Getting The Score | Article

looking at stocksThe Internet has altered the way people look for jobs. Today a job seeker can visit a talent exchange or a job board, search for the perfect job, then submit a resume with the click of a mouse. The universal availability and ease of use of these tools by Net-savvy job seekers are creating a blizzard of email for companies looking for help.

How do these companies sort through all those resumes, finding the one perfect candidate for their job? Now they can seek help from zREP Inc., an on-line company that has written software for recruiters, job boards and talent exchanges that matches, scores and screens job candidates. The New York City company is an Application Service Provider (ASP), allowing customers to access its software through their Web browsers.

For example, say a recruiter has five positions to fill. S/he will post the positions on a job board, describing the posts and the specific skills required for each. Popular positions might have thousands of responses. The recruiter then uses zREP’s software to rank order the candidates based on their skills and capabilities. The software is able to rank the candidates by scoring the skills on their resumes against the job description.

Recruiters can focus their limited time on only the top-ranked candidates, checking any characteristics that are not skills related. “Our software picks out the people who are appropriate for that job,” says Steve Sylwester, zREP president and CEO.

Sylwester and three business colleagues formed zREP in 1999 because they realized the popularity of the Internet job boards was creating massive volumes that had become unmanageable for employers and recruiters. “The development of a truly independent skills-scoring systems for Internet-enabled recruiting was one of the biggest hurdles to the continued development of the online talent exchange market,” says Sylwester. So they created a scoring engine to meet this need, hoping it would become the industry standard.

How zREP Scores Candidates

The scoring software applies statistics and customized algorithms to score candidates. But humanistic considerations add weight, too. For example, if a candidate attended a prestigious university, that would be reflected in the overall score. The software also credits professional certifications from software companies like Microsoft and Oracle. “We take into account key skills and reputation elements that would reflect a candidate’s ability to do the job,” says Sylwester.

Clients use zREP scoring when they are seeking full time employees. But many are also utilizing the scores to evaluate freelancers they need to hire to work on special projects. Sylwester says the scoring tool is effective here because the company typically doesn’t have time to interview dozens of prospects. “You can identify professionals with the needed skill sets, enabling the efficient hiring of remote or short-term providers,” says the CEO.

ZREP clients like the ASP delivery model because they say it’s an easy way for them to use the software. Integration is simple since they don’t have to add programs or new patches to their own computer systems. New companies like the ASP model because it allows them to compress the time they need to come to market. It also eliminates their development costs and providers “best-in-breed” capabilities on a per-use pricing structure, Sylwester notes.

ZREP also provides a profile management system for companies that don’t already have one online. If a candidate emails a resume, employers without a profile management system can’t score it. ZREP captures the job seeker’s information in up to 50 different fields. The computer can then score the candidate based on the information in the fields.

Joining Hands With Brainbench, ReviewNet

The company’s third service is market analysis. It has compiled industry level data, which it uses to score current employees against the industry standard. “We can measure the skills available within the pool of a company or an exchange and tell the company exactly where it stands,” says Sylwester.

In May zREP signed a working agreement with Brainbench, an online skills assessment company that provides online testing and certification in more than 100 countries. ZREP also signed an agreement with ReviewNet, an on-line IT skills measurement and interviewing company. ZREP will incorporate the results of Brainbench’s and ReviewNet’s assessments, tests and interviews directly into its own proprietary scoring and matching technology. Combining these services is designed to help companies evaluate their talent even more effectively.

Lessons from the Outsourcing Primer:

  • Software can help companies looking for employees rank order their candidates. This is helpful when thousands of applicants apply for one job on an Internet job board.
  • Companies can use scoring software to hire freelances for special projects. This saves valuable time.
  • Scoring software is also useful in assessing the skills of your current employees. The scores will tell you how your staff measures up to industry standards.
  • The ASP model is especially useful for new companies because it shortens the time they need to go to market.
  • The ASP model provides best-in-breed capabilities to customers with no development or enhancement costs or headaches.

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