What Matters Most to Job Seekers

Many studies show that compensation is still the most important factor for employees at work.  However, generational shifts have been observed regarding other relevant workplace factors such as work culture, ability to work from home, and health benefits.  RealTime Talent is interested in knowing what is most important in a job to Minnesotans.  Respond to the question below to add your perspective, and check back in a few weeks for the results!


WorkFountain: What it is, and how it is a different way to look for work

WorkFountain is a data-driven web platform that matches talent of all levels to opportunities across all industries, based not only on skills or experience, but job interests, too.  Created by Michigan-based tech company Digerati, the goal of the platform is to reduce hiring bias for candidates, and give employers more streamlined access to the best candidates.

WorkFountain is different from traditional jobs boards in that it does not rely on surface level keyword searches or even resumes. WorkFountain’s matching algorithms instead put Department of Labor data to work in customizable employer and candidate surveys that are specific to each type of job.

Overall, the site enhances the performance and returns of traditional job boards, dynamically scoring and ranking the tens, hundreds, or thousands of applicants their posting receives, in one central location.

For the 30 days of the posting’s life, the platform continuously searches for new candidates to score and rank for consideration. This persistent pre-screening means best-fit candidates are always visible first at any given time.

Instead of sending their resume off into a black hole and never receiving a response, candidates on WorkFountain view immediate feedback on their compatibility with each position considered.

Candidates and employers alike are notified by email or text message when a new match is made, eliminating the need to constantly log in or browse for new activity.

To date, well over 3,000 companies have posted over 20,000 positions nationwide, with close to 100,000 candidates engaged in the job search on the platform each month.  Companies of all sizes use the platform, with 48% of employer users hailing from small and mid-sized businesses (some of the larger companies that use WorkFountain are shown below).


RealTime Talent is bringing WorkFountain to Minnesota

Today, RealTime Talent announced its selection of WorkFountain as the platform for a new kind of online labor exchange in Minnesota. Designed by Michigan-based company Digerati, WorkFountain “is a unique scalable platform that engages businesses of all sizes and creates greater efficiency in the labor market. The platform builds pathways for meaningful employment, ultimately creating jobs and strengthening the economy,” says CEO Brian Balasia.

WorkFountain is specifically built with the goal of reducing hiring bias and economic inequalities through blind-correlated matching of candidates to job opportunities. RealTime Talent evaluated 11 online labor exchange platforms, but what sets WorkFountain is the quality of the matches. Organizations that have implemented the technology share that they are seeing faster matches to higher quality candidates. By requiring both job-seekers and employers to complete job-specific surveys, the site goes far beyond resumes or keyword searches to understand subtle differences between candidates, including their preferred work environment, daily tasks, and leadership style.

Small and mid-sized businesses stand to gain from this new approach to hiring. Blind matching candidates based on compatibility means that brand strength doesn’t play as significant of a role in the job-seeker’s search. “As a board member of RealTime Talent, I am really excited to be bringing this innovation to Minnesota,” shared Scott Peterson, representative of the Itasca Project and chair of the RealTime Talent board. “WorkFountain has the potential to bring tremendous efficiencies to match job seekers with employers, as well as harness the power of our diverse workforce. “

The project received funding from the Minnesota Legislature in July 2016 through the leadership of Senator Terri E. Bonoff, chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee. The Legislature dedicated funding to RealTime Talent to bring a 21st century web-based job and intern-seeking software tool that blind matches the needs of Minnesota’s employers with high school seniors and college students.

“While working on the MN PIPELINE Project, we heard loud and clear from employers that they are struggling to identify and connect with their future workforce” stated Senator Bonoff. “I always knew there had to be a way to harness technology to bring about more meaningful connections between employers and our youth, so we set out to find a solution for them beyond just creating an education and training program and I’m pleased to say today that we found it. WorkFountain is currently doing this connection work with great success in Michigan and Ohio, and I am thrilled that they are coming to Minnesota to unlock so much potential for our employers and students. Thank you to Jess Niebuhr of RealTime Talent and her board for being the engine of workforce solution innovation for our State and making this happen.”

RealTime Talent is working with the support of the Office of Higher Education to implement this pilot. We are seeking regional, education, and industry partners to build, use, and launch this new platform for the benefit of Minnesota employers and job-seekers.

For more information about this pilot project, access to the full report evaluating similar platforms, or inquiries on becoming a partner in this pilot project, please contact Jess Niebuhr at jess@realtimetalentmn.org. More information is available at http://www.realtimetalent.org/ and http://digerati.co/workfountain/.

Read the full press release here:
2016 08 24 RTT WorkFountain Press Release – FINAL


Job-Market Data Adds Value to College Curriculum Development

A recent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights the impact of job market data on new program development in Community Colleges around the country.

The article focuses on the Kentucky Community and Technical College system in Floyd County, Kentucky, where the unemployment rate hit 10.5 percent in April 2016. This community college system recently moved to requiring that all new program development be justified by real-time job market data. It’s the granular detail of specific skills, certifications, and employer demand that makes this data valuable for these schools. Similar to the movement happening here in Minnesota, the community college system in Kentucky has also joined with the state’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet to assist job seekers with finding job opportunities and getting the biggest return on investment for their education. In fact, the experiences echo those of our partner organizations in Minnesota so closely, it affirms the fact that we are in the midst of a nationwide labor force data revolution.

To read the full article “How Community Colleges Use Job-Market Data to Develop New Programs,” visit The Chronicle of Higher Education’s website at the link below.

Article – The Chronicle of Higher Education

RealTime Talent Closes FY 2016 with an Announcement of Funding for an Online Labor Exchange

Happy anniversary to RealTime Talent! One year ago, we embarked on a journey to bring partners across the state of Minnesota to build the world’s best workforce right here at home.  We started by building our team and providing hundreds of practitioners across the state with access to a robust real-time labor market tool called TalentNeuron Recruit (formerly Wanted Analytics).  We trained over 900 people in this tool and presented to over 1,500 on applications of new data sources in labor market research, planning, and development.


RealTime Talent is excited to announce that we are no longer a “one tool wonder.”  While we continue to work to expand the use and accessibility of real-time data by providing licenses, technical assistance and research using TalentNeuron Recruit, we feel very fortunate to be receiving legislative funds to pilot a new online labor exchange.  The goal of this pilot is to explore new technologies that bring efficiency into the job seeking and hiring processes while also impacting disparities.  Strategies include removing common sources of bias in the hiring process, increasing candidate access to information about the skills and certifications desired by employers, and providing employers with a tool that truly matches the most qualified candidates with their job openings. Look for a summary of our evaluation of current tools and technology coming in mid to late August.


RealTime Talent is looking for partners in this innovative work to better match candidates with the best opportunities. Our goal is to pilot regionally and / or with industry specific context, as well as with colleges and universities.  Contact Jess Niebuhr to learn more.

RealTime Talent’s Newest Labor Market Data Tool

Since August 2015, RealTime Talent has connected Minnesota academic institutions, workforce training centers, employer associations, and economic planners with one of the most robust real-time labor market data tools available in North America. Selected out of dozens of similar systems, CEB’s TalentNeuron Recruit offers access to robust micro data on employer job openings in a low-cost, user-friendly interface. Here, we aim to answer some common questions about this data tool, including why we love using it in Minnesota.

  1. What data does TalentNeuron Recruit collect and where is the data stored?

TalentNeuron Recruit collects online job postings worldwide, pulling from over 25,000 different sources for just North America alone.  It spiders to over 15,000 job boards and over 12,000 different corporate sites and aggregates data on what employers are looking for in a new hire.  Using custom designed algorithms and a user-friendly interface TalentNeuron Recruit organizes information into data that is valuable for planning and service delivery.  TalentNeuron Recruit has been collecting postings since 2005, currently storing over a billion individual job postings in a centralized database.  Four years of data up to today’s date is available by subscription by username, with over 300 usernames currently distributed across Minnesota.  The data is extremely current, reflecting immediate changes in labor market demand, with the unique ability to drill down to details that traditional labor market data cannot. For example, data is searchable by:

  • Date Range (up to current date and time)
  • Geography (city, county, MSA, district, state, region, nation)
  • Employer (direct, staffing, anonymous postings, contract, temporary, seasonal)
  • Occupation (SOC), Industry (NAICS), Job Title, Function
  • Requirements (certifications, education, skills, licensing)
  • Experience Level (entry, mid, senior)


  1. What is purpose of this data tool?

TalentNeuron Recruit is a real-time data tool focused on bringing up-to-the-minute labor market information to employers, regional planners, education, and those serving job seekers.  It provides valuable information on the current hiring demand for certain positions and skill sets, giving a glimpse of which employers are currently recruiting, how they recruit for key positions, what their specific skill needs are, and where they advertise vacancies.  Companies can compare their postings, median salaries, and qualifications to competitors and gain valuable recruiting insights.  TalentNeuron Recruit can also be used to understand what new skills, jobs, or fields are increasing in demand and where qualified candidates can be found.  It can also scan a resume, job posting, competency pyramids, career pathways, or curriculum content and match job postings that have similar requirements.


  1. Who uses TalentNeuron Recruit regularly in Minnesota?

While the potential applications are vast, here are a few ways that Minnesota organizations are using the tool right now to overcome our labor force challenges:

  • Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) use TalentNeuron Recruit to help clients find jobs, by analyzing resumes, performing advanced searches based on client skills and experience, or exploring salary and experience in desired career pathways;
  • Government and employer associations use the data to show businesses what is going on in their markets, study employer competition, explore leads for new business opportunities, and to give advice to companies on how to recruit or fill their jobs;
  • Non-profits and organizations find TalentNeuron Recruit useful when developing grant proposals, analyzing organizational impact, and evaluating whether to scale up or scale down training programs;
  • Researchers use the data to report on micro trends in current job openings, employer demand, and study emerging fields like Healthcare IT and our “gig economy;”
  • Education (K-12, higher ed, training organizations, certifications) use TalentNeuron Recruit for the elaboration of career pathways, curriculum development, and employer engagement.

Currently, 85 Minnesota organizations hold user agreements in TalentNeuron Recruit, with an estimated 890 individuals who have used the data tool to better align Minnesota’s labor force and job opportunities.


  1. Does TalentNeuron Recruit link to any other data systems or sources?

TalentNeuron Recruit includes third-party data in the tool:

  • All jobs are matched up to BLS SOCS as well as NAICS codes (updated annually), making it easy to compare data to other data classified in this way
  • US College and University Graduate data (a survey produced conjointly by the U.S Department of Education, the Institute of Education Sciences and the National Center for Education Statistics. They gather information through a direct survey sent to more than 7,500 institutions. This includes research universities, states colleges and universities, private religious and liberal arts colleges, community and technical colleges and non-degree-granting institutions)


  1. What is the benefit of TalentNeuron Recruit using data from other sources?

TalentNeuron Recruit uses the Standard Occupational Classification codes as defined by the most recent data available via the Bureau of Labor Statistics, allowing for sorting positions by how they would be classified by BLS or DEED.  The site also allows for sorting by job function, skill, and other qualities, making it a very flexible tool that can adjust to an ever-changing market.

The Hiring Scale, a measure of difficulty to fill a particular position, is calculated using information from the online job postings in conjunction with monthly local unemployment rates and graduate data.

BLS wage data by occupation is published on TalentNeuron Recruit to estimate annual salary for positions where there are too few postings for a position to establish a reliable median posted salary.


  1. Where can I go for more information on TalentNeuron Recruit?

For general information visit CEB’s website.  If you are an organization located in Minnesota and have specific questions about the tool or would like to know if your team can get access, we invite you to reach out to RealTime Talent’s User Engagement Project Manager, Marian Rengel, at marian.rengel@so.mnscu.org.

How One Organization Used Real-Time Data to Explore Healthcare Recruiting in the Twin Cities

Labor market data (LMI) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, DEED, and the U.S. Census Bureau can tell as a lot about our state’s economy and labor force: our current unemployment rate, how successful college graduates are in getting jobs, and disparities in employment by race and ethnicity, to name just a few. These traditional data sources are invaluable to academics, economic development planners, and workforce developers who need hard data on Minnesota’s labor force statewide. In many cases, this data is also available regionally by DEED’s economic development regions, and sometimes by metropolitan area. However, these traditional data sources tell us very little about which employers are hiring now, the kinds of hard and soft skills that are currently in demand, or where job vacancies are advertised.

LifeScience Alley is one organization that is using new real-time labor market data from TalentNeuron Recruit alongside traditional LMI sources to analyze detailed healthcare recruiting trends in Minnesota. In their Quarter 2 workforce report, they found significant demand for engineers, making up 17 percent of all open positions advertised online by healthcare companies.  Medical device manufacturers, IVD, and pharmaceutical firms were found to have the most open positions during that quarter, with most job openings seeking candidates with skills in quality systems and quality assurance. They also discovered that most positions advertised in the Twin Cities were concentrated in the northwest in cities like Plymouth and Fridley.

Take a look at LifeScience Alley’s report to learn more about the healthcare industry in the Twin Cities metro, or use this as an example of how other organizations might use this data source to better understand their local labor force economy.


Albert Lea’s Workforce Development Inc. Uses Data to Get People Jobs

With Minnesota’s labor force growth projected to flatline, many businesses and community leaders are concerned about what this shortage of workers will mean for the health of local businesses and regional economies.  In Albert Lea, they aren’t satisfied with worrying about the problem; placement specialists with Workforce Development Inc. are using new data sources like TalentNeuron Recruit (formerly Wanted Analytics) to search thousands of online postings in Freeborn County and get job seekers placed in those jobs quicker.

The Albert Lea Tribune released a story in July titled “Meeting the Workforce Challenge: A Need for Workers,” highlighting how the city is using real-time labor force data to help job seekers successfully find work in their region.  Take a look to see how Minnesotans are rising to the labor force challenge.