Job Seekers Hope New Service Gives Them an Edge

By Toni Vranjes

November 17, 2011

Employers sometimes get hundreds or even thousands of resumes for a single job posting — and with these odds, some job seekers wonder if there’s any point in applying. However, Brannan Howell hopes that he’s found a way to make his resume stand out from the crowd.

He signed up for a “resume-verification service,” in which a third-party employment screening company verifies the credentials listed on his resume. Next month, Howell plans to finish a master’s program in negotiation and dispute resolution – and he hopes that his certified resume will give him a boost when he looks for jobs in his field.

Howell is one of about 500 people who have signed up for the TalentShield service, which pre-screens a job seeker’s resume or professional profile. It provides certification of work history, education history, and professional licenses.

Touted Benefits

Screenshot of the TalentShield website.

Employers who are wary of resume fraud will be drawn to applicants with pre-verified resumes, says TalentWise, which launched the service in July.

According to the company, TalentShield also makes the hiring process more efficient, because it eliminates the parts of the employment background check that already have been verified. For that reason, HR departments will have fewer steps to do during the hiring process.

“You may be more competitive, because they won’t have to do that part later on,” says Howell, 25, of Dallas.

Through TalentShield, job seekers can clear up discrepancies before a potential employer runs a background check. For instance, say you graduated from college in 1986, but for some reason, the school’s official records state that you graduated in 1987. If any discrepancies arise, TalentWise staff members advise users on how to clear up the confusion. If the issues can’t be resolved, then the resume displays only the information that can be certified.

The idea is that recruiters will focus on applicants with pre-certified resumes, and therefore TalentShield users will have an advantage when it comes to getting a job interview. If you do go on an interview, the certification process also offers peace of mind afterwards, according to the company.

“It becomes a reassuring process for the candidate,” says Bill Glenn, vice president of marketing and alliances at TalentWise. “So they don’t have to worry that if they nailed the interview, the background check will keep them from getting the job.”

‘Employer’s Point of View’

The concept behind TalentShield appeals to Dana Greyson of Everett, Wash., who signed up during the summer.

“It shows some perspective of looking at it from the employer’s point of view, as opposed to just the job seeker’s point of view,” she says.

Greyson sees an analogy to the process of applying for rental property.

Noting that she has been a landlord, she says: “When I had prospective tenants come to me and provide credit reports that they ran on themselves, I appreciated it.”

During her career, Greyson also has worked in marketing for Hewlett-Packard, and she has run her own mediation business. Now, Greyson is trying to figure out how to reinvent her career, and she hopes that the resume service will give her an advantage during the job search.

Greyson, 50, adds that using TalentShield demonstrates one more way that she’s technology savvy, which is that much more important for older job seekers.

Options

TalentWise offers three options for the service: an “entry-level” package, which costs $14.95; “mid-level” service, at $29.95; and a “management-level” package, at $49.95. If customers add more credentials to their resume later, they can pay $14.95 to get those newest credentials certified.

In addition, the company plans to expand TalentShield to include two more features: a criminal background check, and a search of the National Sex Offender database.

Many Ways to Share

When their resume details have been certified, job seekers decide how to share that information with recruiters and employers.

The TalentShield service generates a unique URL that displays job seekers’ certified credentials. They can share the link in many different ways, according to Ziv Gonen, product manager at TalentWise. For instance, they can send the link via e-mail, or they can include the link on their LinkedIn profiles.

Also, job seekers can promote their pre-verified credentials via QR code (which has the link embedded in it). Employers who scan the QR code with a smartphone are directed to the link.

In addition, people can share through the Taleo Talent Exchange, an online recruiting community that connects job seekers with nearly 5,000 employers. Through the exchange, people can create one “universal profile” and use it to apply to many different jobs. Job seekers can link their pre-verified credentials to this universal profile.

Meanwhile, several other job boards are considering integrating TalentShield with their sites. Discussions are under way, Glenn says.

Survey Findings

To learn more about the market opportunity for this type of service, TalentWise commissioned a survey of Americans’ attitudes toward resume fraud. In January, the research firm Harris Interactive surveyed about 2,000 adults ages 18 and older.

When asked if it’s okay to misrepresent something on a resume, nearly one-third replied yes. (Specifically, 31 percent of the general population, and 31 percent of job seekers, said it’s acceptable). Also, younger adults were more likely than older adults to indicate that this type of behavior is okay.

“Given the high unemployment rate, many folks probably believe they may need to do whatever it takes to stand out from the crowd in order to get noticed by potential employers and recruiters,” Glenn says.

According to the survey, 62 percent of Americans would pay for a resume-validating service to give themselves a competitive edge. And younger people showed more interest in this type of service than older people did.

Glenn says that the survey findings confirmed that there was a real market for TalentShield. Now, the company is planning a survey to examine the attitudes of recruiters and employers. Anecdotally, they have indicated that it would provide an edge to applicants, Glenn says.

A few companies offer competing resume-verification services, including CVCertify and Crederity.

Looking Ahead

For TalentShield to be successful, it needs to adopted equally by job seekers and employers, Glenn notes. And he has high expectations.

“We believe that TalentShield will become one of those standard criteria for filtering that recruiters and employers will be looking for over time,” he says.

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