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Designing Next-Generation Digital Employment and Recruitment Tools

Many of today’s technologies facilitate the needs of relatively affluent populations with very limited consideration of the needs of underserved populations. As a result, underserved job seekers may lack the confidence, skills and economic means necessary to make use of mainstream technologies used to support the employment process, such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn, for example, mostly caters to high-income and highly educated users and tailors to white-collar professionals.

The principal investigators' (PIs') evaluation of Review-Me, a non-mainstream, homegrown tool that allows job seekers to get resume feedback from local volunteers, helped to uncover several digital recruiting obstacles and external factors faced by underserved job seekers. Such obstacles include articulating job skills and using these skills to develop resumes, developing educational pathways to gain needed job skills, and giving a successful interview. External factors include limited social support for employment. As non-technical employers and companies increase their use of mainstream online recruitment and interviewing tools such as Skype, the digital recruitment divide will widen and exacerbate the employment plight of underserved populations. 

In this project PI-Dillahunt and team will, using well-known human-computer interaction methods, iteratively build and enhance three alternative digital employment and recruitment applications to evaluate their impact on job search attitudes, subjective norms (or social support) and perceived behavioral control (or self-efficacy). 

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The amount of the award is $16,000 for UMSI for the project period. The grant is funded by the National Science Foundation.