5 reasons why it’s futile to predict the future of job boards

FutilitySeems like everyone and their donkey does a ‘what’s coming next’ post around this time of the year. I certainly have. But in looking at my own and others’ pontificating about what is going to happen, I began to feel like I was in a rinse-spin-rinse endless cycle of the same old things. Mobile. PPC. Matching. ATS. ABC. Oh, wait, I think that’s a network.

Anyway. So I thought, how about a contrarian approach? Why not look at the futility of prognostication? And since I am the JobBoardDoctor, how about a look at job boards? (I know, it’s a leap). So, since I realize that Recruiting Animal really doesn’t like articles with numbers in the title, here are 5 reasons why it’s futile to predict the future of job boards:

  1. No one cares. At least, no one except those of us in the industry. The ‘big guys’ like LinkedIn and Indeed are busy pretending they aren’t job boards. Recruiters are looking for something free. And candidates just want a decent job. Whether job boards live or die, flourish or flounder, the world will go on.
  2. The moniker is meaningless. The term ‘job board’ meant something in 1997. Maybe even in 2004. But now? You’ve got your hubs, your media sites, your ‘social networking’ sites, your ‘just like Tindr’ apps, your matching and dating sites. You’ve got gamification, click-casting, applicant trading. Slapping a label on a business that resides inside this ever-morphing mess is convenient but inherently inaccurate. However, there will always be certain consultants who are happy to trade on the name….
  3. Prediction doesn’t help you. Much like being continually focused on your rear view mirror or watching your competitors, looking to the future for clues as to how you should behave in the here and now doesn’t usually pay off. You’re better served listening to real customers with real needs and real problems. Meet the needs, solve the problems, get paid. Somewhere in that process, you become the future that someone else is freaking out about.
  4. It makes you feel bad. Much like obsessively reading Facebook, predicting the future (and reading about it) is bound to make you feel like you’re not doing enough with your own biz. Maybe you’re not, maybe you are. But feeling bad about yourself is not the most productive way to move forward. You want to feel really bad? Run the numbers on how much Jeff Weiner makes – every second of every day.
  5. The future is both predictable – and unpredictable. Huh? Think about it. You can always extrapolate from existing trends to make a few intelligent guesses about what will happen if those trends continue (i.e., climate change and rising ocean levels). But throw in enough variables and you can’t predict a damn thing (i.e., climate change and fauna survival). Who really thought back in 2005 that Facebook would own the world by now? Not me.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I enjoy numbered lists and predictions as much as the next person. And I may even make a few guesses about our industry in the coming months. But don’t call them predictions, or I’ll have to eat my words….and I’m on a diet.

Bonus! Shameless self-promoting plug: Are you going to TAtech in April? Come a day early and spend it with the Doctor! I am running a full-day workshop: Beyond Job Postings: Successful Revenue Strategies for Modern Job BoardsI will delve into lots of ways that you can diversify and deepen your site’s revenue streams – and I’ll help you determine which revenue strategies are right for you. Click here to learn more and register. But hurry – space is extremely limited!

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