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Why Job Portals Are Outliving Their Usefulness

16/03/2016 8:15 AM IST | Updated 28/06/2016 11:00 PM IST
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Job portals continue to remain the most widely used recruitment mechanism. The question emerging in the changing job scenario however is their effectiveness in finding the right candidate. Job portals were among the first generation products of the internet, when the web was all about collecting information and creating access. They were welcome at a time when looking for an opening meant scouring the classifieds, sending letters by post and even knocking on doors. There was no one place where people could find open jobs in real time and easily apply to them. Companies looking for recruits had a similarly hard time since they too did not have a common platform to find people who were currently looking for jobs.

There's an explosion of opportunities and job-seekers on the internet, but the focus has shifted from simply 'finding people' to 'finding the right people'.

However, the success of the internet undid the value that job portals created when they began.

Today, billions of people are interacting over the internet in several different ways and is it is exponentially easier to operate. This has led to job portals slowly losing their relevance in the traditional sense.

There's an explosion of opportunities and job-seekers on the internet, but over time, the focus has shifted from simply 'finding people' to 'finding the right people'. In this scenario, hiring through traditional job portals sees two major hurdles:

The problem of plenty: With the wide reach of the internet and information getting distributed at lightning speed, recruiters today get hundreds of applicants for a single job position making it nearly impossible to figure out who they should or shouldn't talk to. For example, an HR manager while hiring for a typical corporate position, will receive anywhere between 100-500 applications for every position being offered. This becomes an efficiency issue with HR managers spending endless time sifting through resumes.

Lack of useful information: Job portals pretty much work by using resume information to match people. Unfortunately, information available through job portals is not enough to do an intelligent match. Recruiters see very similar resumes of hundreds of applicants making it impossible to figure out which candidate seems to be relevant or better for the job at hand.

Recruiters today get hundreds of applicants for a single job position making it nearly impossible to figure out who they should or shouldn't talk to.

At entry-level hiring, a few resumes stand out for exemplary educational qualifications, but this is a small percentage. All other resumes look very similar and there just isn't enough information available to do effective job matching.

On the other hand, if we look at niche jobs, most people nowadays are being hired for potential rather than demonstrable experience. With the job scenario changing dramatically, most of the recruitment is driven by the potential to be able to do those jobs rather than actual experience, so again the resume becomes an ineffective tool for hiring.

Now if we see this situation from a job seekers' perspective, a job portal has hundreds of open jobs. For a candidate with basic entry level skills it becomes fairly hard to analyze which jobs he or she is ready for and should apply to. Eventually, they apply to too many jobs, which makes the overall process of job hunting inefficient. Also, most organizations use automated mechanisms to reach out to these candidates and get them to go through a process. Again, it's a phenomenal waste of time for them to go through multiple processes with really no useful information/feedback. In this process, they might also miss out on the right jobs for them.

Information available through job portals is not enough to do an intelligent match.

Any marketplace works effectively when there is value for both sides of the ecosystem, in this case job seekers or employers. As the number of people and opportunities on these platforms is increasing, effective matching is breaking down. With the proliferation of the internet and the rise in the number of candidates and jobs on the platforms, their effectiveness is in question and the platforms need to deploy smarter ways of matching.

Some of the more recent job platforms are trying to leverage assessments, social profiling, professional connections and endorsements as mechanisms to better match people to relevant jobs and candidates to corporations. For example, a job credentialing platform like AMCAT can predict a salary match of a person by a correlation of 0.6 and above. Social profiling platforms are using publically available information. Similarly, professional networks like LinkedIn offer peer validated information to improve the job matching mechanism and help recruiters identify the right talent.

Job portals need to evolve into hybrid platforms encompassing various technologies for better and more effective matching of people to opportunities.

The effectiveness of some of these new techniques varies between types and levels of jobs. While skill assessments might work very well for jobs which require potential or people who are early on in their career, professional networks/endorsements might work better to validate longer careers and success.

Eventually, job portals need to evolve into hybrid platforms encompassing various technologies for better and more effective matching of people to opportunities.

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