Just Who Is an Applicant?: The Impact of Electronic Resumes and Job Search Engines on Employment Discrimination Law

Article excerpt


Out of a job? Looking for a career change? Well, you're in luck! Job searches have become relatively effortless with the continued growth of the Internet and the influx of employers willing to post job openings and career opportunities online. Consequently, it is safe to say that the process by which individuals seek employment in the Twenty-First Century bears little resemblance to the manner in which employees pursued jobs in the mid to late Twentieth Century. With the advent of numerous job search engines and career opportunities listed on company websites, electronic resumes and online applications have become commonplace in today's job market. (1) After all, why would an individual spend the time, money, and effort to compose mass mailings of resumes and cover letters when they can simply post the same materials on Internet job boards or employer websites at no cost, and with little time expenditure? (2) At least one career advisor has noted that e-mail is the quickest and most efficient way to get resumes and cover letters to employers and recruiters. (3)

While online search engines originally targeted their postings towards "techies," (4) the focus of online career opportunities has expanded to include various types, and levels, of employment. (5) Search engines such as Monster.com, Hotjobs.com, Jobfind.com, and the like, all create a database of job listings that are made accessible to job seekers on the respective websites at no cost. (6) All of the search engines offer job seekers the opportunity to search and view descriptions of various types of employment. (7) In addition, job seekers can submit their resumes to a specific employer with just a few clicks of the keypad. (8)

In contrast to the large Internet job boards previously described, a new model of recruiting has also emerged during the past few years. (9) The new model, DirectEmployers.com, comes in the form of a hybrid directory and search engine that allows job seekers to link directly to job listings on employer and recruiter web sites. (10) The key difference between the hybrid version and the larger job boards is the job seeker's ability to link directly to the employer's web site. (11) The site's primary purposes are to provide for more effective use of the Internet and to allow for the listing of more career opportunities by reducing employers' publishing costs. (12) DirectEmployers.com launched the site in February 2000, with job listings from over 200 companies and recruiters, and twenty-six members of the E--Recruiting Association supported the site. (13)

DirectEmployers.com is aiming to produce "one directory" of job postings on a website that is completely and entirely free of advertising and all other distractions that may not be related to the recruitment process. (14) DirectEmployers.com allows job seekers to interact directly with employers, and in lieu of compiling a database of job listings, places the application materials directly into the hands of the hiring employer or recruiter. (15) By directly linking the job seeker to employers' web sites, DirectEmployers.com also allows the employer to avoid receiving applications for previously filled positions. (16) Furthermore, the links provide the job seeker with a description of the position and application process, so that the individuals can better gauge their interest in the position as well as determine whether they are qualified for the position. (17)

In addition to the web-based search engines, job seekers also have the ability to directly access employment listings on company websites. Employers ranging from investment firms and law firms to pharmacy chains, airline manufacturers, and hotels use this method of recruitment. (18) Utilization of this system, in conjunction with the popularity of independent job search engines, has led to the filing of a staggering number of electronic resumes, especially in light of the floundering economy. …