I spent Sunday, as I usually do, wrestling with the ever proliferating hell of online job application interfaces. It seems that every newspaper, recruiting company, and mid-to-large-sized business in the country now has an online job application procedure that lurks behind the simple classified ad or job listing.
This is highly attractive to the organizations, naturally. I suspect that it may also act as a barrier to entry: For example, one of the online applications I worked on today had over one thousand self-evaluations of skill-level that were requested.
I have heard horror stories of how today’s response rate is the inverse of what it was last year: if we ran an ad in early 2001, I was lucky to get more than twenty responses to it; today in Seattle, I understand it’s not uncommon to get a thousand or more responses to a position announcement.
Nontheless, I suspect that the effect of all this detailed, fragmented information is actually not good for the organizations which are requesting it. The primary reason it’s problematic has to to with long-term personal-information management problems. When MyTemps is purchased by TodaysUnderpaid.com, which records should be retained? Did the applicants at MyTemps know that they were also making their information available to TodaysUnderpaid.com? Of course not. Is there long-term liability exposure in such situations? Of course.
The ideal soution would be for both MyTemps and TodaysUnderpaid to read and write data from and to a central repository, much in the manner of the failed Microsoft .NET initiative I referred to a couple days ago. The problem here, as there, is that each corporate concern equates data with revenue, and in particular exclusive data, probably inaccurately. Nonetheless, contracts are written based upon this assumption.
Additionally, privacy legislation emphasizes the importance of protecting your organizations’ data stores.
Wait! I’ve wandered afield. My point is, online job hunting is clearly becoming much less effective from the perspective of the prospective employee because of the proliferation of detailed profile requests. I wonder if XNS.org has considered designing and implementing an XML-based professional profiling system? There’s even possible monetary benefit to the individual participant in such a system.