Recently, I read a very interesting article by Aruna Viswanatha on livemint about job hunting and personal references. The article is very much in line with my thinking and though it may be a "plug" for shine.com [Both shine and Mint are owned by HT Media, as clearly mentioned in the article.], it is impartially written.
The gist of the article is that referrals from friends are the number one route to a good job/employee. My own experience and that of countless recruiters and HR professionals that I have talked to, confirms this. And yet, no job site has made a decent attempt to find a way of incorporating a meaningful referral mechanism into their solution.
The existing job sites can be categorized into three distinct classes:
1. Traditional job sites
Sites like naukri.com, monster.com, timesjobs.com, shine.com that are merely repositories of resumes and job postings with superficial variations in functionality.
2. Referral based sites
Earlier, I said, "No job site has made a decent attempt to find a way of incorporating a meaningful referral mechanism into their solution". The operative word is decent. Most referral sites have two buttons next to each other - Apply and Refer. Basically, what they are saying is "Here is a job opening. If you want it apply for it. Otherwise, see if you can refer a friend for it". As an employer, I do not care if some stranger refers some other stranger to me. What I need is a personal referral. In this context, personal means somebody personally known to me - and not some stranger on the other end of the internet.
3. Networking sites
Essentially LinkedIn. Since LinkedIn started as a professional networking site rather than a job site, it is at best just another avenue by which one may find a job and, unless things change drastically, will never be the typical job hunter's first choice for a job site.
When the time is ripe (closer to launch, is what I mean), I will write about how jobsbyref.com, the site we are currently working on, brings together meaningful functionality including the ability to use one's connections to get a better job.
Hold on, it should not be too long now!