A tech employment shortage has created a paradox, according to Liran Kotzer of job-matching service Highr — there are plenty of jobs for qualified people, but the process for the person looking for the job and the employer offering the opportunity has largely broken down.
Kotzer believes his start-up has a better success rate in closing the gap than such social networking services as LinkedIn.
“LinkedIn has a response rate of 6% for job offers, while we have a 78% response rate,” he boasted. “Apparently we are doing something right.”
The classified section in print newspapers were once the place to look for a job, but today’s job market has been upended by services catering specifically to professionals. The point of LinkedIn, for example — which is the biggest site for professionals in almost any industry — is for people to put themselves “out there,” providing information about their skills and experience in order to make valuable business connections, whether to make sales, hire people, or find new job opportunities.
For employers in tech areas that are hungry for talent, the Internet would seem to be a godsend. Posting a job online usually elicits hundreds of responses, and a human resources department has no end of web sites to troll looking for the right candidate. With all those resources, matching up workers and employers should be a piece of cake.
Not quite, said Kotzer. “Employers know that 99% of the resumes – and maybe even more – that are posted on their sites in response to a job offer are not relevant to the position. There are many job seekers who spam these offers with their resumes, thinking that if they have skills that are close to what is being sought – or if their resume is impressive – they might get someone’s attention.”
But the truth, continued Kotzer, is that many of the qualified candidates – the ones who can really do the job – are very unlikely to respond.
“Chances are they are working already, and according to studies we’ve done, 80% of people working in the tech industry are open to new offers. But they know that posting a resume on a job site is a waste of time because the employers basically ignore them, because so many are irrelevant.”
It works the other way too.
“Qualified candidates whose LinkedIn profile indicates that they have the skills needed to do the job get numerous offers a week, most of them irrelevant to what they are interested in doing as well,” said Kotzer. “We know many people who don’t even look at their LinkedIn inbox because they just don’t want to waste their time on irrelevant offers.” Thus the very low number of people who respond to job offers – no more than 6%, said Kotzer.
It’s a chicken and egg dilemma, but Highr, according to Kotzer, has the means to bring both sides to the interview table.
“Candidates sign up with us if they are interested in new opportunities, but we do not offer them specific jobs at that point,” he said. “They are not responding to a job ad, but rather filling out a survey – actually more like a self-actualization exercise – in which they clarify for themselves, and for potential employers, what they would like to be doing.”
Those questions could include information on salary levels, how much independence a worker wants, or where they see themselves in five years, as well as defining and honing in on their specific skills.
That information is then presented to employers who sign up with Highr, but without names, because Kotzer said, many people don’t want it to be known that they are actively looking for a job, since their current employer or co-worker might take offense.
Employers who find a profile they like can send an offer via Highr, and if the candidate is interested the site will put the two parties in touch, and hope for the best. The result: A response rate of 78%, with nearly 4 out 5 potential hires responding to a job offer.
Highr, which was founded only about two years old, was the first company to approach Internet job finding in this manner, and is the most popular, according to Kotzer.
“We have 100 companies working with us and 250 that have applied, and we vet each company to ensure that their offers are legitimate,” he noted.
Many of the companies Highr works with are at the top of their industries, but the site works with some start-ups as well. The sign-up for job-seekers is free, and if a company hires a candidate they pay a fee.
And while Highr would seem tailor-made for professionals who have some experience under their belts, it also has a lot to offer those just starting out in the tech business.
“Many of the candidates sending in resumes to every offer they see are new graduates who just want to get their foot in the door, and don’t care how,” said Kotzer.
But is taking any job really the best strategy?
“It’s much better to go through our process so that the candidate can hone their job-hunting strategy to something that they will really want to do because they’re much more likely to succeed at that,” Kotzer offered. “We take great pride in helping all our candidates build a better future.”