Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Heath and Desire Paths

This is Heath, making my first blog post. I came to work at Oxus about 8 weeks ago, having no background whatsoever in anything HR, ATS or Employer Branding-related. I've lived in Beijing for a little over two years, spending most of my time teaching and learning valuable skills. (read: Spending massive amounts of time on the internet, reading books, illegally downloading music and watching pirated DVDs.)

Now I find myself the Systems Solutions Manager in charge of an Applicant Tracking System. It's been an exciting few weeks here. It's been wild going from total ignorance to being pretty well versed in the world of Talent Management Systems. Luckily, I've had good teachers. Everyone in the office has plenty of experience in the HR world, and every day I learn something new. On top of that, the internet is a fantastic resource on its own. I've spent hours on sites like, fistfuloftalent,com and, just figuring out how this world works.

Now, I realize that the majority of the people reading this blog probably have a better handle on the world of HR than I do. I'm new. I think I can, however, offer a fresh perspective.

One thing that has been particularly interesting to me is the way HR departments in China seem to lag pretty far behind those in the US/UK/Europe. In the West, it's commonplace to utilize the internet to simplify the hiring process. Business in China, though, hasn't adapted.

Pre-internet, paper resumes and applications were the only ways to figure out who your applicants were. These had to be read individually and sifted/sorted by hand. An enormously time-consuming and expensive task.

Today, this process can be automated. Applicants can apply online, resumes can be parsed and relevant information can be tagged. You don't need people reading every resume. It's easy.

Why then, is this practice not in action in the world's most populous country? There are millions of people looking for jobs in China. Companies are inundated with resumes. Yet still, applicant tracking systems are far from commonplace. It's insanity.

Look at this picture:

It's a "desire path".

You see them all over the world. You don't need to walk all the way around the sidewalk. Just walk directly where you want to go. It saves time and energy. In recruitment, it also saves money.

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