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Lines are getting blurry: Are ATSs becoming job boards?

ATSIf you follow my blog, you know that I often complain about applicant tracking systems (ATS) – mostly in relation to what they don’t for candidates and how they can hurt job boards (via poor source tracking).

But it’s a fact the not-so-beloved ATS has migrated from the Fortune 500 to the rest of the business world – growing in functionality and dropping in price. As this has happened, lines have gotten blurrier between where the job board (traditionally the first line of recruitment marketing for most organizations) ends and the ATS begins. We’ve seen hybrids – think SmartRecruiter and SmashFly – that merge some type of ATS to an integrated recruitment marketing platform. And of course, all along there have been job boards with ATSs of their own.

Which leads me to wonder: are ATSs becoming job boards? Are they simply engulfing the traditional role of job boards – to market job postings to candidates?

Or maybe we should flip the question: are job boards becoming ATSs? Are job boards – simply as a matter of survival – adding more ATS-like features to retain clients?

Perhaps this is the most logical answer: both sides are stealing ideas from the others, and both are racing to remain relevant in a competitive recruitment market. Getting past labels and semantics, both job boards and ATSs realize that their clients have become more sophisticated – and that products that originated in the 2000s may not be appropriate for now.

Consider Jobvite. They’ve evolved from a ‘social recruitment’ tool to a full blown recruitment marketing platform, handling everything from internal employee referrals to video interviewing and mobile career sites. The social piece is still there – think crowdsourced recruitment marketing – but no one from 2000 would call them either an ATS or a job board.

So where do job boards fit in? Well, actually, some are already there. Sites as varied as Snagajob and CoolWorks have developed their own, client-specific ATSs – and as you might imagine, once clients start using those ATSs, they’re loathe to give them up. Others are adding video interviewing and career site management to their services. I expect the market to continue to mix and match services, according to employer response (and possibly investor interest). I don’t expect the traditional job board model of job postings and resume access only to dominate (but you probably knew I’d say that!).

Yes, lines are getting blurry – but blurry (in this case) represents market movement and opportunity for everyone!

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Interesting piece, I think you are quite right to state that Job Boards are looking for strategic ways to better retain customers, we all know how companies hate moving ATS’s. We are also starting to see Job Boards move into other areas, not just ATS territory, branding, social management, career site builds etc. But then as you mention, its seems everyone is doing this, the big recruitment marketing agencies are RPO’s, technology providers, media buyers, content providers, social management…you name it. Maybe the trick in this current market is to stay agile and cut your coat according to your cloth.

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