Why Job Matching Works: Ideal.com Explained

ideal-candidate-sales-job-matchingYou’ve heard it again and again: The hiring process is time-consuming, ineffective, and frustrating for both job candidates and employers. To complicate matters, everyone seems to have an opinion on how to fix it. As the lead research analyst at Ideal, I’ve taken a look at the data behind the broken system. By understanding what makes the process so complex, we are able to understand what both job seekers and hiring managers are looking for and create a better process.

A Typical Hiring System

  1. An employer posts a job listing internally, on their website, and on job boards.
  2. The job listing attracts, on average, 250 applications (with some job listings receiving thousands of resumes).
  3. These resumes enter an ATS (applicant tracking system), which “scans for keywords, former employers, years of experience and schools attended” and then uses this information to rank the applicants.
  4.  75% of resumes are screened out by the ATS and the remaining 25% will be seen by a recruiter/hiring manager, who spends, on average, 6 seconds reviewing each resume.
  5. Out of those 25% of resumes received, 4-6 job candidates are invited for a preliminary in-person interview.
  6. Of those 4-6 job candidates, 1-3 are invited for a final interview.
  7. Finally – out of a potential 250 job candidates – one gets hired.

No wonder hiring is such a mess.

According to a 2013 Aberdeen report, “62% of organizations identified sourcing as the greatest challenge they face in their talent acquisition efforts.” Based on all the black boxes in hiring (i.e., where the job candidate or employer lacks accurate information or feedback), the current system for sourcing job candidates is just too inefficient and error-prone.

Are you looking for a sales job? Use Ideal and let the employers come to you. Find your match and make more money. Sign up now!

The ATS is one of the biggest black boxes in hiring. The theory behind applicant tracking systems makes sense: To automate the screening process because of how impractical it is for human recruiters to review every resume received. In practice, however, these outdated applicant tracking systems are often extremely error-prone and even worse, rely on faulty assumptions in the first place.

So why do the vast majority of organizations use an ATS when they’ve proven to be terrible?

Up until recently, there just wasn’t a viable alternative to sourcing job candidates and an ATS was considered better than nothing. Although research on valid methods of candidate sourcing and hiring has been conducted for approximately 100 years, a lack of knowledge transfer (and the logistic difficulties involved) prevented the average employer from taking advantage of this valuable information. But with today’s technological advances, these barriers to entry are disappearing.

What’s the best alternative to sourcing job candidates?

In a previous blog post, I explained how psychometric assessments are used to identify the job candidates who are more likely to succeed in a role. Based on this article by Dr. Charles Handler on social job matching, I outline how Ideal Candidate uses the science of psychometrics to find the best candidate-job matches, and just how much this benefits the job candidates themselves.

How Candidate-Job Matching Works


  • It uses objective data provided by you. Instead of relying on (one person’s) subjective judgment of which keywords are the “right” ones, the data used to match candidates to jobs is statistically correlated with on-to-job performance. This includes self-rated characteristics such as your personality traits, interests, and company cultural fit (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman, & Johnson, 2005; Schmidt & Hunter, 1998), as well as other relevant information from your public social profiles like LinkedIn
  • It’s easy to use and understand. Most of us have taken at least one standardized test in school or an online personality assessment for fun. Psychometric assessments specifically designed for the candidate can be just as fun and the results are particularly interesting when it comes to job matching.
  • It saves you time and effort. You can complete a psychometric assessment — online, anywhere — within minutes. Furthermore, these assessments ask for information (such as your personality traits and company culture preferences) that can’t accurately be evaluated from your resume or cover letter. Compare that to a typical ATS application process where you spent up to an hour entering information that’s already on your resume.
  • It puts the statistical odds in your favor.  Job-candidate matching increases your statistical odds of finding a job that best matches your values and skill set. Instead of using a simplistic keyword count search (which is easy to game), candidate-job matching combines the critical insights of human beings with the algorithmic accuracy of data analysis technology. Research featured in the Harvard Business Review demonstrated this combination results in a 50% higher accuracy rate for identifying productive employees.
  • It puts the power back in your hands.  How many times have you seen a job posting where you lacked the desired work experience, but you thought to yourself, “I know I could be great at this job, if only I could prove it.” With a candidate-job matching system, you can. Instead of submitting your resume into a black box ATS and hoping for the best, candidate-job matching gives you the opportunity to provide additional information about your work-related skills, knowledge, and preferences beyond what can be captured by a static resume. Instead of being at the mercy of a hiring manager’s potentially biased assumptions, a fair and objective hiring system empowers you to control your professional destiny.

With an average failure rate of 50%, the current hiring system, which relies on faulty, outdated ATS technology, is clearly broken. By allowing job candidates to provide additional relevant information about yourselves, candidate-job matching combines the science of psychometric assessment with the accuracy of statistical analysis.

The Bottom Line

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Hiring can’t keep ignoring the science and technology that clearly show us — there’s a better, saner way.

Agree? Disagree?  Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet @ideal_hiring!

Are you looking for a sales job? Use Ideal and let the employers come to you. Find your match and make more money. Sign up now!

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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices in data-based recruitment. She writes about research and trends in talent acquisition, recruitment tech, and people analytics.
Ji-A Min