Almost every week I see another blog post or story about a trend, product, or development that will doom job boards. Let’s be honest – writing about the death of any institution, especially one used by millions of people worldwide, is a great way to gather eyeballs and readers.
But as I was considering my latest snarky response to such an article, it occurred to me: What exactly is a job board these days? To wit:
- Is LinkedIn a job board?: its primary function seems to be helping people find jobs (or, rather, find people who can find them jobs). It has job postings. It has ‘Apply’ buttons. It certainly has resumes. But….it also has Groups, Direct Messaging, news feeds, and some aspects of interactive social media sites. So: is it a job board?
- Is a job board?: Up until a couple of years ago, was an ‘aggregator’ – it aggregated jobs from thousands of job boards, theoretically making it easier for job seekers to find said jobs. But it is now divesting itself of job board jobs, focusing on direct employer jobs instead – and has recently added a (paid) resume search. So: is it a job board?
- Are matching sites job boards?: Sites like RemarkableHire, Identified, Jobsync, and Jobbook (and there are dozens more) all claim to be able to match candidates to employers using various combinations of profiles, resumes, social media, and skills testing. Some contain job listings (somewhere), some do not. Some use conventional resumes, some do not. There are even networks that focus on matching (RealMatch). So: are they job boards?
- Is StartWire a job board?: How about a site that pulls a job seeker’s social network connections together, tracks job applications, and points out relevant job sources? It doesn’t look like a traditional job board – yet it’s connecting job seekers and jobs. So: is it a job board?
Here’s what I think: the term ‘job board’ is a term coined during the dawn of online recruiting for sites such as Dice and. It was a way of putting tactile terms onto a virtual world, helping us understand there was an electronic board out there in the ether, covered with jobs.
Fast forward almost two decades: the term is still around because: a) humans are creatures of habit; b) humans are lazy; and c) it is still, in some very general way, accurate. Yes, all of the sites mentioned above (and tens of thousands of others) are much more than electronic ‘job boards’. But at their core, they exist to connect employers and job seekers.
Consider the question another way: if you removed the ability of all aforementioned sites to connect employers and job seekers, what would remain? Would they still be functional? Profitable? Durable?
I think not.
So, call your site what you will. Maybe you’ll coin the great new term that replaces ‘job board’. But remember – it’s not a bad word, an epithet, or a thing of the past. It’s simply a commonly used term to describe an incredibly wide, diverse, and useful collection of sites that connect employers and job seekers.
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