Friday, December 29, 2006

My New Year's wish

baby new year
It's that time of year again. When gyms fill up with people who swear this will be the year they lose weight, and stick to their new schedule for all of two weeks. When people stay up until midnight for no other reason than to say they did. When we come up with resolutions only because we feel like we should. And who am I to buck the trend?

There are a lot of things I'd like to see happen in the field of personnel selection in 2007:

- Making utility easier to grasp and communicate
- Increasing the visibility of professional assessment
- Re-doing Schmidt & Hunter's famous 1998 meta-analysis
- Increasing the use of videos (e.g., for job previews)
- Developing realistic computer simulation tests

But then I figured...why limit myself to these goals, which are somewhat obtainable? Let's throw caution to the wind and come up with something crazy. So here goes.

The recruitment community goes bananas on a regular basis for social networking/relationship management/candidate sourcing aggregation websites. These are your LinkedIn's, your Jobster's, your MySpace's, etc. These websites do (at least) one thing well: they create huge searchable databases that can (supposedly) be "mined" for talent. Whether they actually work or not is largely up to the skill of the miner.

So here's my question: what has the assessment community provided? Where is our cutting-edge tool that helps employers get objective data about job applicants? The closest thing I've seen is, a UK site where employers can provide "reference scores" for previous employees. But it's targeted at students applying for temporary jobs. And it's entirely dependent upon hypothetically-good-but-often-inaccurate references. But it's a start.

Here's what I want in 2007: I want to see at least the start of an effort to aggregate objective measures of applicant proficiency in a searchable database. I want to look up Sally Garcia from Escondido, California and find out what her analytical skill is like, how she scores on the Big 5, and what her computer skills are. I want this to be based on quality assessment tools, and I want to be able to easily communicate with her about her scores and about potential job opportunities. I want the system to narrow down the candidate pool based on my position-specific requirements. And I want to be able to link it with the other networking websites (see above). Whether this data comes from the applicant or (preferably) a computer system that uploads results in real-time, I don't so much care. But I want to know where the data came from.

Is that so much to ask? Maybe we can just get started. I hope so, because it would be a heck of a tool and would vault the rep of assessment to somewhere close to where it should be.

Here's to hopin', and...

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Seeking grads with "leadership experience"

According to a new report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers are greatly influenced by whether a college grad candidate has held a "leadership position."

In this survey of 267 of its members, NACE found this factor was rated highest, along with college major. Nearly three-fourths of respondents also stated they preferred candidates with relevant work experience.

My guess is few grads have held "leadership positions", which presumably adds to its cachet. But what exactly does this mean? What is a leadership position? Presumably we're talking about more than just being in a club; we're talking about being club President.

I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say that employers associate these positions with intelligence, drive, knowledge, and ability to lead groups of people. In most cases all you really can be assured of is that the person had sufficient motivation to throw their name in the hat.

Let's say I told you I was president of the Psychology Club at my university for two years. The club had over 200 members and I was responsible for leading monthly meetings and took the lead on all club-sponsored activities over that time, including publishing the club's newsletter, Psyched. (By the way, this is a total fabrication)

What do you really know about me? What if you found out that I was president for two years because no one else wanted it? That while there were 200 members, an average of 5 showed up for the monthly meetings? That our "activities" included going to the movies, and that the newsletter was published twice and was simply a brief e-mail to all members? Would that change how you thought about me?

As with any measure of training and experience, to get real validity out of this type of screening you need more information:

- What were the duties of the position?
- Did they compete for the position; if so, how were they selected?
- How long did they have the post, and what did they accomplish?
- Did they seek "re-election", and if so, what happened?

In their defense, employers of college grads don't have a whole lot to go off of. Grads typically don't have much job experience to draw from. So you're usually looking at coursework and GPA. On the plus side, we know GPA actually does a passable job of predicting job performance (probably because it's largely a proxy for cognitive ability). Sadly GPA was ranked third in this survey by employers.

So how could employers do a better job of screening college grads? The same way they screen everybody else! By relying on job-related, high quality assessment methods, such as situational interviews, work samples, and personality tests.

Here's another question for ya: do all jobs for college grads require leadership skill? Or is teamwork ability more important? How about customer service skill? Conscientiousness? I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hiring for attitude

There are very few Dilbert cartoons that make it to my bulletin board, but this is going to be one of them. Great illustration of the perils involved with hiring strictly based on attitude (versus, say, I dunno, knowledge, skills, and ability).

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Human Performance, volume 19(4)

The new issue of Human Performance is out and it's got some goodies for us, particularly if you're into organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) or emotions at work.

Quick, suppress yourself!

The first article related to assessment is by Moon & Lord and is an investigation of emotional regulation and its impact on task performance. In three studies of students at a Midwestern university (who I would like to suggest are such a commonly studied population that they deserve their own acronym of SAMU), the results suggested that individuals who are better able to quickly manage their emotional responses excel at task performance (measured by unscrambling sentences and editing stories). And no, it's not entirely related to verbal intelligence (they looked at that). More research is needed, but this could lead to a non-laboratory measure that would predict job performance, particularly in positions with frequent emotional interactions (e.g., call centers, nursing).

Performance problem?

The next study, by Klehe and Latham, tackles the issue of typical vs. maximum performance in the context of structured interviews. There have been quite a few studies of whether behavior description ("tell us about a time when...") or situational ("what would you do if...") interviews (BDIs and SIs, respectively) better predict job performance and this study adds to the story. What they found, by gathering data from MBA students in a Canadian university, is that both BDIs and SIs significantly predicted typical teamplaying behavior, but SIs also predicted maximum behavior. Again, more research is needed here, particularly since the participants did not have a great deal of job experience and previous research has suggested BDIs may be better for higher level positions. But certainly worth more attention, since in most cases we're more interested in day-to-day performance than maximum output.

Also interesting in this study: both performance measures exhibited significant negative correlations with age.

Feel it, feel it

The next relevant study is by Carmeli and Josman, and looks at whether emotional intelligence (EI) better predicts task performance or OCB. In this study of 165 employees from a "diverse set of organizations" in Israel, the authors used Schutte et al.'s (1998) measure of EI, which is based on Salovey & Mayer's framework. Scores on the predictor significantly predicted both task performance and OCB, although regression results were stronger for the former. The results of this study, in combination with Moon & Lord's study (above), strongly suggest we need more research to help us correctly match up measures of emotional regulation and job type in personnel selection contexts.

Also interesting: significant correlations between gender and EI (females higher), age and EI (negative), and education and EI (positive).

Threat assessment

Next up is a study by Cullen, Waters, and Sackett, looking at stereotype threat in an applied setting. Results of this analysis of thousands of men and women who took the SAT in 1994/1995 were not supportive of stereotype threat theory using "math identification" as the categorizing variable. The authors call into question the generalizability of the mostly lab-based research into stereotype threat, which is often suggested as an explanation of score differences between individuals of different ethnicities on standardized tests. I sincerely hope we see a lot more applied research in this area, as this has direct application to the "validity vs. adverse impact" debate.

Do you really want to help/hurt me?

Last but not least is a study by Sackett, Berry, Wiemann, and Laczo of OCB and counterproductive work behavior (CWB) among 900 employees at a Midwestern university (or, EAMU). By the way, someone needs to tell Paul Sackett he only gets ONE published article per journal edition. Anyhoo, results confirm that OCB and CWB are two separate constructs instead of two aspects of a single continuum. Keep this in mind when choosing your criterion measure.

Also interesting: significant correlations between age and OCB (positive), and between gender and CWB (higher among men).


Side note: This was Jim Farr's last edition as editor; Wally Borman takes over for volume 20(1). Thanks Jim!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Computer simulations and assessment

I've written before about the potential use of computer simulations for personnel selection.

Now the news is full of articles about organizations using simulations for training and investigating multi-user graphical environments for new employee orientation and mentoring.

The idea is pretty simple: candidates would navigate a 3d environment (with accessibility built in for those with disabilities) that mirrored as closely as possible the actual work environment. As the candidate moved around and made choices, the computer would collect data--about judgment, knowledge of content areas, interpersonal skills, etc. This data (their scores) would be stored and matched later to requirements of specific positions. It would be like video-based testing and modular testing, on steroids.

It's actually rather surprising more hasn't been done in this area considering how long sophisticated branching computer simulations have been around. Development costs are certainly an issue, but there are ways to deal with that (e.g., combining resources, developing in-house) and the challenges are not insurmountable.

I even have a name for it: choose your own job. After all, jobs are an adventure, right?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Conducting recruitment and selection audits

Great post by Michael Harris over at EASI blog about EEOC's recent warning to employers that they conduct audits of their HR systems.

"Ok, fine," you say, "but how exactly do I conduct an audit? What am I looking at?" you say.

Great questions. And I just happen to have something that might get you started.

Several months back I gave a presentation at WAPELRA's fall conference titled, "Cubicles, not courtrooms: Creating defensible selection procedures."

One of the handouts from that presentation was a flowchart that is intended to focus attention on some of the critical areas that need to be analyzed to ensure your assessment system is working right. Hope you find it helpful!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Outplacement updates

Readers may recall a few posts back that I wrote about surfing layoffs for potential job candidates.

If this seems like a strategy you'd like to implement, boy do I have a resource for you. AIRS, a company that provides various recruiting services, has a free newsletter you can sign up for that will deliver into your inbox every other Monday a summary of recent layoff news, including the number of individuals affected and in some cases, type of employees and date.

Yes, you have to register, which of course means giving them your name, e-mail, address, phone, height, weight, eye color, name of favorite grandparent, possession rights of any children, and photocopies of your fingerprints. But it's such a small price to pay for helping us find qualified applicants.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Gallup poll yields lessons for employers

Results of a new Gallup poll illustrate strongly the disconnect between the perceptions of working for the federal government and what many candidates are looking for. And although the report focuses on implications for the federal government, there are lessons here for any organization.

The report, titled "Within Reach But Out of Synch" is based on data gathered online in September/October of 2006 and includes responses from 2,596 individuals.

Gallup broke out the respondents into three groups:

Generation Y : currently 18-29 year olds (born 1977-1988)

"Government-Go-Gets" (G3) : "scientists, engineers and computer science professionals and individuals who work in law, public policy and the social services", sectors considered by Gallup to be key prospects for the future federal workforce

Managers : individuals who currently hold managerial or supervisory positions in the private or nonprofit sector and could potentially transfer to the federal sector


There's quite a bit to chew on in the report, but I think this quote sums up the overall picture nicely: "the federal government must sharpen its competitive edge in terms of marketing and branding, and even more challenging, by offering high performing work environments that value innovation and creativity, and provide opportunities for growth and advancement."

I don't think this is a conclusion that is limited to the feds--this is a lesson for every organization hoping to lure high potential applicants.

Among Gen Y'ers, the workplace value ranked highest was growth potential, followed by intellectual stretch. For both managers and G3, compensation/benefits was ranked highest, followed by intellectual stretch. However, within G3 the results were more nuanced--for example, mission match was the most important for those in the social services. This speaks to the value of parsing out your target group(s).

Chart 3a (page 6) is probably the most eye opening. It illustrates dramatically how the private sector blows the feds away when it comes to perceptions of innovation and creativity, attracting the best and brightest, and providing a competitive environment. Where does the government win? In perceptions of benefits and job security. Surprisingly perceptions of pay were not overly one-sided, with 59% giving the nod to the private sector.

When it comes to job search, the vast majority of responders reported if they were going to look for a job with the feds they would turn to the agency's website. Job searching websites were also a popular choice.


Take-aways from the poll:

1. Organizations need to take their workforce planning data (you do have the data, right?) and figure out what aspects of their workplace they need to showcase and what they need to shore up in order to attract candidates for their target jobs.

2. Intellectual stretch was rated highly by all three candidate categories. This means things like being intellectually stimulated, being able to use your education, and allowing you to be innovative and creative. What is your organization doing to allow your employees opportunities to do these things?

3. For the feds (and government in general, I would bet), this is a wake-up call to think seriously about how they are perceived. Is there some truth to these perceptions? If not, put some serious effort into marketing (and, if needed, brand identification). If there is, focus on how workplaces can be more supportive of creativity and innovation, and how you can spread the word about merit-based hiring practices and the wonderful folk you have on staff.

4. For the love of Pete, make sure your careers website makes for a good candidate experience. The Army's webpage is frequently cited as being one of the best.

Poor OPM

Ya gotta feel for OPM after looking at this report. Of all the federal agencies polled about, OPM scored lowest on both "awareness of agency mission" (24%) and "interesting place to work" (1.92%). Undoubtedly this is due in part to its relatively small size and somewhat nebulous mission. If it's any consolation, OPMers, I think you do great work !

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

State Department revamps FSO exam

And now, from the "speed over quality" files, comes a report that the State Department is revamping the testing process for Foreign Service Officers.

For more than 70 years, this exam process has been a model for best practices in merit-based selection. Candidates for these positions must undergo a day-long testing process, consisting of a rigorous written test covering a variety of issues followed by an oral interview.

Now, in the face of the upcoming retirement wave and "talent war", the department is shifting gears in light of a McKinsey study. The emphasis will shift from the written test (which will still exist in a truncated form) to "resumes, references, and intangibles such as 'team-building skills'."


- The current testing process is widely acknowledged to be a valid predictor of performance.

- Making it through the current process is an enormous sense of pride for FSOs and most likely results in increased retention.

- The current process contributes to the reputation of the department, making it the only public-sector organization to be ranked in the top 10 by a recent Business Week survey of college undergrads and career recruiters.

Apparently these changes are being made to be better able to compete with private sector employers and to speed up the process. Ironic, since they don't seem to be having a problem attracting candidates (the selection rate is approximately 1-2%). In addition, I have to wonder, if the written test is the bottleneck, why it couldn't be offered more often, be computer-based, etc.

Unfortunately, these changes could have the opposite of the intended effect: highly qualified candidates may be less likely to apply as the cachet of joining the ranks lessens. Even if they apply, they will be selected based on a likely less valid approach that focuses more on resumes and standardized applications rather than on a proven written test.

Sadly, this seems to be a trend among federal government agencies, as the State Department now joins the Army in a seeming campaign of standards reduction.

BTW, active discussion of this over at IPMAAC's listserv.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Video interviewing with HireVue

Friday I had a discussion with Mark Newman, the COO and co-founder of HireVue.

What is HireVue? The company's bread and butter is video interviews. But as I found out from my conversation with Mark, there's a lot more here than meets the eye.

First, the basics.

Video capturing candidates can be accomplished in two main ways:

1) The customer has webcams on-site--say, at a career center or college recruiting location. Candidates come in and take interviews either at a scheduled time or you could do first-come-first-serve. HireVue charges $19.95 per interview for these.

2) The candidate wants to do the interview at their home or a location of their choice. In this case they can either use their own camera or HireVue can ship one to them. Cost: $149 per interview.

Candidates are able to see what they're going to look like and have up to 2 minutes to answer each question. They can pause the recording at any time to collect themselves, and once the interview has been recorded it is uploaded to HireVue's servers and is immediately available for viewing.

The 'owner' of the account (typically a recruiter I would think) can then send information to the hiring manager/subject matter expert(s) to rate the interviews and the system can combine ratings of multiple judges.

Now, the complexity...

Here's where things get really interesting:

- This system isn't just for video interviews--you can combine a video interview with multiple-choice questions or essay questions, and you can filter results based on answers to any of these types of items.

- You can record an "introduction" video that candidates see prior to taking the test. This could be anything from a "Hi, thanks for coming" to a full blown job preview video that's already been recorded.

- Although the system uses a basic "number of stars" system to judge candidates, you can easily provide a detailed rating scale to the raters on screen while they are viewing the candidate.

- The graphical menu that pops up when viewing a response allows you to quickly move back and forth among different candidates to compare answers to a particular question.

HireVue's been doing all this for about 18 months, but I just found out about it. Apparently most of their business is coming from word of mouth.

Possible downsides? Some folks might be more nervous taking a video interview than a panel interview (I'm not one of them). Some might be turned off by what they perceive to be an impersonal process. You'll need DSL or above speeds. You may have some raters who simply don't like the feeling of reviewing videos. Finally, the quality is not perfect--it's enough to make out what the person looks like and general emotions, but you won't be staring at beads of sweat. You can see an example of the quality and the interface here.

For me, the biggest advantage of something like this is flexibility. For situations where it's particularly difficult to get panels together this would be a boon. Also, it's more flexible for candidates in that they could come in on their own time and if they get the jitters, no big deal--they could always come back, with no loss of face.

The company's looking to personalize the product in 2007 by doing things like integrating it better with customer websites so it feels more seamless.

More details about HireVue can be found here and here.

One last good piece of information I gleaned from Mark: the webcam they prefer is the Logitech Communicate STX. I think I just thought of another Christmas gift for myself.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The feds rock

Bet you don't hear that very often.

Surfing around today, I came across one of those resources that you hit yourself for not finding sooner.

It's IPMA-HR's Federal Section.

"Wow, Bryan, that sounds fascinating," you're thinking. Well, check it out, that's all I ask. The page has links to a variety of excellent presentations including:

Attracting, Maintaining and Motivating the Best and the Brightest

Categorical Ranking

Recruitment Branding

Attracting Talent - A 21st Century Approach

That last presentation has within it an example of job preview videos created by OPM that are well worth a look. These types of videos are common in the private sector, much less among government agencies--and it's unfortunate that more organizations aren't taking advantage of this technology.

So kudos to the Federal Section for offering such a wealth of information and kudos to OPM for the example they continue to set.

Next up:
I had a very interesting demo this afternoon from HireVue, so I will be posting about that shortly!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

7 tips for retaining high performers

Good, brief, article on about steps you can take to retain your high performers. I would argue that in addition to increasing retention, these practices help your organization increase its reputation, and thus attractiveness to potential recruits.

So what are some of the suggestions?

- Most of the time things aren't "life or death", so don't stress out. (Note: people working in the medical profession or on a battlefield please disregard)

- Create a comfortable environment that fosters creativity (hmm, sounds familiar for some reason)

- Involve people. I agree as long as this doesn't include three meetings a day.

- Show that you value work-life balance.

- Subsidize training opportunities. I am a big believer in this lever; it's a leap of faith to assume your next employer will be as generous.

- Create a fun, relaxed environment. Again, this is easier said than done in some situations, and you don't want to create a noisy, distracting environment. I say focus on the small stuff (e.g., brief joking around), avoid "fun committees" like the plague.

- Host regular social events. In my experience this typically leads to collective groans. If the group is already fairly cohesive, this can help to encourage that. But if your group isn't getting along, I don't think a social event is going to magically transform them into a lean, mean, productive team.

If I may, I'd like to add...

- Listen to your workers, and then do something about their concerns/suggestions, even if it's "we hear you, thank you, but we've decided to go a different direction because of X."

- Select supervisors because they have some modicum of people skills, not just because they're the technical expert. Surveys repeatedly show that poor supervision is high on the list for disgruntled employees.

- Related point: make sure your supervisors know how to supervise. This means training, and not just any 'ol training--intense, lengthy workshops with examples and role plays.

- Recognize good performance. Surveys also reveal that folks often feel undervalued. This doesn't have to take the form of a formal recognition program; in fact most of the time all people want is the occasional pat on the back for a job well done.

- And the corollary: do something about poor performers. Letting folks get away with doing less work for the same pay tells high performers that you're spineless, or worse--that you see no difference among your workers.

These may all seem like no-brainers, but I continue to be surprised at how many organizations fail to put these practices into place.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New issue of Personnel Psychology

The Winter issue of Personnel Psychology showed up in my mailbox yesterday, and although there's only one article that directly addresses recruitment/assessment, it's a good one.

The study by McDaniel, Rothstein, and Whetzel analyzed whether publication bias exists in the validity information presented in technical manuals of 4 test vendors. To be honest, I was shocked that only 2 of the 4 showed evidence of moderate-to-severe bias. In both cases, the publisher tended to report only statistically significant correlations.

Unfortunately the names of the test vendors were not given; they were specifically omitted to avoid stigmatizing the vendors and to make the article easier to review. IMHO both of these reasons are weak, but that's neither here nor there. Still, a great introduction to the "trim and fill" method and provocative results that have implications for any meta-analysis.

Another reason this article is interesting is it references a chapter written in 2005 by Sue Duval where, using the same "trim and fill" method, the criterion-related validity reported by McDaniel et al. in 1994 for structured interviews (.27) was found to be likely be an overestimate, and the true value (.21) is closer to that of unstructured interviews. As McDaniel himself points out in an upcoming publication, this is not the last word on the validity of structured interviews, but it certainly gives one pause! That study, combined with the 2005 study by Roth, Bobko, and McFarland on work sample tests really cry out for a re-do of Hunter & Schmidt's seminal paper.

By the way, big props to Dr. McDaniel for allowing access to so many of his publications.

Monday, December 04, 2006

How to turn off qualified candidates #432

Today's lesson in how to turn off qualified candidates: limit their creativity.

Policies to limit cubicle clutter are well-meaning, but like non-fraternization policies they end up having a chilling effect. These types of policies send a strong message: We consider you expendable, so don't get comfortable or try to establish any long term bonds.

You mine as well just hand folks a list of competing employers.

Granted, things can get out of control when messiness interferes with job performance. But these situations should be handled like any other: on an individual basis. Why punish everyone (and yourself) for one person taking things too far?

The simplest solution, if one is needed, is to have a general policy stating it is everyone's responsibility to maintain a well organized, professional workplace. Folks are put on notice, but don't have to worry about whether they've got one too many pictures of their family up on their wall (yes, that's a real example from the article).

In this era of increased personalization (think Web 2.0) most organizations should be projecting an image that says: We want you to be yourself, we want your creativity, and we recognize you have a life outside of work. Highly qualified workers expect nothing less.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Recruiting 24-7


In a competitive employment market, you have to be ready to jump on any opportunity to recruit qualified applicants. In this post I'm going to look at two methods of recruiting that help you take full advantage of ready job candidates.

Method 1: Surfing layoffs

Are you prepared to jump at the chance to recruit workers who get laid off?

One of the most common suggestions for organizations is to focus on passive candidates. These folks are demonstrating skills similar to what you need and verifying employment and conducting reference checks is much easier.

Individuals that have just been laid off (as long as it's not for performance reasons) are pseudo-passive: they've been demonstrating transferable skills and are likely highly motivated to find similar work elsewhere.

Case in point: recently a coal mine shut down near here and 600 miners lost their jobs. Within 24 hours other mines across the country started calling in, expressing interest in hiring those that had been laid off.

Will you be ready to do the same when these situations present themselves?

Method 2: Recruiting customers

This method of recruiting has gotten increasing emphasis during this holiday season, but like surfing layoffs it's a strategy that should be used year-round.

The idea here is, again, to identify individuals who have transferable skills. The best customer recruiting is done on the spot. Although these folks aren't always passive, you are getting a chance to see them in action, demonstrating job-related competencies (e.g., patience, curiosity, product knowledge) and not in the "this is my maximum performance" interview setting.

This isn't just for retailers. It's for any organization that has "customers"--people calling for information, people signing up for services, etc.

These techniques should supplement your primary recruiting technique--establishing a reputation as an employer of choice--but they can be valuable tools in your belt, particularly in crunch times.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Helping applicants help themselves

helping each other up a mountain

Most organizations do a passable job at conducting interviews and administering other types of tests (let's be optimistic).

They also do an acceptable job of recruiting, although there is great room for improvement, particularly in the public sector.

But one area that nearly all organizations could improve in is job-person matching--specifically, helping applicants figure out which jobs to apply for.

In a recent article on ERE Charles Handler writes about using quality assessment methods to help applicants figure out what job would be a good fit.

Imagine going to an organization's career site and being offered two options:

1 - Know what job you want? Click HERE to apply for a specific position.

2 - Not sure what job you want? Click HERE to find out what jobs might match your interests and abilities.

After selecting option 2 (and being amazed that a career website is so easy to use) the applicant is taken to another page where they're given two more options:

1 - Know your abilities and interest? Use THIS simple checklist to describe yourself.

2 - Want more information about your skill levels? Click HERE to take a variety of assessments to help you describe yourself.

And so on. The information that comes out of the self-assessment is used by the applicant to complete an easy-to-use inventory of their skills. This information is then used by the system in several ways. The first is by recruiters, who can pull up lists of individuals who meet position requirements.

But the more empowering use of the data comes when the system spits back a list of jobs that the candidate most likely would qualify for (organized into logical categories). It also tells the applicant how to proceed--how to find out which jobs are currently open and how to apply for jobs that aren't.

The beauty of the system is that it's entirely automated, the site is very sticky, and people aren't just slogging their way through an enormous job application.

Let's compare that to the candidate experience at most websites today:

1) You have to find the career link. Most of the time this is easy, but often the link is tucked away at the bottom--almost like the organization doesn't want you applying in the first place.

2) You have to navigate a dizzying array of options while your eyes try to process a multitude of links (the fact that Google's lesson in simplicity hasn't been adopted by more organizations is truly mind boggling).

3) You have to figure out which category of job you're looking for--from a large list of sometimes duplicative titles.

4) You have to figure out what specific job title you want--if you can even find the listing of job titles to begin with (hint: put the classification link at the top of the page!).

And you're not even to the application phase yet, which these days usually means about an hour spent navigating an ATS product that was designed by folks with zero training in human factors.

For many organizations, it's time to go back to square one: what should our application experience feel like, and how can we help applicants help themselves?