Results of this investigation point to one conclusion: If you are seeking a new job, then cold-call employers, network face-to-face, and apply for jobs through newspaper ads. Spending time on job boards may seem productive, but it is a waste of your time.
Think & Ask submitted three "IT Manager" resumes with three biographies to Monster, HotJobs, and CareerBuilder. Our candidates' education included one of the following schools; Harvard Business School, Yale, or City University of New York. Independently, we inquired on positions posted in the New York Times to direct hiring companies. For direct employers we explained the nature of this story and in exchange for not using their name or company name simply asked whether or not our "resume" would qualify our candidate for an interview.
In total, 16 positions in December, and 19 positions in January met our candidates qualifications from New York Times' advertisements. Four of these positions were for a single company. Of 31 companies, only 22 agreed to participate. Seventeen human relations experts agreed that the resumes posted would qualify a candidate for interview per their own New York Times' ad. Three sought more experience, one pulled the job and did not comment, and one felt the candidate was over qualified.
None of the employers would comment whether or not they subscribe to the three online services mentioned; however, two said they (also) use Directemployers.
As for jobs posted on Monster, Hot Jobs, and Career Builder; Think & Ask applied to 373 alike jobs in total. Not one response for interviews followed our application for posted positions.
Additionally, while applicants may apply online, your resume is also searchable by employers on all three websites. Our resumes resulted in the following inquiries:
Of career services companies attempting to contact these candidates -- every company currently has customer complaints filed against them with the Better Business Bureau. Any attempt to "out" career services companies online has led to legal action against those websites. But more importantly, it is difficult to prove these career services companies have indeed failed to provide what their contracts state, and thus you (job seeker) pay them to help you find a job.
Some employees find a job through career services; and some do not. If you intend to use a career services company, be sure to investigate them online before signing a contract. Fees with career services companies however usually begin at $5,000 and represent a portion of the salary clients would receive on the job.
The most widely used marketing term by career services companies is, "Wouldn't you like to earn a higher salary?" Career services firms subscribe to Monster, HotJobs, CareerBuilder and others as "employers" and obtain your resume information for contact.
Our three resumes on Monster, HotJobs, and CareerBuilder failed to offer any opportunity for our would-be candidates; however, our resumes were viewed by employers (83 times on Monster) and confirmed to be valid by HR managers we interviewed from New York Times job posts.
The internet appears to be an emotionally soothing solution to someone out of a job, said one HR manager. When you are single, chasing down personal ads makes you feel like you are going to date someone -- applying for jobs online fill the same void. The newspaper may not have a job that suits that professional one day, but the internet always has jobs posted that appear to suit him or her. The reality is the HR profession doesn't have to search for good candidates today, but simply open the hundreds of post office letters or unsolicited e-mails with resumes attached in order to fill a vacancy.
While Monster, HotJobs, and CareerBuilder are sponsored by fees from employers, thus remaining free to use for employees and job seekers, the amount of time Think & Ask spent watching e-mail, applying for jobs online (51 hours in total), sorting through spam e-mail, and dealing with career services sales calls -- would have been much better spent simply reading the newspaper and applying through the post.