New Sites Promise More 'Scientific' Method To Job Hunting

The job search has long been an inexact science. You send out a blitz of resumes, network with everyone you know, and keep your fingers crossed.

But several new, job-search sites are claiming to be bringing more precision to the process, using Google-like technology and elaborate algorithms. Two recently-launched services, Bright.com and Path.To have joined others like Burning-Glass.com, LinkedIn and a few state employment offices, which have algorithmic-based job search portals. All of them use job hunters' personal data to match them to job vacancies that they are best suited for.

Could it be that you'll no longer have to send out blind resumes? Since Monster.com and HotJobs gained prominence a dozen or so years ago, search engines have been part of job hunting, but this crop of new sites claim to offer a more targeted approach that will ensure more success for job seekers.

"The Internet has democratized the jobs market for employers," says Steve Goodman, CEO of Bright.com, a job search engine that launched Tuesday. "They are inundated, and [the job hunter] doesn't have much of a chance. What we do is provide a short list to the short list that will actually consider you."

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Bright.com claims that a team of neuroscientists, mathematicians and nuclear physicists spent 18 months developing a job search tool -- "the largest scientific resume trial in the history of the HR industry." The result, it says, is an algorithm using data from 2.1 million job descriptions and 2.8 million resumes, which measures job seekers' fitness for jobs. The site launched with a startup investment of $6 million.

Using such factors as hiring tendencies, education, employment history and social connections, the tool offers a "Bright Score" for each job seeker -- as well as his or her potential employer -- against each job opening.

"We learned, for instance, that Microsoft likes to hire from VMware and not from Cisco," says Goodman, who compares the tool to targeted engines like Google and Kayak. "There are millions of data points like that in our tool. Finding a job doesn't have to be a journey."

If your Bright Score is 90 and above, the company claims you're an exceptional fit to apply for that job. Membership in the service is free.

But can a job search tool work for you by eliminating the human element from an all-too human process? "You still need to sit down for an interview to actually be hired," says Darren Bounds, the CEO of Path.To, a service which launched in April and calls itself the "eHarmony for Jobs."

"But getting to that point is often a very inefficient process," he says. "The recruiter will scan your resume for keywords, much like a machine anyway. So by leveraging technology, we'll know which jobs you'll actually get the interview for, and do well for in the face-to-face interviews."

Path.To, which on Tuesday expanded its listings from Silicon Valley to the Chicago, Boston and New York City markets, limits its service to interactive design, software engineering and IT professionals. Also making use of its own algorithm and a 1 to 100 scale, Path.To says it analyzes each job-seeker's personality, interests and experience. And given the nature of the fields that Path.To focuses on, the website also studies data and web presence from online communities like GitHub, Dribble and Behance to help in trying to match candidates to their ideal jobs.

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So far, over 10,000 users have signed up to search for jobs from 200 tech companies including Eventbrite, Lytro and Uber, according to Path.To.

While it's too early to tell how these services will fare, the general idea of using algorithms to match job hunter with jobs makes sense, says Josh Bersin, the president of the membership-based HR research and advisory firm, Bersin & Associates, who has commented on job search algorithms in the past.

"There's a market for this. There are plenty of people, especially IT professionals, with deep skills who can't find a job," Bersin says. "The human search engine is prone to error. Let's see how these do."

The more traditional job-search engines say they're welcoming the new services into the jobs-search space. "We see it as complementary to what we do," says Jenny Grasz, CareerBuilder's vice president for corporate communications, via email. (CareerBuilder is an AOL Jobs partner.)

She credits the companies with enabling "workers to leverage their social connections in their job search," and adds, "Our business model has always been to provide our clients with as many distribution points as possible."

Bounds, for his part, had very similar motivations in developing Path.To. He describes being frustrated at seeing so many tech-types aspire only to jobs at high profile outfits like Facebook. "There were people who were simply better suited for other openings, but they couldn't open up," he says. "What's most popular might not always be what's best."


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How stupid. 'Exact science' can never replace human drives.

June 25 2012 at 5:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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