Is JobStreet.com.com Ready for the Next Evolution of Job Market?

(By LEE ZHI YU)

Currently serving over 70000 corporate customers and 7 million jobseekers, JobStreet.com.com is undoubtedly one of the key leaders in online employment industry. On top of that, JobStreet.com is never complacent despite its commendable achievement. It has caught on the Web 2.0 development by introducing its very own online community, blog and even JobStreet.com Videos. However, there is always a room for improvement. Within the next four to five years, job market worldwide is about to experience yet another wave of revolution. The so called “digital natives” who grow accustomed to the openness and collaboration of the internet are the very catalyst. Thus, the question remains. Is JobStreet.com ready for this incoming change? Sharing Is Caring, Mr. JobStreet.com. Recently, I have tried out JobStreet.com website to look for internship opportunities. As a whole, the service is more than satisfactory. However, as with everything in the world, its website still can be further improved especially in its social appeal. As we all know, peer to peer sharing and user feedback features have totally changed the landscape of information sharing. Why can’t we share a job with our social circle? Often time, jobseekers stumble upon job offers which do not fit them but might fit their friends. It would be ideal if they can share this news not only through email (JobStreet.com has offered this feature) but through social networking website, career networking website, SMS and so on. Such features enable jobseekers to share and thereby, improve their social appeals which might one day help them with their career advancement. Currently, the relationship of jobseekers with JobStreet.com usually ceases after they have successfully gotten a job. The aforementioned step would prolong this relationship even after they have obtained the job as they can share future job offers with their social circle. At the very least, this feature can increase the appearance of JobStreet.com among those nonusers.

Furthermore, jobseekers who successfully obtain the jobs should be given an option to publish their success and share their secrets. This can be done easily with a carefully designed questionnaire or survey form promptly following their success. JobStreet.com can even allow these successful jobseekers to share their resume with their important personal details hidden. To make such information more useful, JobStreet.com can consider having an editing team to review and edit the information posted. Making such information available help other jobseekers especially those who fail to better plan their future moves. Of course, the willingness to share such information is vital to the effectiveness of this feature. Positive (and attractive, of course) incentives from JobStreet.com should be able to help with this. Sharing does not stop with successful jobseekers. An example worth exploring here would be the Vault.com. JobStreet.com can allow past and current employees of the advertised companies to comment and rate the companies (the job variety, employee welfare etc.) anonymously. Again, questionnaires and even interview can be employed here. The data collected can then be translated into a number of scales such as Likert Scale, Job Descriptive Index and so on. It would be even greater if current jobseekers can contact current and past employees of the companies concerned. With such, they can gain a better sense of the culture of the enterprises. Just imagine getting to know your future colleagues even before you have gotten the job. In the future, employment websites like JobStreet.com are facing workers who are more comfortable with social networking websites. JobStreet.com has tried to integrate itself more with social networking websites like Facebook with its Facebook page and so on. However, it serves more like a publicity tool. This degree of integration is clearly insufficient. Steps taken by Scribd are exemplary. JobStreet.com can allow future users to use their personal profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and the like to complete their JobStreet.com profiles. This can be done easily by matching these outside websites as closely as possible and of course, with the creation of an automated filling extension. JobStreet.com can even consider the other way round: letting jobseekers to create LinkedIn profiles and so on using their current JobStreet.com profiles. This and the aforementioned sharing features would give JobStreet.com an extra edge in tapping millions of “digital natives” who are about to enter job market. What we have discussed so far is about peer-to-peer sharing. What about top to down sharing? JobStreet.com can help advertised recruiters to be more appealing to jobseekers by revolutionizing their mini sites hosted on JobStreet.com. The ultimate secret of obtaining a job lies on how much one understands about the job, the company and the industry. JobStreet.com can help recruiters especially those without their own websites to make available pertinent information such as company history, business description, product and services, future strategy, relevant statistics, major customers, “a day on the job” blog and so on. Even better, JobStreet.com can allow embedding of videos or presentations showcasing the advertised recruiters. Companies can use such full-fledged mini sites for future job openings and even a publicity tools. These company profiles can even be stored in a searchable database for potential jobseekers. Within these mini sites, JobStreet.com can list news and statistics related to the company and industry concerned. All these features would be a one-stop career research tool for jobseekers. Not only that it is valuable for jobseekers, it allows JobStreet.com to better serve about 500,000 SMEs in Malaysia which are still lacking their own websites.

“Communication Is King” Applies Here The current version of JobStreet.com website does not really emphasize on helping jobseekers to portray their soft skills which should be the main focus of employers in modern era. In this sense, JobStreet.com certainly can do better. It can suggest jobseekers several categories of soft skills and advise them on how to demonstrate (by listing examples) and improve their soft skills. This could be done by including extra boxes in the CV creation page, each for one soft skill. To assist users, JobStreet.com can put page level or even field level help feature. With such, JobStreet.com can shift its operation cycle forward letting recruiters to do pre-screening not only based on CV but also soft skills. This translates to savings in time and resources. These so called “digital natives” are also more comfortable with multimedia. Therefore, integration of JobStreet.com with multimedia is very important. TalkingCV.com has successfully shown that resume and even employment are not restricted in words and numbers but can be livelier with self recommendation videos. So far, JobStreet.com has not used multimedia extensively in its core operation, recruitment. Unfortunately, the JobStreet.com videos do not count. What JobStreet.com can do is to allow jobseekers to embed self recommendation or showcase videos like what TalkingCV.com has done. Not only that, JobStreet.com can allow recruiters to post videos such as manager’s address. Such feature can help both recruiters and jobseekers to express messages that words and numbers cannot. Information overload is yet another problem facing internet users. So is the case for online jobseekers. Often times, jobseekers have to compare several job offers and choose the best fit. Just as often, however, information is not organized making comparison harder. JobStreet.com can reorganize the information about the job and the employer in a table form and allow jobseekers to compare multiple job offers side by side. Moreover, it can employ technology similar to that of gapminder.org and Google Trends to represent numerical data graphically and hence allow better visualization. Such arrangement would expedite jobseekers’ decision. Similarly, such feature can be made available to the recruiters. There is a catch for this step, though. In order for it to work perfectly, the terms used in JobStreet.com to describe a job should be standardized. Currently, there is inevitably discrepancy in word usage when it comes to job description and even job titles. JobStreet.com can offer a comprehensive occupation, job title and job description bank to both the recruiters (when writing job offers) and jobseekers (when searching for jobs) through a scroll-down option box in related fields. This list can be built using the current data JobStreet.com stores and other existing guidebook such as that of US Bureau of Census. It can even be updated from time to time whenever either jobseekers or recruiters find a missing item. Besides, the words used to describe a job offer such welfare accompanying it should be as quantifiable as possible. At the very least, the words used should be more concrete and denotative. For example, “medical leave and various leaves entitlement” should be rephrased as “medical leave and parental leave provided.” Choosing a job is a not a simple deal. There are so many factors to be considered. One of them would be the location and the environment. These factors would be more important when all job offers are similarly attractive. So, JobStreet.com can include location related

information panel alongside the job offers. In this small panel, a jobseeker can know the exact location of the workplace, its distance from his home, projected monthly petrol consumption (with experts in Autoworld, this should be easy) or transportation cost, the facilities nearby workplace and so on. I have noticed that JobStreet.com does provide links to the websites of several companies providing moving services and those of government agencies dealing with employment issues. I would suggest moving these links to the job offer page, too. Personalization in Employment Websites In most cases, the success in a job application is about whether a job matches the capabilities and personality of jobseekers. JobStreet.com can create a program that calculates a “job match index” to calculate the degree to which a job matches the requirements of a jobseeker and vice versa. Some criteria to be included are salary range, location of workplace, skills required, employees’ welfare and so on. Referring to such carefully formulated “job match index” would significantly improve the effectiveness of employment websites. Similar feature can also be made available for the employers in screening employees. The model of the Common Application system (used for US university admission) can be an inspiration for employment websites like JobStreet.com. Like how university applicants can choose to provide art/sport supplements, jobseekers should be allowed to showcase their expertise through relevant supplements. For example, a digital artist can opt to have a mini gallery on its personal profile to showcase his/her talent. Same goes to playwright, journalist and so on. JobStreet.com can provide additional modules on jobseekers’ profiles to cater to this need. On the recruiters’ side, they should be allowed to create a supplement application form specially designed for the job offers. For example, a book publisher can ask a few questions regarding its future employees’ views on writing. With such pseudo-interview, recruiters can do a better pre-screening and thus, save more resources. Demographic trend of the countries employment websites serve is yet another important factor to consider. According to a report from the Bank of Merrill Lynch, Malaysia (the operation base of JobStreet.com) is forecasted to have a relatively low Elderly Dependency Ratio of about 10 at 2015. This means that out of every Malaysian aged between 15 and 64, there will be 10 aged above 64. This projected figure is lower than that of Singapore (25) and of Australia (15). Therefore, tapping the younger generation with higher computer literacy and internet openness tolerance is an important part of future strategy of employment websites as what has been underlined so far. Females who are generally more highly educated and supposedly more suitable for rising service industries (such as nursing, daycare, education and food production) are another demographic group of noticeable influence. JobStreet.com can develop specific service strategy to tailor to the needs of this group. These services include a section specifically provided for women jobseekers and specific career advising service. Not only for youths and women, JobStreet.com should also include special sections for specific needs of other groups such as SOHO, freelancers, senior citizens, physically disabled and so on. These are among the most commonly neglected groups in the case of employment websites. Branching into the less IT savvy groups requires effort but the returns would worth it. JobStreet.com can consider cooperating with several relevant government agencies and NGOs to accomplish it.

Here Comes the Miscellaneous From a user’s perspective, there are a few issues JobStreet.com has to address. To start with, JobStreet.com should include a spellchecking function into its resume editor. Besides, it should include an automatic tracing feature which avoids jobseekers’ current employees from seeing their resumes and knowing the fact that they are seeking for another job. Another function I would suggest is a job application reminder which reminds jobseekers to take subsequent actions on the job offers through many channels (email, SMS etc.) at a frequency designated by the jobseekers. One admirable thing about JobStreet.com is that it values the importance of continual education to career advancement. It has recently provided jobseekers with its own English Language Assessment program to measure and showcase their language proficiency. However, it appears to be insufficient. Regional market especially Singapore, has increasingly emphasized on the employees’ proficiency in other languages such as Mandarin. So, it is only reasonable for JobStreet.com to also provide Chinese Language Assessment. Not only tests on language proficiency, JobStreet.com can suggest jobseekers professional evaluation which might help in their career advancement. Speaking about suggestions bring me to another idea: JobStreet.com can include a feature that automatically trace the current level of jobseekers in education, language proficiency and so on and advise jobseekers on relevant courses or strategies to improve themselves. It is even better if jobseekers can know about the average education level and other strengths of other people who usually apply for the kind of job they are applying, too. Both over-qualification and under-qualification can have an adverse effect on employment such as employers’ negative association. JobStreet.com can counter this issue by developing another feature that detects under-qualification and over-qualification and warn jobseekers about the possible consequences and then suggest them on possible subsequent actions. Conclusion Having so many things to improve is not really a bad thing for JobStreet.com.com and other employment websites. In this era, companies and individuals that stay idle amid daily "tsunami of change" will surely be replaced. The good thing is, JobStreet.com.com never stay idle as seen from its continual adaptation to the increasingly dominant social networking website. (JobStreet.com Homepage: www.JobStreet.com.com) (Wikipedia Article I Wrote for JobStreet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobstreet)

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