In Friday’s blog post (“Noah’s Job Search”, 8/9/13) I introduced the fine work of Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler, founders of CareerXroads.  As promised, I am devoting additional blog posts to their excellent and enlightening report (“This Year’s Mystery Job Seeker: Noah Z. Ark, A Man For The Modern World”

CareerXroads is a consulting company specializing in human resources, staffing, and recruiting.  As part of its research each year, the company creates an online fictitious mystery job seeker.  The purpose is to assess the current state of the online job-seeker experience.

You might remember the newest fictitious online job seeker was none other than Noah Z. Ark (alluding to the real Noah of biblical proportions).  Once the reader would drill further down Noah’s resume, the summaries of experience became quite interesting:

Gathered intelligence utilizing computer expertise on the migration of animals in large vessels during severe thunder storms.  Contacted by the big kahuna on what to do to collect and train animals to survive during the big flood.  Utilized computer modeling and decision making theory to determine which pairs of mammals could survive a long ocean voyage under catastrophic weather conditions.  Exceptional negotiating skills having brokered numerous deals with foreign governments over animal rights laws.

Interestingly, in addition to broader online job-seeker Web sites, CareerXroads targeted the companies on Fortune’s, “100 Best Places To Work For” list.  It did this for a very important reason:

These organizations are said to be at the forefront in their recruiting systems and treatment of online job seekers, so their replies are considered a predictor of wider trends. …[we want] to determine if companies were doing more than saying the right things about how they handle online job seekers.

CareerXroads found scattered improvements in 2013.  Nevertheless, it characterized matters much more negatively than positively, to the point Noah encountered a second flood:

We discovered pockets of improvement but a flood of inadequacy.

These inadequacies are grouped into four key areas.  Here are the four areas in which companies are not performing well:

1—Responding to applications.  Even when they do, they do not follow up with updates.  Roughly three in four companies did not offer closure.

2—Sharing enough information for job candidates to make educated decisions.

3—Nurturing a serious dialogue with candidates.  Two in three companies had no two-way interaction with candidates even though this is a building block of the employment brand.

4—Paying close enough attention to resumes but rather relying on their automated systems to screen candidates.  Five companies out of 100 contacted Ark to schedule an interview, although CareerXroads’ intent was clear to see at the end of Ark’s resume with a disclaimer.

I agree with CareerXroads’ assessment; this is a flood of inadequacy.  Allowing an automated system to screen resumes might be a timesaver, but it limits the human touch that so often discerns the nuances of the candidate.  Although I have great confidence in the power of the algorithm, I never want to dismiss the power of the person.

If companies genuinely want to change, I remain confident refinements can reverse the flood of these inadequacies.  The companies that make these kinds of changes first and do them well will be standard-bearers.  They will be the new pacesetters for the future.  They will pioneer a bold new dynamic other companies will emulate.  They will also be the companies that attract and retain top talent.

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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