Job boards don’t create jobs – employers do

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I’ve worked with dozens of job boards over the years, and I often take a look at what the job seekers are saying to them. Since the onset of the recession (and honestly, before), it goes something like this:

“Why don’t you have any jobs in my area?”

“I’ve had my resume posted on your site for months and you haven’t called me.”

“I’ve been working in my field for twenty years but you don’t have a single job for me??”

There are lots of things going on here – whether a job seeker knows how to actually look for a job, whether they have the skills and training, if they will consider relocation – but a theme runs through many of the comments: job seekers often think job boards have the jobs. Not employers – job boards.

It doesn’t make much sense if you’re in the industry – but step outside for a second. Let’s suppose that you’re a somewhat educated but previously indifferent person who just lost their job. Where do you go first? Probably a job board – most likely one of the big ‘brand names’ like Monster or CareerBuilder. You see lots of jobs, you apply for lots of jobs – and you don’t get a response. Who do you blame?

The job board.

Now, let’s say that some of the job ads don’t list the name of the company, or even any contact information. It’s entirely possible that you might think that the job board actually posted the job.

Or…say that you’re looking and looking, but can’t find any listings for your town – even though you know the local manufacturing plant is hiring. Maybe, you think to yourself, the job board is hiding the jobs. Or failing to post them. Or worse.

A little nutty? Yes. But logic does not seem to play a big part in the public discourse these days. Why should job hunting be any different?

Getting back to my original subject, though: job boards are tools. At their best, they can enable job seekers to find jobs much faster and more efficiently than any other means (and yes, I’m including referrals, social media, and the like).

But job boards don’t create jobs – employers do. And employer don’t create jobs in a vacuum – they are part of an enormous (and enormously complicated) ecosystem that includes buyers, sellers, governments, trade, demand, and….job boards. I wanted to write about this because I understand the job seeker’s frustration – and I think it’s completely understandable that some of them become confused during the emotional, tense, and taxing process of looking for a job.

But if you’re a job seeker, please, take it from me – job boards don’t create jobs. They just communicate them.

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