Enterprise looks to consumer sites for Web design

Taleo, a talent management company, uses consumer techniques to hold the attention of today's job seeker

The consumerization of the enterprise is continuing at a rapid pace, forcing traditional companies to modernize their Web sites in order to capture the hearts and minds of future employees.

Taleo, the second largest SaaS (software as a service) company in the world, right behind Salesforce.com, with $120 million in revenues, this week unveiled a ground-up redesign of its user interface that takes its cues from the most popular consumer sites.

The SaaS-based talent management company is the service behind 32 of the Fortune 100 HR Web sites. In aggregate, these companies hire about 1 million employees per year, according to Dave Michaud, vice president of product marketing at Taleo.

Taleo itself interfaces with about 900,000 job seekers annually through its hosting services with a client list that includes job seekers for employment at General Motors, Johnson and Johnson, Proctor and Gamble, and Starbucks. 

According to Michaud, a combination of baby boomer exodus, globalization, and immigration is putting a premium on talent as a key competitive asset. As part of that effort to outhire the competition, which in many cases cuts across industry lines, the most traditional, staid companies are looking for ways to use consumer-friendly Web site techniques to attract job-seeking young professionals.

Part of the challenge comes from holding the attention of what Gartner calls Digital Natives as opposed to Digital Immigrants. Natives are those who grew up with the Internet, while Immigrants are those who did not.

"Digital Natives graze somewhat randomly for information, scanning Web pages for photos and video and reading the text only if the images capture their attention," according to Gartner's Media Weblog.

In order to capture those Natives, Taleo is taking a page from the most popular Web sites.

Job cart allows job seekers to save jobs they are considering on a company site in a cart just like books are saved in an Amazon shopping cart. AutoSuggest allows a job seeker to begin typing in the name of the university they graduated from, and a look ahead feature will offer choices in a drop down menu. Hover-over capability brings up the full description of a job by hovering over the job listing.

Additionally, the site will store searches and send alerts via e-mail notification if a job meeting a seeker's description comes online.

Finally, the site allows a user to see the status of his or her application as it works their way through the system at a company.

There is a change in the psyche of employees, says Michaud. "They think of themselves as free agents in a sellers' market."

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