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Jan 27, 2015

Job search engine SimplyHired has come up with a way to measure the interaction between job seeker and employer job postings — their Employer Brand Index.

The result of a complex mining of job seeker behavior and statistical adjusting, the Index is actually a ranking of employers in seven broad industry groups: automotive, entertainment, financial services, health care, insurance, technology, and transportation.

Last week, SimplyHired released the top 25 employer winners in each category (you can find it here). Here are the top winners in each category:

  • Ford Motor Company (automotive);
  • Netflix (entertainment and media);
  • Bank of America (financial services);
  • Dignity Health (health care);
  • AIG (insurance);
  • Boeing (technology);
  • FedEx (transportation).

Curious mix of companies in categories

The EBI first made its appearance last fall when SimplyHired released a list of the top 50 retailers. The surprising winner was Burlington Coat Factory, which placed well ahead of such companies as Starbucks, Apple, and Target.

Simplyhired-top-fi-EBI-525x177Since that first release, SimplyHired broadened its categories, sorting companies by analyzing the industry in which most of its job postings fall. This creates such curious, but not necessarily inappropriate, category bedfellows — such as placing Boeing in the same industry (technology) with LinkedIn, or a staffing firm that places truck drivers among freight companies and ride-sharing services.

Dr. Jike Chong, SimplyHired’s head of data science and a professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Silicon Valley campus, described how the rankings are done.

The job seeker clicks into job posts are tabulated, and then the numbers are adjusted to account for the frequency the posts are presented and the searches that are conducted. Companies in the same category are compared to each and a ranking results.

“Data science provides the opportunity to take a more analytical approach (to an employer brand) based on billions of signals and the actual behavior of job seekers versus their stated preferences,” Dr. Chong says. It’s not a popularity contest, he added.

Interesting comparisons, but what does it really mean?

SimplyHired maintains the rankings are a measure of employer brand that, as SimplyHired CEO James Beriker says, “provides a quantitative measure of brand strength that allows talent acquisition professionals to benchmark themselves against their peers.”

After spending an hour discussing this with Dr. Chong and SimplyHired’s SVP of Marketing, Kristy Stromberg, I’m still having trouble grasping the utility of this measure and just what it means.

It does provide some interesting comparisons.

For example, POPSUGAR, a women’s fashion and lifestyle network, gets more job seeker interest than do most of the biggest names in entertainment. And Mavis Tire Supply, an online tire discounter with service shops mostly in New York state, ranks above Toyota, Honda, and BMW, none of which even made the list.

However, it may well be that the SimplyHired’s EBI, as Stronmberg explained, “is a measure that complements other measures” that a recruiter should take into account when weighing the overall brand strength.