(Note: Today’s guest post is by Felix Wetzel, Group Marketing Director for Jobsite.co.uk. You can read more at his blog)
Job boards are the number 1 channel for finding a job and for finding candidates. The recession has cemented this position even further. If you want to know more, have a look at Jobsite’s quarterly market tracker.
Whenever a brand establishes itself as the market leader, they become the primary target for scorn & envy and for a desire to replace them. The stronger they are, the more the Cassandra calls are based on emotion and dubious claims. Just look at Microsoft, Google…and yes, job boards.
It makes me smile when I hear that job boards are now the traditional means of recruiting – I remember the time 10 years ago, when we were laughed at. It makes me smile when I see the success and challenge of LinkedIn as the next generation job board (even though currently more useful for authentication) – it just shows that we are working in a very attractive, innovative market. It makes me smile when I hear that job boards will die – 10 years ago it was all about the disintermediation of the recruitment agency and instead of disappearing they grew stronger as they adapted their business models. And seriously, do people really believe job boards won’t evolve and instead just sit there and quietly fade away?
So much more than just a Job board…
Job boards might not be fashionable, but we certainly don’t stand still. Let me list just a few examples:
Search Engine Optimization – since before Google came to prominence, Jobsite (and others) always SEOed all vacancies and all corporate pages and still do now. Recruiters benefit from the link juice of our authority site.
Crowd sourcing – we introduced this before the term “crowd sourcing” existed – it ultimately uses data intelligently by recommending jobs based on the applications of people that applied for the same job. It’s always incredibly accurate and drives around 8% of applications.
Referral – peer-to-peer recommendations – another job board classic. On Jobsite.co.uk we have a service called ‘email a friend’ – a candidate can send a job to a friend for consideration. In the first six months of this year nearly 300k of these peer to peer connections were made. These are significant numbers and without any prompting, without any time investment by any recruiter.
– 5% of Jobsite.co.uk’s total site visits come from mobile devices and this will continue to grow. Most interestingly though is the change in user behavior – peek times are changing and interactions are altering.
Behavioral targeting – That’s a really cool piece and currently my personal favorite: If a candidate comes to Jobsite and views a job posting but doesn’t apply and then moves to another site, an unobtrusive, lightly branded banner is displayed, listing the key details of the job they’ve just looked at as well as similar recommendations. That’s cool as it takes into account dynamic behavior and the workings of the unconscious mind.
…and so much more to come
But, this isn’t enough. We must evolve even further as the tectonic plates of change are moving in the underground – the last ten years were about the transfer of traditional methods onto a new technology, now the real structural changes are going to happen. There are several innovations and mash ups about to be launched and integrated which ultimately will reinforce job boards’ position as the primary way of engaging and connecting candidates to recruiters/hirer.
Instead of job boards I like to think about recruitment retailers – it clearly puts us into the recruitment arena whilst utilising a retail approach, especially to job seekers. Let me mention three underlying, logical and intrinsically linked principles that need to be addressed to thrive as a job board in the years to come:
People instead of ads
Currently job boards could be classified as advertising media, mostly servicing the hirer. That is short sighted, instead I suggest a focus on people – finding people to work with. This gives a common denominator for both the candidate and recruiter whilst at the same time opening up many more service modules and integrations, changing the focus of our communication and engagement messages and methods and ultimately putting the individual at the heart of it all. Instead of page views and applications, our primary performance metrics needs to be: how many people have found a job.
The hirer pays the bills and sites are often structured to fulfil their desires. But sustained growth can only be achieved through engaged candidates – they are the real drivers behind the revenues. Job boards are the conduit, bringing simplicity to a complex world by connecting all the different recruitment channels but mainly by translating between candidate and recruiter and ensuring that a service works for both sites – otherwise it is doomed to failure. Let me give you a simple example: recruiters in the UK classify themselves by industry sector, the candidates however by location – it’s the job boards’ task to translate and link these different approaches in meaningful ways.
Job boards are technology businesses – which is kind of a given since we operate on the internet. It therefore surprises me how many boards do not invest into their technology and into their IT teams. I applaud Monster for their investment into 6Sense. At the same time, it is important for everybody to understand that we are dealing with people, so the data is unstructured in comparison to books et al. I could also call it “user generated content” – if the cooler terminology aids the understanding. We are dealing with people, so we want to make job seeking and finding as easy and as natural as possible – and squeezing them into classifications or making them fill out long questionnaires is the opposite. Technology, and more importantly the use of technology holds the answer and brings simplicity and elegance.
In a meeting yesterday, I heard the following: “If you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevance even less.” Job boards brought change to an entire industry, but job boards need to change and – most importantly – are changing. As a result job boards will be relevant for a long time to come.