As Bob Dylan once said, “The times they are a-changin.” Twenty years ago the internet was just crawling out of the primordial ooze spawned by higher education and military visionaries. Before the digital age, job listings were driven by newspaper ads and walk-ins. As we all know, the computer age has dramatically changed the way companies list their open positions. Where web-based listing pages were once a hypothetical future, today companies have access to a variety of technologies to help post job openings and collect applications. Advances in applicant tracking technology have opened up the available methods and implementations for corporate careers pages.
The advantages of running a careers page on your corporate site are obvious. The internet provides virtually unlimited exposure for your open positions. In the first phase of the evolution of web driven job listings, simple HTML pages provided basic descriptions and contact information in the form of phone numbers or email addresses. These rudimentary pages, offered some impressive improvements over the previous newspaper based system. With the new pages, hiring professionals had full control over their listings and the distribution channel was essentially free of charge. Despite the obvious advantages, there were several drawbacks. With the new method a page update required an understanding of HTML, listings were not uniform and the contact channels were far from optimal. The first career pages required recruiters to organize all of a candidate’s information with email and offline folders. This organizational drawback left significant room for error and added unnecessary time to the recruiting process. Despite these drawbacks, the advent of basic HTML careers pages was a godsend for people in the hiring field.
The internet bubble added fuel to the fire of innovation that was spurning the growth of the web. Major job websites emerged to offer dedicated listings for a variety of positions and companies. Companies seeking to extend the exposure of their job listings and pull in more candidates had a new outlet. These new dedicated job sites offered an extension of the corporate careers site. Recruiters were able to duplicate their listing and reach out to people who otherwise may not be exposed to a company’s open job positions.
Applicant tracking software, also known as recruiting software, followed the development of other hiring technologies. The software offered a solution to help more effectively organized the hiring process and move away from previous email and spreadsheet methods. As the variety of online listing channels became ever more important to the hiring process, recruiting software providers developed methods to integrate their candidate database and tracking systems with corporate careers pages and dedicated job listing sites. Eventually these software packages matured into full management systems for corporate careers pages while offering automatic distribution for the large job listing sites. To improve compatibility and access, many applicant tracking software providers moved to fully web-based packages. These web-based systems offered enhance collaboration between hiring personnel while also fixing the previous drawbacks of the first generation of careers sites. With the new software a web developer was no longer needed for new listings, all open listing formats were made uniform and contact channels fed directly into the software’s backend for easy management throughout the recruiting process.
With the maturation of the web, flexibility has become a desired feature for a variety of online software services. Companies want the ability to setup their careers pages and distribute open positions as they see fit. Initially, many applicant tracking providers offered careers page hosting via sub-domains. While not directly hosted through a company’s corporate site, these careers pages provided seamless styling and navigation to mimic the company website. With the push for more flexibility, select recruiting software providers have begun to leverage RSS and ATOM feeds to offer virtually unlimited distribution and manipulations of a company’s open jobs feed. These new feeds allow custom integration with a corporate website and enable all positions to be listed directly through the hosted corporate pages. Once in place, new job feeds can be fully managed via the software’s backend without the need for a web developer. The new feeds enable a company to list their open positions on as many pages or sites as they see fit.
Hiring remains a very high-touch, people centric field. Technology is far from effectively replacing the interview process and automating candidate selection. Careers pages, however, have come a long way from the early newspaper advertising methods that dominated the hiring industry only a few decades ago. With new management software and flexible distribution channels, recruiters have become more effective and hiring manager are able to refocus their efforts on where they add the most value; interviewing candidates to see if they are the right fit for the available position.