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The Standard Job-Search Process Is Broken. Here's How to Fix It.

Entrepreneur logo Entrepreneur 9/8/2021 Gergo Vari
a person cutting a piece of paper © Shutterstock

After graduating from college in Canada, I returned to my home country of Hungary and set out in search of gainful employment. I soon realized I was destined to join the ranks of the many well-qualified graduates who simply couldn’t find a job.

I diligently filled out and sent job applications with hardly any luck. Weeks of fruitless searching soon turned into months. The experience got me thinking, and I realized there was something fundamentally broken about the recruitment ecosystem I was desperately flailing about in. 

The foremost and most fundamental problem was the lack of any form of online job boards in that part of the world; there was nothing in Hungary or even the rest of Central Europe. So, after discussing my struggles to find a job with two friends over some beers, we thought, “Why don't we just create our own job board aggregator and launch it as a company?” 

And, in 2000, we did just that.

Now, while that solved the issue of the dearth of job boards in the region, there was something bigger nagging at the back of my mind: I had a problem with the way traditional job boards work.

Once I was back in North America and researching the local market, I realized the problem wasn’t confined by international boundaries. Even in the U.S., still today, the recruitment process and the mechanics of online job boards are systemically broken. Most are somewhat ineffective while others are downright intimidating or even unpleasant. As a result, they end up only alienating the very people they’re hoping to attract: job seekers.

Related: What You Need to Know About the Future of the Job Search

From pillar to post

First, the online job-search process is plagued by a lack of transparency. Think about what usually happens when you click on a job advertisement — you get redirected. That’s because most websites are essentially pulling traffic from one another. If you think about it from the perspective of someone who's (perhaps desperately) looking for a job, this constant cycle of redirection is not a good place to be in. At best, it’s inconvenient and a waste of time, and at worst, it’s inconsiderate and disrespectful to the applicant.

Unfortunately, job seekers today have become so used to being treated like this that they’ve almost come to accept that once they start clicking ads, they’ll be forced to subscribe to receive notifications before they can proceed. If they don’t opt-out, their mailbox will explode with unsolicited (and often irrelevant) job notifications.

Misplaced incentives

Second, and worse still, there are some unscrupulous operators and businesses that post fake jobs on boards. Once you click on an ad and (finally) get to open it, the job description is completely different from what you expected to find based on the initial post. 

Having experienced my own job-seeking frustrations, I wanted to create something different. I realized that what people needed wasn’t just another standard job board: They needed a career board.

Related: Scam Alert: How to Spot a Bogus Job

Finding “just a job”

The first item of business was to address the way people look for jobs in the first place and find a way to let them bring their humanity and personality front and center. This is so important because, along with the aforementioned problems they raise, traditional job boards are best tailored to people who believe they just need a job — any job. But “just any job” isn’t going to be beneficial for the new employee or the company that hires them. 

Why? Because the motivation for finding, applying for and accepting this job is probably just sheer need and fear of not having employment. The new hire doesn’t want to be there, and in turn, he or she doesn’t have the desire to do the best work possible in his or her new position. The new hire clocks in, does the bare minimum required, clock outs and repeats the next day. There is no growth and, consequently, no fulfillment. 

Job seekers deserve more. They deserve the opportunity to have a career that they are happy with and to participate in work that they feel is rewarding. The best way to find this opportunity is through finding a position that best aligns with their background, goals, unique personality traits and desired work environment that will enable them to thrive. Matching with the perfect job is about so much more than filling out standard, surface-level questions about your education, previous work experience and qualifications.  

Automate away the effort with AI

What many job seekers don’t know is that technology advancements are there for the taking. Today, it’s actually pretty easy to become the steward of your own data and harness the power of AI to optimize your resume for particular job roles and specific companies. AI can quickly “automate away” all the hard work for you. It can come up with the most suitable matches for you so you don’t have to waste any more time trawling through endless job boards on your own.

It’s a bit like taking an intelligent “speed dating” service approach to job hunting. AI now has the ability to gather and analyze data points from any job seeker via his or her application and use this data to match him or her to more relevant positions and companies that align with his or her goals and personality traits. This saves the job seeker time, effort and frustration and ultimately saves him or her from becoming stuck in an unsatisfying role. 

Related: How the Behavior of Job-Seekers Has Changed Since February

Intentional career-seeking is key

People need to take back control of their job search rather than capitulating to the strange courtship rituals of traditional online boards. The onus is on them to be more intentional and proactive in looking beyond an everyday job and finding a career that they’re happy to be in.

Job seekers should precisely define not only their personal and career goals, but also what kind of organization they imagine themselves being most happy working for. They should expand their mental horizons beyond the traditional perks of salary, benefits and location. Here, the importance of softer elements such as company culture, diversity, work-life balance and recognition approaches shouldn’t be underestimated. A stronger focus on these elements when searching for a job is what’s going to help fix the broken, frustrating process as we’ve known it for decades.

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