Friday, 16 July 2010

Future for Job Boards - possibly...

This post is prompted by a really interesting (to me!) debate started on Matt Alder's blog here about whether Job Boards will die off in same way as print classified advertising is. My thoughts on this are as follows
1. All media need to innovate and improve their product - better search, better user experience etc. If products don't do this - they will be thrashed by the competitors forget about any seismic marketplace changes.
2. Job Boards do 2 main things - connect employers/recruiters to candidates (and vice versa) and provide a searchable CV database.
3. The CV database model is fragile i think - via LinkedIn and other methods of online profiling (which social may/is developing at at a pace. Job Boards don't add any value in its CV database (there are good and bad search tools i know) and this product has been ruthlessly exploited by rec cons and not touched by direct clients. Like a plague of locusts - the rec cons having stripped a database of its ripe fruit will move on to the next host (LinkedIn. industry forums etc) .
4. But the core ad model is a beautifully efficient way of connecting recruiters to candidates. In 10 seconds from mobile device or PC - a user can get the top 10 most relevant current jobs delivered to their screen. He/she can respond via email in about 30 seconds and be back on Facebook. I am not ignoring the approx 5 issues about process above (bad search, too easy to apply, lack of quality in jobs, lack of quality in applications. But as a method of getting consumer to provider - it is staggeringly efficient. and efficiency and speed work online.
5. Now the thing that (many) job boards have never cracked is the browser, the passive candidate (the semi mythical quality candidate who you can access via beautiful high impact branding placed where that user consumes media). I fundamentally believe this is the huge gargantuan opportunity that a lot of our social media work can begin to deliver on. And being as the job boards have been rubbish at this historically not sure they will miss out too much.

The above is oversimplistic and all your advertising, engagement and employer brand impacts on each other but if you want to recruit and you put up great web/search friendly content in the right place with a super efficient response mechanism -the job boards (and PPC) will continue to deliver for you in coming years.

NB with proviso that someone somewhere is coming up with something so brilliant that any long term prediction can make fools of us all!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Times/SundayTimes and Rec Advertising

OK - the paywall went up this week which means we now have to pay to access the editorial content here. Now i am slightly conflicted in that i want to support innovation and new business models (OME, in its way, has completely re-written what a successful rec ad agency might look like) but.....
Our job is to plan and buy the best media for our clients and the redesign and re-launch of their sites have the following issues.
1. If you have to register (lets forget paying for time being) - many people won't bother - speaking personally i wouldn't bother unless there is information data and content that is not available elsewhere. Does the times site have this? i really don't know. Therefore traffic is and will be down - this is fact not conjecture. Therefore response is and will be down - fact not conjecture.
2. At same time - the times and Sunday Times have split sites. Now for last 10 years - users have been going to timesonline to access jobs and adverts for senior executives. Now - no rec con can advertise on Timesonline and no job above £40K salary. So the user goes to where the relevant jobs have been for 10 years - searches and gets zero ads returned. Result - the user goes elsewhere...
3. The damage here would be lessened if there was proper signposting of where users (indeed recruiters) should go next - instead its a maze and requires a lot of dead ends and clicks to try and find what you need. Not a shock to anyone but the digital user is a lazy person who wants instant gratification not to have to think about where should i go next?
4. If you are gong to make this sort of change - you had better have a big marketing budget to persuade people - i have yet to see this.

So all this is without looking further at damage of a paywall - my overall thought is - i love the Times/SundayTimes as a media. i really like the people we deal with but this appears to have been done without putting the recruitment advertiser or candidate anywhere near their thoughts. And the really silly thing is - i reckon you can solve some of the issues above in a day but will they do so before real damage is done??