The problem of duplicate job postings

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You know what gets a job seeker truly steamed? Clicking on a link for a job posting – and discovering that it’s exactly the same job he looked at a few seconds earlier.  Same job, different listings = unhappy job seeker.

How does this happen? Well, any job board that allows 3rd party recruiters to post their open positions runs the risk of duplicate postings.  Let’s say that ABC Company has an listing for a mechanical engineer. The HR person posts it on their company site and also drops an email to three favored recruiters announcing the opening. The recruiters turn around and post the job under their own accounts – because after all, if they can get it filled, they’ll receive a handsome commission.

So what’s the problem? After all, the HR person just tripled their chances of a response by encouraging the recruiters to post the job separately. In fact, if the recruiters are using different job boards, the position could get even more exposure.

But the job seeker is unhappy. His or her anger will have two likely targets: the job board, and the company.

The company may not care if the job seeker is unhappy – after all, the market is tight and there are (in general) more seekers than jobs (although I would argue that companies should care about their reputation with job seekers, as they want to attract the best talent).

The job board should care quite a bit about making the job seeker unhappy. After all, quality candidates are the lifeblood of a successful site. But eliminating duplicate postings is tough. If recruiters purchase the right to post jobs, why can’t they post a listing that a client has given them?

Another twist – when an aggregator like Indeed or SimplyHired serves up duplicate job postings, what can anyone do? Between cross posting by the job board itself, recruiters, and (occasionally) use of multiple job boards by the company, it’s not unusual to see the job listed in search results many times.

This may be a problem that is never resolved – but both companies and job boards should be aware that it creates negative attitudes toward them on the part of the job seeker.

Your thoughts?

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The problem of duplicate job postings | Job Board Doctor -- Topsy.com

  2. gigajobs

    Good article.. A common complaint even I have expetrienced. I’ve become atuned to even guessing the correct company the agency has poasted the jobs for.. I would like to provide some transparency for candidates using a Job reference number but most agencies are very cagey about posting the details of the actual employer.. Ive considered a Job ref number that but these can be fudged..I’d like to know the answer too. Was thinking or have a posting criteria so granular that candidates can easily pick duplicates ie Location, Industry Sector, Salary/Rate, etc..

  3. Steve Dill

    One way my medical sales job board has limited duplicate postings compared to my largest competitor is to not allow medical companies to directly post jobs on my board, http://www.gorillamedicalsales.com . My board is strictly limited to recruiter postings. In this way, I can avoid having a recruiter post a job in medical sales right next to the same job posted by the hiring company.

  4. Todd

    I personally don’t see it being a huge deal deal because the number of duplicate ads is relatively small. It may be a minor annoyance to candidates but I’m sure that most simply overlook the issue. It’s competitive out there and a single job can be advertised by a multiple agencies, etc so that’s why the industry is the quick and the dead.

  5. Ellery

    So how should duplicated ads be handled?
    do you apply only to the company, or do you send the cv off to the recruiter as well?

  6. Job Board Doctor

    I personally would apply directly to the company, but I think it is up to the individual. – Jeff

  7. Pingback: Fewer job boards, not fewer jobs | ZDNet

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