(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY The hiring process at many companies still depends heavily on recommendations, whether it's an old-fashioned reference on a resume or more modern recommendations at a site like LinkedIn (LNKD). But both approaches are problematic.
Now there's a new approach: Recmnd.Me, a website where people are scored and ranked by their peers. That makes recommendations potentially more useful to prospective employers.
The site, where users may register free of charge, is pretty straightforward. When you sign up, you create a short profile that includes your career, skills, location, and any other professional keywords that you think are relevant. Then you can recommend any number of contacts and co-workers, and they in turn will be offered the opportunity to recommend you.
Recmnd.Me doesn't rely on the free-form narrative approach found at most other recommendation services. Instead, you rank people on a scale of 1 to 10 in three categories: intelligence, personality, and dedication.
After a few people have recommended you, the cool part happens -- you get ranked in all the categories you set up in your profile. You can see how you stack up in your local area, at your current employer, and in all the professional keywords you entered. More importantly, potential employers also can see these rankings. It's one thing to get a generic letter of recommendation from a former boss. It's quite different to be ranked No. 1 in your professional specialty or get ranked in your local area.
In theory, people are more inclined to be honest in their appraisal using this approach because you never see any of the specific ratings anyone gives you; you only see how you stack up on the overall ratings page.
Of course, the ultimate success of a service like Rcmnd.Me relies on how much traction it gets among users, including both job seekers and employers. There's already LinkedIn, for example, but that site has someof recommendations. Here's hoping that Recmnd.Me is a success.