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Cutting recruitment spam for contractors and clients using new matching technologies

Recruitment spam threatens to overwhelm the inboxes of contractors and clients seeking to connect. Professional social media networking sites have lost focus and offer information overload. However, advanced matching technologies can cut through the spam and noise, outperforming human matching engines and efficiently linking contractors with clients, as Dan Collier, managing director of Elevate, explains in this article for ContractorCalculator.

Despite 88% of contractors and their clients using the professional social media networking site LinkedIn, only 17% of contractors have actually found a contract via social networking. And traditional recruiters continue to dominate contractor recruitment: data from jobsadswatch in April confirmed 87.8% of all IT positions in the first quarter of 2012 were advertised by agencies.

But the continued dominance of agencies in the core contracting disciplines of IT, engineering, oil, gas, energy and interim management is being challenged. There are alternative search, selection and hiring models that use closed environments and advanced matching technologies which can outperform their low- tech and human-based equivalents. By doing so, they eliminate recruitment spam and focus resources only on linking suitably qualified contractors with clients who need their skills.

Databases ruled recruitment until the internet arrived

Before the widespread adoption of job boards, communities, specialist usergroups and social networks, it was in-house databases that gave recruiters competitive advantage. An agency with a good database of contractors could virtually name its price. But the internet enabled contractors to ‘go public’ with their CVs, and those original database advantages were largely eroded. The exception was those recruiters who became ‘sifters’ on behalf of clients, filtering applications using manual or low-tech filtering and throwing multiple candidates at clients in the hope that some might stick.

Unfortunately, despite their initial promise, the result of many of these once enabling online technologies has been to increase recruitment spam exponentially. Contractors who have uploaded a CV to a specialist website, or list themselves as looking for contracts on a social networking site, find themselves the target of contract opportunities, many of which are irrelevant to them, and even when they are in a contract and not seeking work. They increasingly find themselves the target of campaigns created by recruiters with only a limited understanding of the roles they manage and the contractor skills they are seeking.

Clients are confronted with unsuitable candidates because their service level agreement with the agency demands ten CVs must be found, irrespective of whether there are ten suitable candidates actually available. Or they register a vacancy online and are then hounded by recruiters seeking new clients themselves. Each drains valuable resources that client organisations can ill afford.

Databases have come full circle

There is a certain irony, therefore, that it is databases and search technologies that have led to the next major breakthrough connecting contract seekers with contracts. Databases that are now underpinned by more complex and sophisticated graphing-type structures that can be used to filer and match available contractors from multiple sources ? including the job boards, communities and specialist usergroups ? as potential candidates in real time, while a client creates a contract specification. Graph databases, such as the one underpinning Elevate, can deliver speed and performance improvements of up to 1000% when compared to old style relational databases, or humans at recruitment agencies.

Semantic search technologies also overcome the challenges of ‘hard’ filters. This enables clients to locate contractors who don’t fit the specification 100%, or who have used slightly different language in their CV. So, if a client enters ‘accountant’ and there is a contractor meeting the other criteria but who used ‘accounting’, this candidate would still be put forward.

There’s no longer any need for a client to actively search and sift through the results because the candidate list populates as the client selects their criteria, turning the database into an intelligent ‘recommendation engine’. This ability to overcome the dichotomy of targeting fuzzy searching enables clients to find exactly who they need to fill their contracts.

And within Elevate, only contractors seeking work are visible to searching clients, which means clients don’t waste resources contacting unavailable contractors, and contractors do not receive recruitment spam.

Contractors with suitable profiles can easily get in front of decision makers

Over the last decade, contractors have been encouraged to use the tools at their disposal, such as communities, usergroups and social networking sites, to get their CVs in front of clients and thus secure an ongoing stream of lucrative contracts. Unfortunately, although such exposure has had benefits, it has also come at a price for both contractors and clients.

A search of an online CV database often results in too many hits, or not enough of the right kind of hits, because either the client has used the ‘wrong’ search words, or the contractor has used the ‘wrong’ keywords. On the other side of the process, a contractor spots an advert for a contract requiring specific skills and experience and submits their CV, when they don’t actually have the right skills and experience.

The optimum combination of graph database structure and advanced semantic searching, which is found within Elevate, ensures that multiple sources are intelligently filtered and registered contractors, after creating their profile, can only see roles for which their skills and experience make them suitable, and apply with a single click. Similarly, clients only see the contractors who meet their contract’s specifications. Neither contractor nor client can see anything that does not suit them, preventing each party from receiving recruitment spam.

Such technologies are likely to increasingly dominate the contractor recruitment sector as their performance-enhancing and time-saving benefits become more widely recognised. They have the capability to deliver the right skills and experience at a significantly lower cost using fewer resources, and certainly for potentially much less hassle, than traditional models of recruitment.

Register with Elevate for free and immediately see the roles that match your skills.

Published: 05 July 2012

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