Generally, product launches at software companies give rise to much joy and merry-making, and our new job board and online application products for staffing agencies are no exception. Job growth has returned, and the demographics of an aging population demand aggressive approaches to recruitment. I have little doubt that our new product will enjoy success in the marketplace. But as with many things, you have to be careful about what you wish for. A misused job board can cause a lot of grief for job candidates; it's not uncommon for an innovation to get misused.

Consider the 18th century example of Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin and his product, the guillotine. Now, Guillotin didn’t invent the device, but he did redefine and popularize it – making him a comparable French history version of Bill Gates, possibly more cut-throat you might say. Anyway, Guillotin embraced the philosophies of the enlightenment. He envisioned the guillotine as a humanitarian way to end the horrific methods of execution of pre-revolution France. Yes, there were messier methods than the guillotine. Quartering, for example, required you to cut out and pick up all those body parts. Burning at the stake? Just think of all the ashes. Where was I? Oh yes, the misapplication of the guillotine during the French revolution. Robespierre used it to chop off the heads of thousands of innocent people as Guillotin looked on, horrified.

Nauseated by lots of blood and decapitation? You should try applying to most online job boards. These demoralizing vacuums in cyberspace are doing little more for job-seekers than givin’ them a number and takin’ away their name. So callous, you can consider them 21st century versions of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake”. So does our product, Applicant Portal 1.0, offer anything to prevent this high-tech drubbing of the little guy? To be honest, no. I can rave about our resume parsing being the best in the business or go on about how much money you can save by having your job board fully integrated with your staffing database, but used in the wrong way, our job board will dash hopes and waste an applicant's time with the best of them.

Without a high-touch, candidate-centered approach, you cut off any chance of success with a job board system. Tom Peters exhorts us to rename ourselves as one-person businesses, so how does it make sense for a great candidate to shuffle through 18 pages of data entry on Monster? Turning off candidates before they get to know you won’t earn you any placement fees. Fortunately, when it comes to candidate relationships, a good staffing company can easily run circles around the likes of job board companies. A great candidate will abandon Monster’s data entry process, but she’ll be thrilled to get a personal call from your well-trained recruiter soon after getting her resume parsed on your job board.

Note: this post adapted from an article by me for the TempWorks newletter.

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