Matching jobs to candidates: achievable goal or pie in the sky?

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JobMatchingFor the past two years, we (i.e., anyone going to job board conferences) have known that Elevated Careers, the eHarmony job board, is coming. Dr. Steve Carter has given numerous talks about the technical and logistical challenges in building a sophisticated matching site focused on careers rather than dating.

Well, it’s almost here. The site is in beta now, and moving to wider release in March.

In the meantime, RealMatch has been pulling down VC money right and left, even as it expands its footprint. There are (as always) plenty of matching-focused startups, including Workshape.io, Poachable, WhiteTruffle, and JobAndTalent.

So – is matching really happening? Or is it still ‘just on the horizon’?

A long time ago I wrote that the matching process required too much data – creating too much friction between job seeker and employer – to ever work. Well, in the meantime we’ve seen a significant evolution in data analytics – and an increase in the amount of data that is publicly available about many candidates.

I guess it really boils down to what you mean when you say ‘matching’. For me, a good matching site would allow the candidate to upload their resume, answer a few (the operative terms here being ‘few’) questions, and then be presented with jobs that truly fit their skills, aspirations, and goals. In other words, if I load my resume, which is rife with mid-to-high level marketing, sales, and publishing jobs and skills, I won’t be presented with trucking jobs or even retail sales jobs. A good matching site has to get beyond simple field-to-field matching, and instead get into the context of my skills, jobs, and goals.

I have not yet experienced such a site. But as Justin Bieber once proclaimed, never say never. (And by the way, another check off my bucket list for mentioning Justin Bieber in a job board blog).

I’m waiting.

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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Mark Boudreau

    This might sound completely ridiculous but on a niche board is there a place for hand-crafted (i.e. manual) matching where the job seeker pays the board to actually match them?

  2. Job Board Doctor

    Mark – Actually, I know of a site that does exactly that – Jahbly. Don’t know how they’re doing but that’s their model. – Jeff

  3. Mark Boudreau

    Good to know. I tend to be doing this on an ad hoc basis but am looking to formalize it. I will be in touch with scheduling a one on one session with you in February.

  4. Ivan Raszl

    In many ways job matching is harder than partner matching. You not only have to take into consideration the human aspects, but the world of business as well. It’s a very tough nut to crack.

  5. Maddy

    Seems to me that there will never be any kind of perfect/near-perfect job matching, the same way there isn’t with online dating sites. Anything that involves people can never be distilled down to a pure science, because people are essentially messy, with quirks and preferences and biases that can’t always be quantified or anticipated.

    That being said, recommending jobs and candidates to each other makes complete sense, and is especially useful in making connections that might not come about organically. I think the trouble lies in not allowing for that little bit of human flexibility in the process. If a system only “matches”, there’s no room for research, like learning about the kind of jobs or candidates you might be interested in a year from now, for example.

    I think that consumer culture has us all wired to think more along the lines of “job shopping” and “candidate shopping”, rather than matching. The idea of a really sophisticated job matching technology brings to mind some kind of sketchy futuristic/dystopian system: “This job has been chosen FOR you”, haha.

  6. Mark Boudreau

    I agree with Maddy. And I think niches may benefit more from a personal, hands on approach to matching job seekers with jobs. There are dating sites out there that people pay for that type of hands on service. They can’t guarantee the match will work out but they can make sure that there is a high level of compatibility.

  7. John S

    Interesting article.
    There is a startup which uses Artificial Intelligence to match candidates to jobs. Most of the existing companies do keyword matching, Predikt claims to match based on career patterns.

    http://www.predikt.co

  8. Chris

    The comparison with dating sites is right on.

    OK Cupid has an ok matching engine, but it’s super general. There is just no way to match people reliably via limited profile information. Same for job boards.

    Matching is pie in the sky. The next best thing is to get users to create job alerts based on standardized criteria.

  9. Vinay Johar

    This Article has one overriding purpose: It help you to find the career. Career Planning Today is crucial part from which you can learn a lot the first time through, and more importantly, it is a reference path that you may find yourself coming back to over and over.

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