The Simility Blog

Why Spammy Profiles Should Worry Job Aggregators
Jayan Tharayil
February 27, 2017

Fraudulent applicants and abusive profile practices can wreck the reputation of job sites

The first priority for job aggregators isn’t to please job seekers, it’s to please the employers who place ads on the job board. Without job listings, there is nothing to draw the job seekers.

But, once there’s a critical mass of job opportunities, the job seekers will come and the job aggregators will be able to do what they do best–effectively and efficiently connect recruiters with the most appropriate, best-qualified candidates available, right?

Well, actually, the answer is both yes and no.  Some excellent candidates will respond to job listings, but they may be hidden in an overwhelming tsunami of unqualified “junk” applicants who create multiple profiles and bombard job sites with multiple applications without regard to required qualifications or even correct job titles.

A survey by revealed that 92 percent of surveyed companies were overwhelmed with hundreds of irrelevant responses to their job openings on job sites. Other findings showed that 63 percent of job-seekers “blast” unsolicited resumes and that more than 70 percent of applications do not even match the job description of listings. Moreover, 34 percent of applicants fail to follow specific resume submission instructions outlined in the job posting.

Job seekers spam these job boards by applying for anything and everything in the foolish hope they will get lucky. They indiscriminately apply for jobs that are beyond—or far different from—their scope of qualifications. According to recruiters, at least 50 percent of job seekers from job boards don’t meet even the most basic qualifications for the jobs they’re pursuing.

If you have worked with job aggregators at any level, chances are you can relate to these scenarios: You post a job advertisement on job sites, then you get a handful of qualified applicants hidden inside a mountain of grossly unqualified applications that are a huge waste of time and energy to review.

What truly annoys employers and recruiters is receiving hundreds or thousands of unsuitable resumes for a job posting and discovering that many of them are nearly exactly the same or lack critical information. Same candidate, many different or incomplete profiles = one intensely unhappy employer.

How does this happen? Well, any job site that allows third-party recruiters or agencies to post resumes runs the risk of receiving large volumes of low-quality candidate profiles.

For example, let’s say that ABC Company has a listing for a mechanical engineer. The HR person posts it on the company site and also drops an email announcing the opening to favored recruiters. The recruiters turn around and post the job under their own accounts because, after all, if they can get it filled, they’ll receive a handsome commission. Sometimes, third-party recruiters, agencies or users will resort to creating multiple employee profiles in order to increase visibility among employers and multiply their chances of receiving responses from the employer. This creates the problem of incomplete and irrelevant employee profiles.

Naturally, high-scale employers don’t want to be bombarded with applications from unqualified candidates. They prefer specialized job boards that can pull in well-qualified candidates with experience and true interest in the field of work.

When that doesn’t happen, it will affect the reputation of job boards, which will result in fewer listings from employers and less interest from quality job seekers.

How to ignore ‘Resume spammers’

Unhelpfully, duplicate resumes are rarely identical.  When spammers inappropriately post a resume for different job openings or post multiple resumes for the same opening, the text is often restructured, shortened or extended and the information rendered is often changed to match the job specifications.

So, how can job sites identify a resume spammer versus a legitimate candidate?  Typically, a resume spammer will:

  • Apply indiscriminately to positions, regardless of whether or not their skills and qualifications fit the job profile.
  • Put insufficient effort into the application process, resulting in carelessly incomplete applications.
  • Become more frustrated and careless with each application submitted, often resorting to using capital letters and emotive, hyperbolic, language.

One of the best ways to identify resume spammers and eliminate the time- and resource-wasting they cause, is to employ an automated tool to detect them right from the start.

A good fraud and abuse management system will help job aggregators flag a candidate or user as having applied for a position through many organizations. Then, with a click of a button, it can enable a reviewer to quickly examine an applicant’s application history and see fraudulent or abusive patterns.

It is here that Simility shines.  We can affordably provide any company with the same sophisticated, customized, fraud-fighting software usually reserved for large companies with dedicated fraud detection and management departments.

With its Visual Graph Analysis, Simility’s versatile Fraud Detection Solution enables you to instantly see when two resumes refer to the same candidate. Thanks to sophisticated machine learning and rule-based techniques, it can identify duplicate content using:

  • Machine-learning algorithms and rules based on user behavior

Sophisticated machine-learning detects patterns across resumes to weed out duplicate content. In addition, the rules based on user behavior and profiles used in log-ins can help to identify users or third parties logging into multiple employer profiles to apply for jobs.

  • Device Recognition

When spammers use specific devices to create multiple profiles, Simility’s Device Recon technology can help identify them by comparing the credibility of users and their profiles.

  • Custom Feeds of Common Patterns Identification

Spammers use similar important words while applying to multiple job postings. Simility’s model uses known keywords, linguistic patterns, and sequences of words to match text between similar profiles. Additionally, it can incorporate unconventional data points, such as usernames and email IDs, into the model with other user information, enhancing the overall spam catch rate.

So, how effective is the system I outlined above? Does it find all duplicated and spammed profiles? Does it cluster together profiles that are duplicates?

The short answer is that it’s very effective–in the neighborhood of 90-percent accurate detection, which saves recruiters and employers a great deal of time and effort otherwise spent on unnecessary work.

A more substantive answer would require that you read the case study on one of our customers, detailing how we helped a leading tech job site to reduce spam profiles while providing complete and accurate information on the most appropriate and best-qualified candidates.