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Job board evolution is happening before our eyes

For years I’ve been writing about what I see as the evolution of job boards – away from the traditional ‘job postings and resume’ model, and toward something more social, interactive, flexible, and useful to both candidates and employers. Many factors are driving this evolution, including the growth of ‘big data’, the spread of social media, the explosion in niche and micro-niche job sites, and competitive forces ranging from LinkedIn to Indeed.

As any biologist will tell you, evolution leaves plenty of road kill. Change is inherently destabilizing, which means that those businesses which do not change run the risk of becoming obsolete or irrelevant. Some would argue that this is precisely the source of Monster’s current woes (not I, however – but I’ll leave that for another post). Evolution is ultimately about winners and losers – survival of the fittest and all that. Please note, however, that some organisms survive by not changing – witness the gar. Will the online recruiting industry allow job boards to remain unchanged – and survive? Somehow, I doubt it.

So let’s take a look at what I consider to be three examples of job board evolution:

  • Jobsite.comJobsite is a familiar name in the U.K. Evenbase, Jobsite’s parent company, had a slightly different model in mind for launching in the U.S. How? Well…A) Employers don’t pay for job postings; instead, the  jobs are scraped from employer sites; B) Employers are only sent candidates who have applied for their jobs and score a 90%  or better match on their skills, location, and ability to work; employers then pay only for those applicants they wish to contact. In other words, a pay-for-performance model plus matching technology. It’s an interesting model and I’ll be curious to see how it fares – employers change their habits slowly, but companies such as Indeed have paved the way for accepting pay-for-performance. The matching should increase the quality of applicants, and of course the ‘no money up front’ is always attractive. Evenbase also owns Jobrapido, an aggregator that is new to the U.S. market but making inroads fast, so expect to see some level of integration between the two. Felix Wetzel, the Evenbase Strategy Development Director, has promised further candidate enhancements, including a feedback mechanism for improving the matching technology.
  • Careerbuilder: Somehow I never thought I would be writing about CareerBuilder and job board evolution – but things change. As detailed in a recent ERE.net article, the core piece of CareerBuilder’s offering stems from their recent acquisition of EMSI, an employment data and analytics firm. In a nutshell, EMSI sources and analyzes labor data so that employers know where candidates are, what the going rate is, and so on. CareerBuilder has bundled these services into its Supply and Demand Portal, putting ‘big data’ in the hands of their clients. This represents a fundamental shift for the job board – from a traditional ‘post and pray’ generalist site, to a sophisticated sourcing and hiring tool that is proactive rather than reactive. CareerBuilder is the first to roll something like this out – but they won’t be the last.
  • A thousand LinkedIns: As referenced in a previous post, LinkedIn is laying down plenty of challenges to competitors in the job board industry (yes, yes – LinkedIn is a job board!). But what may not be so obvious is the competitors it has spawned – niche competitors. As detailed in a recent Quora answer, LinkedIn’s massiveness – and its white-collar corporate heritage – actually works against it in many niches such as IT and development, the sciences, academia, and even healthcare. Professionals in these niches are gravitating to community sites that offer platforms for collaboration, critique, peer review, targeted news, and (yes) jobs just for them. I’m thinking about sites such as StackOverflow, Dribbble, Doximity, and GitHub. Each has a specific role it is trying to play for its users, and the varied revenue streams reflect this. But just as Monster spawned hundreds of thousands of niche job sites, so too will LinkedIn spawn its own progeny of focused and more useful niche sites.

So, what will it be? Change or stasis? Looks like it’s your choice.

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1 comment… add one

  • Jamie Salcedo

    January 9, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Well, eventually all social sites lead to niche options. I use StackOverflow for a lot of things, and I go to healthcare boards for my sister who’s looking into ekg tech training. Thanks for the article, btw.

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