This is about data mining information about students, be patient I will get to my point.
I was talking with Dan, a friend of mine that works as a recruiter. He was complaining about the quality of applications he gets-- if he gets them.
Between the client asking for everything under the sun rather than the top five skills required and the applicant doing a poor job presenting himself when faced with the opportunity to just echo back the job requirements in the form of work history & formal training; he is in a tough place finding candidates to put forward even though in his gut he could match four to five satisfactory candidates to each of the jobs in his pool of opportunities.
I've had a little over a week to think about his dilemma. The good news is that I have had a decent related idea, the bad news is that Dan's employer may be too small potatoes to take advantage of it.
I've recently enrolled in an introductory Linux edX course over at edX.org. It got me thinking about how the Linux Foundation is sponsoring the largest free Linux educational offering for people willing to take the time to consume the content EVER.
The Linux Foundation via edX now has access to a wealth of data about all the people registered for the course-- their contact information and, if they wished, a lot of telling information about the student.
Some of the information may indicate whether they would be a good asset to an employer.
What if larger organizations put out quality, meaningful educational opportunities related to the technologies they wanted to gain some popularity? What is win-win about it is that they could create a larger audience and demand for their technology while also having the opportunity to find candidates to fill positions-- that specifically have studied the critical information from the curriculum they built. Allow people to gain skills and then have the chance to cherry pick the leaders of the pack-- assuming they warm to the idea of being employed by the sponsor of the class. Worst case scenario, it could still be called contributions to the greater good, making the world a better place through quality self improvement opportunities.
Let's do something sloppy and crazy-- possibly meaningless. Let's just search for IBM, Oracle, & SAP on dice. These are my raw quantity of otherwise unfiltered results for the respective searches:
3,498 - IBM
13,479 - Oracle
5,278 - SAP
So, clearly HR at these companies could use some help.
I am a great employee. Good luck getting me to spend 2 hours on a 'simple' application when I am already well employed. But, I know I would spend several hours across a few weeks learning new skills or even sharpening existing skills in a course put together by the right people. The Linux Foundation making a Linux course available has garnered a whole lot of attention.