Reading tea leaves in the job site world

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It’s been an interesting several months in the job site world. To wit:

  • Indeed surpasses Monster: Yep, for the first time a job site aggregator’s traffic surpassed the ‘monster’ of our industry.
  • RealMatch lands some serious VC dollars: Remember my snarky comments about matching? RealMatch proved me wrong, or at least convinced investors that they had some real traction in matching.
  • Job board revenues rise: Monster, CareerBuilder, and Dice showed revenue gains – true, not earth-shattering gains, but increases nonetheless. In this economy, that’s impressive.
  • .jobs stumbles, regroups, stumbles again: The .jobs universe of ‘millions’ of sites was approved by ICAAN but promptly ran into stiff legal opposition from associations and job boards; the jury is still out.
  • CareerBuilder reinvents the wheel – and charges for it: CareerBuilder released Talent Network (not to be confused with Dice’s Talent Network, of course), which essentially provides turnkey career site creation and branding. This is something most companies can do, but don’t.
  • LinkedIn elbows itself more firmly into the jobs arena: Although technically not a job board, LinkedIn continued to blur the lines with the introduction of its Referral Engine and Jobs For You products. The former suggests jobs matching a user’s profile; the latter targets passive candidates in or out of the LinkedIn environment.

So what does all of this mean? Well, in the tea leaves tradition, you drink the tea (leaving a small amount in the bottom), swirl, and interpret. Symbols are revealed in the form of acorns (improved health), owls (sickness), and so on. Thus, I have swirled and this is what I see:

  1. We’ve bottomed out. The top boards in our industry are making more money. That’s got to be a good sign.
  2. Aggregators will be making some moves. Ok, they already have. But expect more – soon. And you may not like all of them.
  3. LinkedIn is doing a lot of things right. I don’t care if the interface is ugly and Groups are a pain – lots of job seekers are using it, and liking it. Ignore at your peril.
  4. Matching may thrive. Or not.
  5. .jobs isn’t a threat to job sites. But…see #2 and #3.

The future is very…fuzzy.

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