January 11, 2011; Source: Christian Science Monitor |  It’s hard to know if the stubborn – and seemingly intractable – unemployment rate is due to a lack of jobs, or because people can’t even find and apply to all the ones currently available.  A new nonprofit listing service is being started to try to make the case that there are jobs to be had, and by connecting job seekers and companies doing hiring via the Internet, the unemployment rate will drop. 

The new online service, to be called .jobs, is the brainchild of Bill Warren, founder of Monster.com, which is considered one of the leading internet sites for job searches. Warren believes more companies would be willing to post openings if they didn’t have to pay for listings, which can cost as much as $1,000 each, though most are closer to $400. 

“The price for a company to actually post all its open jobs would be in the millions,” said Warren. He also maintains that “for most companies, only about ten percent of their open jobs actually get listed.”  According to the Christian Science Monitor, .jobs, which launches this week, will let companies list open positions without charge. For a  $15,000 contribution, they can receive additional services, such as tracking and integrated social media.

Warren’s nonprofit model is receiving both applause and doubt.  Among those who like the idea is Steve Langerud, director of professional opportunities at DePauw University in Indiana. He believes the new service “will add nuance to the advertised job market, engage employers who simply did not participate, and, best of all, provide some tangible hope to job seekers who don’t see themselves in other products.”

On the other hand, Chuck Pappalardo, managing director of Trilogy Search, a retained executive recruitment firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area, argues that eliminating the middle man in job searches isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. “For the company, the critical issue is qualifying the right person for the right job. Getting access to hundreds or even thousands of resumes can in fact exacerbate the primary issue for the hiring company, and that is appropriately evaluating the candidates.” 

There’s no doubt that with unemployment still at 9.4 percent, job seekers will welcome any opportunity to get in front of companies currently hiring.—Bruce Trachtenberg