If you’ve been in the job market anytime in the last 15 years, then you know what it’s like to apply for a position online:

  1. Go out to a company’s Careers site;
  2. Search for open positions;
  3. Hope you find a job that fits;
  4. Create an account;
  5. Fill out the form;
  6. Copy and paste your CV (or upload your fancy one if you’re lucky);
  7. Hit the “Submit” button; and
  8. Sit, wait, and pray for a response to your submission.

Then you go out to another careers site and do it all over again.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if careers sites looked for a job for you instead? IBM thought so — then they did something about it.

Watson has a job for you

The IBM folks have revolutionized the job search process by using Watson, their cognitive technology that can think like a human, to pair job seekers with IBM opportunities based on the skills and interests listed on their CV.

So, instead of filling out forms and posting your resume at the end of the process, you first submit your resume and answer a few qualifying questions. Then Watson uses that information to find open IBM positions tailored to you.

While this process is more efficient — and makes much more sense than the standard job search routine — the real innovation lies in the user experience.

With Watson, the Q&A process seems almost lifelike. Questions are asked using natural language, and topics range from professional skills to “passions and interests.” The input experience feels more like you are talking to a job recruiter than a computer.

Of course, the million-dollar question is: Are the results accurate?

Our ham-handed testing approach yielded “Low Match” results. That said, they did deliver other categories to investigate and some related videos to watch – so applicants aren’t left without something to do. And if Watson doesn’t yield helpful results, searching jobs the old-fashioned way is still an option.

The Tip of the Iceberg?

Without question, Careers search is just the type of application tailor-made for Watson’s cognitive technology and ability to respond using natural language, so it’s no surprise to see it used for this application. Time — and likely some rigorous user testing — will tell, however, whether we see Watson pop up on other areas of the site.

How Far is the Horizon?

With IBM being the sole owner of Watson, what are the chances other Website teams will be able to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to make Career search more streamlined and useful for job seekers in the future?

Better than you’d think.

Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce (among others) are all working on their own AI projects, so seeing an AI interface in their Careers zones isn’t out of the question. Still, each is at a different stage in development and have their own sweet spots, so it remains to be seen when we’ll see such technology emerge from these vendors — let alone be employed on their Websites.

Until then, we only have IBM’s Watson to give us a peek into the AI future of Websites. The good news is, the early experience turns out to be more lifelike than we ever could have imagined, which makes us eager to find out how (and where) IBM.com will employ Watson next.

Category: Case Study

Class: Website Launch

Websites Profiled: IBM.com

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