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Job Search and e-Recruiting Technology Tools:

A Job Seekers Best Friend and Worst Enemy

Dave York 9/26/2012

Job Search and eRecruiting Technology Tools: A Job Seekers Best Friend and Worst Enemy

Table of Contents
Introduction .............................................................................................................. 2 The basic job seekers process ...................................................................................... 3 New obstacles and potential solutions ........................................................................... 5 Limited internet access and technology fluency ........................................................... 5 Limited human interaction ....................................................................................... 6 Web-based job searches/postings and social networks ................................................ 7 Increased global competition .................................................................................... 8 Conclusions ............................................................................................................... 9 Citations ................................................................................................................. 10

Job Search and eRecruiting Technology Tools: A Job Seekers Best Friend and Worst Enemy

Modern job seekers have a variety of software technology tools available to assist with the various phases of a job search, but must be aware of and be able to overcome their limitations. When used intelligently, these tools can save a great deal of time and effort. But when used carelessly, they can destroy any chances of getting a job. These tools include: Electronic resumes Website job posting and searching databases Resume submission software Document analysis software Testing and assessment software Video networking software Professional networking websites

The tools (also known as e-Recruiting tools) bring together job candidates with open positions and have revolutionized the employment process. In most modern companies, they have become an integral part of the human resource management functions. Companies now utilize these technology tools for a variety of functions including: Advertising open job positions to a global audience Soliciting and accepting resume submissions Extracting keywords from submitted resumes Interviewing potential candidates Assessing candidates competencies Researching candidates backgrounds

From the corporate side of the equation, these tools significantly reduce recruitment costs and increase the pool of qualified global candidates (Lee, 2005). From the job seeker side of the equation, these tools provide an effective way to locate open jobs and submit resumes. However, the rapid evolution and inconsistent utilization of some tools has actually increased the overall complexities of the processes, creating new obstacles for job seekers. So its essential for the modern job seeker to have a good understanding of these tools, their limitations, the new obstacles they may create, and how to overcome these obstacles.

Job Search and eRecruiting Technology Tools: A Job Seekers Best Friend and Worst Enemy

The basic job seekers process

The basic job seekers process has changed very little over the years. It still involves preparing a resume, searching for a job that matches skills and educational background, researching the company, submitting a cover letter and resume, being subjected to a pre-screening test or interview, attending a face-to-face interview, getting an offer or rejection. However, technology tools have changed how many of these processes operate. On the positive side, these changes have transformed tasks that previously took hours to accomplish to tasks that now take only a few minutes. And they have enabled the job search to go global instead of just local. On the negative side, they have complicated some processes by replacing a single step with a multitude of possible variations of a single step. And they have replaced human intelligence with artificial intelligence. For example, the resume has been transformed in both format and content (see table below).

Past A hard-copy visual medium that was formatted to be easily read and understood in order to best sell a candidates professional and personal qualifications for a particular job. Formatted to be visually appealing to read.

Present An electronic resume (e-Resume) that contains a collection of keywords and specific industry-related terms that will be extracted and placed into a searchable database to become a virtual candidate identity. Formatted as a text only digital file with no formatting to make it more easily read by an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software tool.

Final submission form was a hard-copy.

Final submission form may be a hard-copy, a PDF file, a Word file, or a fax.

Technology tolls included typewriter, computer, printer, and fax machine.

Technology tools include the internet, word processing software, email software, PDF conversion software, and OCR scanning software (not to mention a computer and interface devices).

Subscribed to the local newspaper.

Subscribe to email alerts to receive daily listings of new job postings via their email.

A prescreening or assessment test no longer requires a car or plane trip to a testing center to evaluate skills. Its now a web-based list of questions that evaluate both skills and personality traits that is completed online during the job application process.

Job Search and eRecruiting Technology Tools: A Job Seekers Best Friend and Worst Enemy The job interview may not require a candidate to travel to the company for interviews with a long list of people on a candidate selection team. Its now a Skype video call between the candidate sitting in a living room and a collection of decision makers sitting in a conference room at the hiring company. And if selected for the position, the candidates will more than likely be contacted via electronic email (email) and receive the official offer via an attached PDF rather than a post office mailed letter.

The basic human resource managers process

To be most effective, a job seeker now needs to understand not only the process involved with finding a job to fit their skills, but also the process undertaken by the company to locate qualified candidates. Technology tools have exploded in growth since the 1990s and become an essential part of the HR management system, fundamentally changing the recruitment process (Lee, 2005). Recruiters and HR Managers no longer contact the local newspaper to post specific open positions in the area. They now enter the job requirements into a database that is posted on the company website and third party job boards (Lee, 2005). Or they may perform a search through an existing database of online third party resumes, or search through social network databases such as LinkedIn and contact potential candidates directly. They no longer receive mailed-in resumes from just the limited geographic reach of the local newspaper. They now receive resumes from a global pool of qualified candidates though the internet and email. And when a new job opens up within the company, recruiters and HR managers are no longer required to immediately post the position to solicit new outside candidates. They can perform a keyword search of all current resumes already scanned into and stored in the corporate resume database to find qualified candidates. HR Mangers are no longer restricted by the clock to receive resume submissions and job applications during normal business hours via the post office. They now receive those twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week (Lee, 2005).

Job Search and eRecruiting Technology Tools: A Job Seekers Best Friend and Worst Enemy And when it comes time to actually reviewing the resumes to locate qualified candidates, recruiters and HR Managers no longer need to read a paper copy of the resume. They can now review software-generated summaries of electronically prescreened candidates information already extracted from the resume (Lee, 2005) (Smith and Nusair, 2010).

New obstacles and potential solutions

Its clear that many technology tools are now used in every phase of the job seekers and recruiters processes. But these tools have not created a perfect system. Their evolutionary process is ever changing and transforming. And not all companies are able to keep up with the pace, creating a non-level playing field. Some of these tools have created new problems and obstacles that the job seeker needs to overcome. So its essential for the job seeker to thoroughly understand these obstacles and how to overcome them to ensure efforts made towards finding or applying for a position are not a complete waste of time. Without this knowledge, a candidate that might be a perfect fit for a new job may never even be considered for an interview. A few of the largest obstacles are examined below.

Limited internet access and technology fluency

Obstacle: Job seekers with limited knowledge of technology and understanding of how to navigate the internet, or those who have limited access to the internet may never see job openings that are posted only on websites (Feldman and Klaas, 2002) Not only does this limit the pool of potential candidates for a job, it may favor younger or more tech savvy older workers over a potentially larger pool of older job candidates. And job seekers from lower income brackets who cannot afford full-time access to the internet will also be at a disadvantage. Solution: Job seekers who may be in this group can seek assistance from local and state-run employment centers. Most communities provide employment centers staffed by technology-fluent staff that can provide assistance with accessing internet-based job websites and training less tech-savvy people in how to use the internet.

Job Search and eRecruiting Technology Tools: A Job Seekers Best Friend and Worst Enemy

Limited human interaction

Obstacle: Only those job applicants that get past the initial technology pre-screening will have the opportunity to try to influence human resources managers in a personal face-to-face meeting. The evolution of the HR recruiting function to software-based technology tools is quickly replacing the human interaction and decision-making advantages of a one-on-one meeting. One of the biggest challenges job seekers may face is getting their resume to be seen by a human (Eskenazi, 2011). Since software technology tools provide the initial screening and are based on keywords, they cannot evaluate non-digital aspects that might favor one job seeker over another, such as personality. Solution: Well-worded cover letters can be used to provide an initial emotional interaction with the job recruiter or hiring manager. They should contain language that sells the job applicants fit for the position based upon factors that may not be possible within the more structured format of the resume. They should contain keywords used within the job position and be worded to develop an emotional interest by the hiring manager. This can be done through short bullet statements used to describe the applicants personal character and personality fit for the organization.

Diversity of technology tools

Obstacle: Resume content wording and formatting can limit job seekers chances to obtain a job. While these have always been important, the introductions of technology tools into the process have made these even more critical. Specific HR recruiting tools and features used can vary considerably between companies (Feldman and Klaas, 2002) (Smith and Nusair, 2010). Larger companies may have the financial ability to buy more comprehensive technology than more fiscallyconstrained smaller companies. As such, the requirements for resume submissions at one company may be completely different at another company (Bobinski, 2012).

Job Search and eRecruiting Technology Tools: A Job Seekers Best Friend and Worst Enemy Failure to provide the resume in the correct format for the specific company will likely mean data will either not be entered accurately into the database, or may be presented in a form that is less than complementary (Feldman and Klaas, 2002). Both of these will reduce chances that even the most highly qualified candidate will ever get through the initial screening process. In addition, resume content wording has become one of the most important aspects of most modern electronic resumes. OCR software will likely be used to extract specific keywords, rank resumes by select keywords and integrate the information into a searchable database, which becomes the virtual resume of the applicant (Smith and Nusair, 2010). Solution: It is critical for the job seeker to carefully read, understand, and follow all instructions for applying for the job. Resumes must be formatted to the specific requirements outlined on each companys website to overcome any OCR-based limitations. In many cases, two resume versions will be required. One will be in an aesthetically-pleasing format and saved in either Word or pdf formats. And a second version will be formatted as a text-only document with no formatting limitations such as lines, boxes, bullet symbols, etc. to make it easy for the less-intuitive OCR software to accurately read and extract the data (Brockman, D., 2007). Also, its critical that resumes contain all keywords that might be appropriate for the position to avoid being thrown out as unqualified based on job requirements. For example, educational degrees should be provided using both words (Bachelors of Science) and abbreviations (BS). Technical terminology such as software tools should also be provided using both formats.

Web-based job searches/postings and social networks Obstacle: Job postings for open positions and resources for advertising job seekers credentials are found in multiple places on the web. Companies typically have postings on their own corporate websites, but may also use third party sites or outside recruiters. Some may also use social media such as LinkedIn or Twitter to post open positions. In addition, many companies are turning to social networks to locate talent or verify information stated by an applicant in an existing resume (Brown and Vaughn, 2011).

Job Search and eRecruiting Technology Tools: A Job Seekers Best Friend and Worst Enemy Solution: Job seekers should take the time to find all relevant databases, and post on websites that are most appropriate to your experience. There are a wide variety of resume posting and job search engine web sites. Some specialize in specific job segments while others are designed to be a one-stop resource for all job seekers. Posting on the most applicable sites is the best way to ensure information will be seen by applicable potential employers in specific areas of expertise. Job seekers should also subscribe to and establish a digital presence on the various social media sites. Websites such as LinkedIn have become a great way to show credentials and also expand a network of professional contacts (Strehlke, C. 2010). Education, experience, and work history should all be included. Content should be formatted using specific keyword to allow the information to be found by recruiters and HR managers. And content should be updated on a regular basis as skills increase. Most importantly, content must mirror anything presented in a resume. Any significant variations could question the candidates integrity with a HR Manager who might be comparing the data, and diminish chances for obtaining a position. Many companies are now advertising job openings via Twitter, so if a particular company is of interest the job seeker should also find and subscribe to the companys Twitter account. While Facebook has become a great place to socialize on a personal basis, it may not be the best resource to establish the only online professional presence. The likelihood that someone in a persons network posts something uncomplimentary (even if untrue) is high due to the casual anything goes environment. Since potential employers are increasingly using these websites to locate job seekers, this may unfairly influence perceptions of your compatibility with the organization (Bohnert and Ross, 2010).

Increased global competition Obstacle: Technology tools have created a process where a candidate is not just competing for a position with other equally or better-qualified people within the immediate geographical area. They are competing with equally or better-qualified people from around the world (Lee, 2005). Solution: When possible, job seekers should leave themselves open to relocating to remain competitive with other global candidates.

Job Search and eRecruiting Technology Tools: A Job Seekers Best Friend and Worst Enemy

When qualifications are similar between multiple candidates, the person who may cost less to relocate may have a distinct advantage due to the high costs of a company to relocate a person or family. When this is not possible, any geographical limitations should be designated when the resume is submitted. Conclusions Technology e-Recruiting tools will continue to evolve with the goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall human resource management function for both employers and job seekers. However, the new obstacles being introduced into the processes during this evolution, especially for job seekers, will continue to complicate the processes. Overcoming these obstacles will require job seeker to be both knowledgeable and flexible to ensure these tools are a best friend and not a worst enemy.

Job Search and eRecruiting Technology Tools: A Job Seekers Best Friend and Worst Enemy Citations Bobinski, Dan. 24 Jan. 2012. The evolution of resumes: Are you keeping up?. The Center for Workplace Excellence. 26 Sept. 2012. Retrieved from http://www.workplace-excellence.com/the-evolution-of-resumes-are-you-keeping-up/

Bohnert, D., & Ross, W. H. (2010). The Influence of Social Networking Web Sites on the Evaluation of Job Candidates. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 13(3), 341-347. doi:10.1089/cyber.2009.0193

Brockman, D. (2007). RSUM reality check. ISHN, 41(10), 84-85. Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/196531430?accountid=4485

Brown, V. R., & Vaughn, E. D. (2011). The writing on the (facebook) wall: The use of social networking sites in hiring decisions. Journal of Business and Psychology, 26(2), 219-225. doi: 10.1007/s10869-011-9221-x

Duncan R. Dickson, Khaldoon Nusair, (2010) "An HR perspective: the global hunt for talent in the digital age", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 2 Iss: 1, pp.86 93

Eskenazi, Hal. 15SecondResume.com; job market finally shows positive momentum, however competition for available jobs will remain fierce. (2011). Investment Weekly News, 484. Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/858329515?accountid=4485

Feldman, D. C., & Klaas, B. S. (2002). Internet job hunting: A field study of applicant experiences with on-line recruiting.Human Resource Management, 41(2), 175-192. Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/222069303?accountid=4485

Lee, I. (2005). The evolution of E-recruiting: A content analysis of fortune 100 career web sites. Journal of Electronic Commerce in Organizations, 3(3), 57-68. Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/236483143?accountid=4485

Strehlke, C. (2010). Social network sites: A starting point for career development practitioners. Journal of Employment Counseling, 47(1), 38-48. Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/237022426?accountid=4485
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