Earlier this year, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) announced they would be launching the Louisiana Job Connection; a free job board to link Louisiana employers with job seekers. I sat through the first song-and-dance about this in January when a few of the folks (i.e. the marketing team) came to speak to the Louisiana SHRM State Council. As 2014 rolled on I kept an eye on the launch which was, wisely, done in phases: employers were allowed to sign up and create profiles in June while job seekers were able to begin registration last week.
I have run into the LED Marketing folks (and their hired guns) all over town; they popped up again last week at a local SHRM chapter meeting for a 5 minute update. Their talking points have not evolved much; they continue to bring in the sexy factor by talking about their “innovative” and “advanced matching algorithm.” Many of the HR gals and guys, not fully realizing this technology has been around for years, think we in the Bayou State are pushing the envelope or something.
But how does it work? How does any of this work?
I have seen ZERO details shared with either recruiters or job seekers on the magic behind the system. If I’m with one of the companies that LED is attempting to woo and/or placate (and thus presumably I have a lot more power in this game than Joe the Job Seeker) I would expect to get a lot more details about the how, why and what of the inner workings of this “innovative algorithm.” If I’m a recruiter with Big-Deal Company A I best have a pretty clear explanation on how, exactly, these search algorithms are working. If I’m going to let LED ‘match me’ with the employees they anticipate I will want to review, interview and hire…I sure would like to know HOW these folks were matched.
Is the matching of keywords, skills, jobs, whatever done as a broad match, a phrase, or an exact match? How, exactly, does the ranking system work? LED tells me I can choose to be matched with candidates who meet 10%…20%…on-up-100% of my posted job requirements. But there needs to be a bit more transparency coming from LED on how the scoring works. Is, for example, the system creating some sort of Boolean search string of keywords from both the job posting and the job seeker profile?
As a recruiter, if I’m going to use the system, I demand a bit more transparency. Otherwise, just like other sites that have come before it (I’m looking at YOU Louisiana Workforce Commission) it will become nothing more than a place where Debbie the HR Assistant has to go do some busy work every few days. (note: the mechanism to post jobs is fairly straightforward, even allowing the employer to scrape job postings from other sites, but it’s nowhere near the greatest).
Granted, it’s only been a week but there are certainly a number of improvements needed to the site. On the recruiter side there is absolutely no integration with social channels and the search capabilities are crap; the criteria one can search are industry (broad and basic categories), job fields (i.e. Accounting, Banking, Insurance), experience level, and or keywords. It also appears that the keyword search is not even working; to test this I searched by job field “human resources” and came up with 175 candidate results statewide. I looked at 20 of these candidates, noted they all had the phrase “human resources” multiple times in their respective resumes yet, interestingly enough, when entering “human resources” in the keyword search box (and only keyword search) I got – wait for it – ZERO results. I repeated this with a search for software developers and got 127 candidates when searching “Information Technology” in job field and ‘software developer’ as keyword yet when I JUST did a keyword search I got – wait for it – ZERO. So, it would appear, that even though the directions to recruiters state you can enter “one or more” criteria that’s not really accurate.
The goal for these LED folks is a numbers game; get as many employers to post jobs as possible (to show opportunities!) and get as many job seekers to create profiles as possible (to show availability of talent!) and as this initiative gains steam the requisite heavy hitters have come out to share gushing quotes via LED press releases. I recently read a rah-rah quote from the VP of Global Talent Acquisition for a company with a huge gleaming office building in Baton Rouge which, it should be noted, is winnowing the staff in the Red Stick and informing hundreds of employees they can either opt to relocate to Houston or pick up their pink slip.
Look…I get it; this all sounds enticing when LED heads out to pitch to Company ABC why they should relocate their business to Louisiana – “You’ll find the talent here! We’ve got matching algorithms y’all!!” Mr. CEO, the recipient of the pitch, will think this sounds great.
But I wonder what Company ABC’s recruiting team will think.
It surely doesn’t appear any recruiters have been asked to participate in the development of a system they’re been clamoring (or so LED tells us) to use.
(note: I have also created a job seeker profile and, while I give LED credit for using the LinkedIn API, errors abound. Eight days after the launch and I continue to get the message “Alert: Could not update, please try again later.” (this occurs whether I connect via LinkedIn Or enter my data manually). To their credit, the marketing folks I spoke to told me to call the Help Desk and they would sign in to my profile and see if it’s a programming issue. I think it is; I had to send them a tweet on day 1 to inform them that the abbreviation for Wisconsin (WI) was listed, incorrectly, as WA on their drop down list. Now, perhaps every time I select WI I get tossed into some sort of netherworld.
I’m also not sure the search engine on the Job Seeker side is functional; I’ve tried keyword searches for companies I know have posted jobs and I get ZERO returns.
Then again, it appears from the marketing efforts that this site is created for employers… the hell with the disposable commodities… I mean candidates. But that’s a post for another day…)