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The Perfect Job

It might not seem all that hard, but manning an organization's Human Resources division is actually a pretty difficult task. Sure, HR guys and gals don't have to worry about memory leaks, garbage collection or mangled code; however, their problems are often just as compelling and challenging as those of any software programmer or interface designer.

One of the most challenging problems for any Human Resources department is recruitment, the art of matching potential employees with vacancies within the organization. The process is complex: place an advertisement, wait for resumes to roll in, and then begin the arduous task of sifting through them in search of potential recruits. This is usually followed by interviews and reference checks of potential candidates, and perhaps a job offer.

Now, back before the Web was a buzzword, the only way to let potential employees know about a job was via advertisements, either in a newspaper or journal, or on television. And once responses started rolling in, HR would have the unenviable task of wading through mounds of paper to find the perfect match for the open position. Along the way, you could almost always expect to misplace or destroy a few of those resumes, sustain multiple paper cuts, and say goodbye to any hope you might have had of a social life.

However, with everyone and their deaf grandma now connected to the Web, reaching out to potential candidates has become much easier. A company can now either advertise vacancies through online employment agencies, or place job listings on their own Web site. Since online employment agencies aren't in the biz out of the goodness of their hearts, the latter option is usually the one smaller companies prefer, if only for economical reasons.

Of course, putting up jobs on a Web site is just the tip of the iceberg. Once those resumes begin coming in, there's still the task of organizing them into categories, wading through all the data to short-list candidates for interviews, and filing rejected applications for future use. Oh, yes...and just to make things interesting, there's usually a clock ticking away in the background as well.

With the help of powerful open-source tools like PHP and mySQL, the process can be simplified considerably. And over the course of this article, I'm going to demonstrate how, by building a job listing system suitable for a small- or medium-sized business.

The goal here is two-fold: to introduce novice and intermediate programmers to the process of designing and implementing a Web-based application; and to offer HR managers and other interested folk a possible solution to their woes.


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