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March 02, 2007

Web analytics in online recruiting

I got the following e-mail in my (personal) inbox today from JobServe, a UK recruitment site:

Dear Ian

For the last 18 months JobServe have been researching and developing a new type of searching technology that will provide superior candidate matching to recruiter's vacancies.

Just like other recruitment websites JobServe have offered the recruiters the option of searching a candidate database. In fact JobServe were the first back in 1994. Despite their claims these facilities are not very sophisticated. They simply provide the recruiter with a means of searching a candidate's CV and profile for a given criteria.

Until now that is. JobServe have patented and developed a new method of searching, which we have named Alchemy that combines the contents of the candidates CV with the data we collect from their behaviour when they use our web site. Such as the type of jobs they are searching for, those they are viewing and more importantly the ones they apply for.

The highlighting is mine. Having preached to companies like Jobserve for years that they should extract this kind of information from their web analytics data and use it "offline" (sort of), it seems like the message is finally getting through.

One of the loops that people often get themselves into with Web Analytics is an assumption that what you learn from your web analytics can only be applied directly back to the site, or at a stretch, at the marketing for the site. But that's not true, of course: web analytics can provide all sorts of insights that can be applied across a business, sometimes in areas not related to the web at all.

How good JobServe's "Alchemy" system is remains to be seen, of course. I haven't visited the JobServe site in the past year (my colleagues reading this may rest easy that I'm not hunting around for another job), so their data on me is pretty thin. But full marks to them for trying.

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