut and paste pieces of a resume into the online application's database fields. Or worse, retyping them.

At Jobfox, candidates register on the Web site and go through a series of evermore specific multiple-choice questions about what they want, what they've done (skills) and what they think they're best at. Hundreds of jobs are covered in the Jobfox taxonomy with tens of thousands of skills right down to the project level.

Employers describe their posted jobs using the same taxonomy; Jobfox adds a little fuzzy search; and bingo! Matching candidates with jobs ain't rocket science when everybody is talking the exact same language.

Problem is that Jobfox was a stand-alone service, not connected to any other HR system -- a niche product -- until now.

At the end of March, however, McGovern announced a new service called ResumePal with five applicant tracking system vendors pledged to offer it to their customers by May or June at no extra charge for use on their recruiting Web sites.

Remember, ATS vendors usually supply their clients with a candidate-facing recruiting Web site, in addition to all the back-end and back-office functionality for managing applicants. So suddenly things could get really interesting.

The announced partners and their products are ADP (ADP VirtualEdge Recruitment Services), Kenexa (Kenexa Recruiter BrassRing), Oracle (Oracle EBS iRecruitment and PeopleSoft Enterprise Talent Acquisition Management), SilkRoad Technology (OpenHire) and Softscape (Softscape Hiring Management).

Note that list includes two of the four market-leading ATS products (pre-consolidation): BrassRing and VirtualEdge. And the 800-pound gorilla of large company HRMSes, Oracle, which naturally needs a little longer to offer ResumePal to customers.

ResumePal is basically Jobfox functionality embedded in these ATS offerings without the Jobfox candidate pool (available separately, as the automakers say). At every corporate site supplied by those vendors, candidates will get to choose to apply through ResumePal or through the site's traditional process.

ResumePal hypes this as the first "universal job application standard," and it could become exactly that -- someday. The advantages to both sides are considerable.

For candidates, ResumePal allows a portable profile that, when changed, is automatically updated at every company where they have applied. Candidates are instantly matched to -- and told about -- whatever jobs fit their profile, including those they didn't apply for.

The system also can offer candidates a view into what companies are doing with their profile, potentially ending the "black hole" of applying online and never hearing anything.

For employers, ResumePal delivers a rich candidate profile just like the "employee profiles" all the talent management vendors and the ERPs have been pushing as central to their systems. Integrating recruiting with a ResumePal front-end to other applications will become all the more useful.

Plus, candidate pools full of ResumePal profiles won't grow algae and attract frogs the way resumes do. The automatic distributed updating of profiles will make searching your company's own candidates a more fruitful exercise for recruiters.

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In addition, McGovern says it will reduce the frequency with which candidates abandon recruiting Web sites because of their exhaustive application forms. While I'm not sure which is more exhausting, at least ResumePal only has to be done once.

He also says employers will benefit from better ResumePal matches, driving down the number of candidates they have to spend money to find.

All good enough. In fact, ResumePal also allows attaching and submitting a standard resume, though it's not used for matching, so hiring managers can wave those around as they like to.

So what's wrong with this picture? In a word: adoption.

Did you notice how companies have to create their job requisitions for ResumePal: picking choices from an existing job taxonomy? Know many companies doing that right now, except for current Jobfox clients?

That's why this is disruptive technology. In order to get its obvious benefits, companies have to change their recruiting processes. Of course, there is no better time to do that than right now with recruiting activity down.

I always thought companies buying new recruiting systems during the hiring boom of 2000 were changing the tires on their cars while roaring down the highway at 70 mph. Of course, they were flat and needed to be changed.

Now, with most companies meandering down two-lane back roads (some even unpaved) and ResumePal not costing them a dime, it might be the perfect time to embrace some innovation. We'll see.


HR Technology Columnist Bill Kutik is co-chairman of the 12th Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition ® in Chicago, two weeks earlier than usual this year, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. He is also host of The Bill Kutik Radio Show sm. He can be reached at .

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