The CareerXroads Sniff Test

The Staffing Strategy Connection
By Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler

The Basic 'Sniff Test' is easily applied and evident from a cursory inspection of any website.

First, there is a phone number for customer service. An email is evident from casual inspection. A name and an address of the actual people, legitimate partnership or incorporated firm that owns the site is on the site. Then there is the "test." Call the number, send the email. Someone actually answers.

The idea of the Sniff Test is to establish a 'floor' - a simple standard that all legitimate sites should be expected to even be considered by employers or job seekers. We can also look then at the list of sites on any Job Distribution Service and rate the service by the % of sites to which they distribute your job that don't meet our Basic Sniff Test.

We believe from our inspection that fewer than 5% of all job sites meet the Basic Sniff Test.

Only for sites that pass the Basic Sniff Test would we bother to require that for further consideration, such data be available on the site such as:

  • Where the job leads and resumes come from. (what % for example come directly from employers or registered job seekers)

  • What the site's commitment to privacy is... and much more to establish a level of transparence about data collection, management and dissemination.

    We think a three-tiered approach is possible although at the highest level, we fantasize about actual source of hire data from corporations being published on their site. Realistically, only a handful of companies can actually provide true performance data (hires) and the flaws are still so prevalent that this is mostly aspirational. However, as a practical matter, we would insist that independent audits of a job site's claims are not only doable but essential. To our knowledge there is not one legitimate independent audit done that supports demographic as well as traffic claims with the results published on the job site. We think few sites will ever get to this level.

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