Predictive assessments and data analytics- the next frontier in the job board revolution

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(Note: today’s guest post is by Dr. Charles Handler, of RocketHire. His firm focuses on employee testing and assessment.)

Job boards have served a very important function over the past fifteen years.  Try to remember what your job searches were like before you had the ability to find out about available jobs anywhere on the planet.  Job boards were on the front lines of a fundamental change to the way people are matched with jobs.

Unfortunately, the upside of job boards – instant access to jobs/talent across the globe – created a whole new host of problems related to the inability to filter and process the information that is generated.  While there have been efforts to solve this problem, it still remains an issue that, at its core, requires both efficiency and effectiveness.

The complexity of breaking a person and what he/she brings to the table down into a set of parameters that can be easily understood and using this information to help determine which jobs that person is best suited for is not an easy task.  In the past, job boards have done this via the collection of a variety of surface level data that is somehow compared to a relatively simple breakdown of job requirements.  The results of these methods have been a continued inability to provide accurate matching, a situation that continues to perpetuate the high levels of “noise” or inaccuracy associated with job boards.

Of course it is not all doom and gloom here, job boards do serve a very important purpose and to their credit they have continued to use technology and experience to improve their value proposition.

But I believe we are now at the beginning of a new era for job boards.  A combination of increased analytical ability and psychology is providing a new set of tools that can really allow job boards to crank up their efficiency and effectiveness.  What am I talking about here?

I’m talking about what I call “matching sites”.  Matching sites are  a whole new type of job board that use predictive assessments tools and technology in combination to help supercharge the process of matching job seekers to job opportunities.

One excellent analogy for the way these sites work is online dating sites. Both job matching sites and online dating sites work via the following process:

  • Users are looking for a new situation of some sort.
  • Users define who they are (and what they are looking for in some cases) based on the information requested by the system.  This is usually based on a profile creation process.
  • Users search for matches to their needs via the comparison of their profiles to those of others stored in the database.
  • Results are returned electronically with some basic information about why the match was suggested (alignment in key areas indicated to be of a high level of importance).

In online dating, all the matching process does is narrow down the database from millions to a few.  Once this initial match is made, it is still up to the individual to communicate and evaluate the effectiveness of the match (usually by flirting and then going on some dates).  Hiring is no different.  After the match is returned, the actual hiring process is used to evaluate mutual compatibility and to make important decisions about entering into a relationship.

We are about to see an explosion of these matching sites (or the addition of predictive assessments to some existing sites).  Why? Because the technology and the science are now available to meet an increasing demand for quality hires.  I believe we are finally starting to see a shift to quality over quantity.

Here are a few factors that I feel will impact the success of matches made using these sites:

1. Quality of the assessment tool included- It goes without saying that the better constructed the tool and the more research behind its effectiveness, the better the matching will be.

2. Thoroughness of the definition process used by the company side- One potential shortcoming of this method is that the company side profiles jobs based on the input of one or a few individuals.  If these individuals are off base with their data, the accuracy of the whole process is compromised.

3. Niche focus on one job or industry- Focusing on a niche allows for a deeper level of knowledge about what it takes to perform a specific job well and what predicts specific traits that lead to success.

4. Additional data collected- The quality, thoroughness and relevance of the non-assessment related data used as part of the matching process will also impact the accuracy of matches.

5. Ability to demonstrate that those hired using their system are “quality hires”- The more evidence that shows that matching impacts outcomes, the more effective the system at achieving its goals.

Job boards were themselves revolutionary at one time.  Now they are an important part of the hiring process but also serve as a limit to this process.  The next revolution is upon us now.  It is based on supercharged data analytics and predictive science.  We are at the very start of an age that promises to use these tools to provide unprecedented levels of accuracy to this phase of the job search process.  Note, I’m not talking about replacing human judgment or removing humans from the hiring process, but rather removing the noise that those running the hiring process have to endure.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Bryan M. Wilson

    Dr. Handler, I couldn’t agree with you more! The value of JobBoards has been there, but as with everything else, its time to catch up to the current technology game and integrate some of this social layer data. As I read this, I was thinking about AirBNB. What they do isn’t different than any other vacation rentals site, but HOW they do it is MUCH different. Just go search for a rental and if you connect to Facebook, you’ll see how you are connected to various rentals you are interested in. This needs to happen on a similar level with job boards. Additionally, addressing the needs of culture, interests and the like are becoming increasingly important over just searching for things like “sales” or what have you. I want to know how I match with a job based on so many other things than just keywords and job titles.

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