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The Dark Ages of Online Job Search: 1992-2015

By Leslie Gerdes

I recently went back to Stanford for my 10-year reunion. Half of my friends were staying at Airbnb homes. All of us were using Uber. This differed from our 5-year reunion when a shortage of affordable hotels and designated drivers resulted in eight of us cramming into one motel room and a rented Impala. I marveled at how digital exchanges like Uber and Airbnb were improving our lives... until the conversation turned to work.

The ladies of Alondra-Before-It-Was-SLE

When I asked friends how work was going, many replied with a similar sentiment, "Eh, it's okay," or "I think I'm ready for something new." This was always followed with, "But, I haven't really started to search yet," or "Let me know if you come across any good companies," or just a sip of their beverage and silence. Clearly, technology had not transformed the much-loathed job search. In fact, most of us would rather stay unfulfilled in our current position than enter the bleak online job market.

The Bleak Online Job Market

Anyone who has attempted an online job search will recognize these 5 stages of despair:

*Read more about my thoughts on job descriptions here.

We never linger long in this impersonal, disinterested world of online searching and recruiting. We quickly choose the angst and frustration of our current position to further online endeavoring and rationalize our decision. Better the devil I know. Staying longer will look good on my resume. Work is work; no one really enjoys it.

When I talk to company managers, they believe hiring top talent through an online job posting is statistically akin to winning the lottery. But they seem to blame these low odds on a lack of talent rather than a broken system and therefore, seem resigned to settle for good enough. I recently interviewed an executive who had hired 5 people in the previous quarter. The executive had paid a recruiter some serious dough to post a job online, screen incoming resumes and other resume repositories (LinkedIn), and send the best candidates to the internal team for interviews. All but one of the hires came from this process; the one exception came from a personal referral. I will now use stock photos to reenact the tragic end to our conversation:

And yet, companies are racing to build bigger resume databases, job boards, and recruiting agencies. They're crawling over each other to develop the newest resume parser, keyword algorithm, and automated filter. They're doubling down on this failed system with gusto.

The Future is Bright over Yonder

Our team at Yonder has been working around the clock to build a very different digital exchange, designed to eliminate searching and screening entirely. Yonder’s marketplace connects individuals and hiring managers directly without third-party recruiters or screening software. And its matching and signaling systems work continuously in the background so busy professionals never need to actively search. If you’re an individual, exciting opportunities come to you. If you’re a hiring manager, interested individuals come to you.

Yonder is the alternative to resume and job sites. It replaces angst with effortless possibility. So at our next reunion, my friends will stay at AirBnB homes. They will use Uber to get around town. And when the conversation turns to work, they will talk joyfully about the companies they’re considering and the opportunities they’re pursuing. And somebody better buy me a beer.

Proof that Yonder's CEO and CTO never stop working. Correction: The CTO never stops working. The CEO takes under-the-desk catnaps when she thinks no one's looking.