Fundamental changes…or tempests in teapots?

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People get bored. This is the number one reason that anything ‘new and shiny’ captures our attention. We get frustrated that what we’re doing is, well, kind of repetitive and doesn’t work the way we imagined it would. Then something new comes along and we think: Maybe this time things will be different! Maybe that software will really work. Maybe this really is the magic bullet.

Or, maybe not.

Honestly, I fight this type of thinking all the time. I’ll admit it, I’m weak – I love falling for anything ‘shiny and new’ (and this applies to my parallel life as  a woodworker, too). Hope springs eternal. And I’ve been struck anew over the past few months as debate has raged around two topics in the job board and recruiting world. So let’s take a look:

1) .jobs: For the full story on .jobs, go here – but in a nutshell, .jobs is a Top Level Domain (TLD) that was created so that any company with hiring needs could develop a specific site for employment, ala companyname.jobs. For example, www.jobboarddoctor.jobs (if I was hiring). But somewhere along the line, EmployMedia and DirectEmployers decided to add category and location sites as well (www.atlanta.jobs, www.doctors.jobs). Problem was, the rules didn’t allow that.

In the meantime, job board operators were understandably worried about the onset of ‘millions’ of these sites – they might produce confusion in the employer and jobseeker world, and potentially hurt the job boards. Recruiters and employers were upset by the TLD bait-and-switch…while others were pronouncing the ‘.jobs universe’ as a fundamental change in online recruiting.

So, which is it – a tempest or a fundamental change? Well, that remains to be seen. First, ICANN must approve the non-standard use of the TLD. If they do, then DirectEmployers must actually deploy the network – and make it function. Then – months later – we may have a sense of what will happen. I’m betting that ICANN won’t approve the change, and if it does, it won’t affect the job board world anytime soon. But I have been wrong before. Verdict: TEMPEST

2) Social media: If you spend time on Twitter, ERE.net, or any HR-related site, you may walk away thinking that social media has replaced every other form of traditional recruiting, including job boards. The social media enthusiasts are, well, enthusiastic.

Why? Well, these channels and tools seem ‘new and shiny’ – although not so much as before. Some folks have had great luck recruiting via LinkedIn and Twitter. And it seems to offer a ‘no-cost’ or ‘low-cost’ alternative to old-fashioned methods such as job boards, networking, and phones.

So, a tempest – or fundamental change? I’m betting this is fundamental change. Why? Simple – these are technological analogues of what we do in person. They can fill (for better or worse) needs we have to connect and communicate with others. Thus, with Twitter I can connect with thousands of other job boarders in a way I simply could not before – yet the tool allows me to speak directly to others as well as broadcast to everyone. These connections have led over and over to personal interactions, that in turn have helped my professional life (The same goes for LinkedIn, Facebook, and several Ning networks I use). I know this is true for other businesses as well.

Does that mean social media replaces traditional recruiting? Nope. Not even close. Social media provides a set of new tools – that’s all. Smart recruiters are always on the prowl for good tools – as are smart job boards. Both would be wise to learn how social media does – and doesn’t – work.

Have you noticed any tempests or fundamental changes lately? Tell me!

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