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!


Jamie Leonard said...

Good post Dom. I would imagine that booking job boards is bread and butter for you guys so nice to see you calling it the way you see it, most wouldn’t.

Job boards need to change and it’s not just about the technology they use. For the most part, job boards have been offering the same generic service since 1994. As you said Dom, connecting candidate and recruiter and hosting CVs, and that’s it. Change is inevitable as people’s needs and expectations change. In 1994 candidates were happy to have a place to host their CV for recruiters to search. In the same way we were happy to go to the video shop and rent a movie and take it back the day after in 1994. How many of do that now? Today we want our movies instant, streamed and available in a multitude of portable devices. Our demands and expectations change.

domsumners said...

Good point - i just think people who think social will wash away the job boards as they did to press - have got it wrong (at the moment). give the users what they want in most efficient way and constantly innovate - easy!

Gabriel said...

Agreed; good post - but then as a job-board owner I'm bound to agree......although it's nice to see someone expressing my own thoughts so succinctly.

As you aluded to, the key to survival is Quality Control..... which is best exercised by niche boards (I suspect the big generalist boards simply don't have the resources to maintain QC throughout.....)

Thx again.