I’m a very lucky guy. How so? I have the privilege of working with dozens of job boards and recruiting software companies. I’m not locked into a single site or sector – but I am continually focused on the job board industry at both the micro and macro level. I don’t see everything, of course – but I am able to see a lot.
So….what do I see?
Change. The job board industry is going through the most significant amount of change, reorganization, and growth since its emergence in the mid 1990s. Acquisitions, expansion, evolution, failure – it’s all happening right now, and I expect the current pace of change to continue for several years. To put it bluntly, we’re in the midst of a market ‘adjustment’ – and those always create opportunities (and danger).
What is driving change in the industry? Let’s take a look:
- Platform changes: The desktop has lost its grip on users, and mobile devices have benefited. Tablets also seem to be replacing laptops (at least for some applications). More people are turning their homes into wireless networks that connect their computers to audio and visual devices (not to mention appliances). Even cars are connected to the net. So if you don’t have a keyboard, how do you search for your next job on a traditional site? Good question.
- Money: The recession is slowly (and reluctantly, it seems) fading away. In its wake are hundreds of companies with piles of cash and thoughts of acquisitions in their 12 month plans. Putting talented people and employers together continues to be lucrative – so investment and acquisition dollars are now chasing those companies in the online recruiting biz that actually make money. Ahem – job boards tend to fall into that category. If you’re a solid niche site with happy customers, you already have suitors knocking on your door.
- Pent-up demand: You could say this is the other side of the acquisition coin. Many job board owners had so much “fun” during the last 4 years that they’re ready to sell. These won’t be fire sales – but interested buyers will definitely find interested sellers.
- Social recruiting: All recruiting is social, of course – but ‘social recruiting’ now means recruiting with Twitter, LinkedIn, et al. I’d argue that social recruiting has put the ‘sexy’ back in recruiting, at least in the employer world. Smart job boards realized this and incorporated social tools into their offering. Those that didn’t are finding that their offerings aren’t ‘sexy’. Social tools will continue to drive functional and technical changes in job boards.
- Job seeker expectations: Where are they looking? How do they conduct a job search? What makes them act (or not)? How much will they put up with to find the ephemeral ‘perfect job’? These questions drive the creation of hundreds of job sites every year – sites that answer these questions better than anything else (at least in their founders’ minds).
- Employer expectations: Why is applicant quality low? Why does hiring cost so much? Why does hiring take so long? Why change anything? These questions also drive the development of hundreds of ‘solutions’ every year. Sometimes, some of them work.
There you have it. The drivers of change as I see them. What did I miss?[Want to get Job Board Doctor posts via email? Subscribe here.].