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Recruitment Lessons from a Blog

February 15

The success of the blog format, what I would call "the best decentralized system" that exists in today's Web market, is one example of how the evolution of the Web creates the need for change and a platform for opportunity, if you're clever enough.

Blogs owe their success to their simplicity. They are based around one basic media format, the "post." As a community, bloggers have agreed and accepted the "rules" and components of a blog - the bloggers themselves (with the help of technology) maintain a list of articles (posts) as well as the components of the articles such as titles, date of posting, body content, author, and other aspects of displaying and archiving a blog post.

This common structure has allowed blog search engines to aggregate the contents of several blogs automatically and make searching and updating across blogs simple. As a result, blogs are populating the Internet with unedited, direct user-generated content. So, what does this have to do with HR?

The new generation of job seekers is more liable to seek additional information surrounding a company. No longer are job postings and website content the only sources of information about your job offering. Modern job seekers search the Internet and uncover blogs and social networking profiles that reveal the true distinctive personality of an organization that is behind the uniformly professional image. Demanding job seekers want more information than just a job description and an "about us" page. They've come to expect the HR recruitment materials to be laden with heavy emphasis on professionalism, work-ethic, integrity and other universal themes. Job seekers want the story of a company behind the press kit. They are seeking a window into the people and projects that make up the day-to-day role at the company.

The blog has made the concepts of employer branding and employee satisfaction more critical than in the past. Disgruntled employees now have a high-traffic, worldwide forum to voice disparagements. Most growing companies have droves of top-performing, happy employees. These could form a solid base of bloggers that act as a bridge to professionals to get the picture of what life is like at the company from the employees directly - not from the HR department copywriter.

The Future of the Resume

Blogs have improved the ease of publication and enabled syndication, and now the same is being done with resumes. For example, a resume's typical components would include contact info, objective, education, work experience, projects, publication lists, skills, references. By standardizing these components - dubbed Hyper-Resumes or hResumes, individuals will place resumes online in a consistent format. Just as with blogs, hResumes will have well-defined standard components that create a common structure which allows search engines to collect and search data.

The new generation of employers will be able to mine the Internet for candidates in ways that go beyond placing a job posting or searching a resume database populated by a one-company / one-site / one-destination process. Instead, employers will search one of many resume repositories that gather complete lists or subsets of the online resume database universe. Microformats such as hResume promise to allow aggregators to find information more easily. Additional microformats are currently in development to standardize the job posting.

Through the use of hyper resumes, some HR initiatives will be immediately improved while other HR directives will remain suited for traditional methods. Many tools will continue to be developed to search formatted-data, such as hResumes and blogs, and ATS's will import this data as easily as a word document. But now, the data will be compartmentalized in a way that makes sense.

So what should you do to keep up with, or ahead of, the times?

  • Start publishing a corporate blog from a personal perspective and encourage your employees to do the same. Direct them to talk about the positives of the job - their environment, and projects. Make sure it's a genuine window into the company's busy and engaged employees, not a recruitment pitch. Encouraging your staff to participate in social networks to reach out to their industry is another positive way to bridge the divide between your new applicants and your current organization.
  • Keep on the lookout for new technologies making use of the increasingly social web environment. Resumes for candidates with new formats such as hResumes can be collected from new job boards, social network sites as well as blogs. Make sure candidates that are found can be imported into your system. Encouraging the use of hResumes by applicants along side the standard unstructured resume is one way to encourage this enabling technology.

The real benefits of the hResume will be seen when enough people use this format to subvert the status quo of the major job boards.

Once widespread use of structured resumes, and structured job posts further enable job aggregators and candidate searching, the world of HR will never be the same.

Today, the job boards remain the destination for job search. Tomorrow, the ResumeSphere, and the Jobsphere will take their place along side their cousin, the Blogosphere, and HR processes will be drastically expanded and improved. Make sure your organization is ready for this oncoming renaissance in human capital data and accessibility.

Questions? Comments? Please feel free to email matt.robson@tmp.com

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