Last week I put on my virtual job seeker hat to immerse myself in the current world of searching for work.
It kinda sucked.
Step 1: I picked a job title that I know fairly well – marketing director. Step 2: I started where most job seekers start – on a search engine (in my case, Google). Step 3: I typed in the job title and the location. Again, a typical starting place for most job seekers.
In both cases, page 1 of search results was dominated by Indeed, LinkedIn, and Jobs.net. In other words, an aggregator and two general job boards (although I changed my mind about that later – more further on). No sign of any niche site, association, hub, or other type of source specifically focused on the jobs. Ok, I could live with that. Just give me the jobs, right?
Well…not so fast, Mr. Jobseeker! Searching for work isn’t that simple!
Problem 1 appeared when I clicked on the first aggregator listing for marketing director jobs (in this case, it was Indeed). It took me to a landing page for marketing manager jobs in Des Moines, with the search tool already filled out. Ok, if Indeed said ‘manager’, then it must be ok, right? This would certainly give me the good stuff.
Um, not really. Instead, the majority of the listings were jobs that had ‘marketing’ listed somewhere in the job description – jobs ranging from ‘communications consultant’ to ‘leasing and marketing supervisor’.
So I took another look at the aggregator search tool and decided to change it to ‘marketing director’. My options got a little better. I even found a job that called itself a ‘marketing director’.
A question: Are most job seekers savvy enough to make the aggregator search tool changes I did, or do they simply plow through the listings, getting more and more frustrated as they went further? I suspect many won’t figure out that they should make the change. It would have been nice if what I typed into Google had actually transferred over to the aggregator.
Anyway: I clicked on one of the marketing director jobs. It took me to the Indeed job description page for that job and prompted me to apply via Indeed. Fine. Easy enough.
I went back and clicked on the link for the LinkedIn results. Again (wiser this time), I modified the LinkedIn search to include ‘marketing director’. I was given some jobs that were spot on, and jobs that weren’t (i.e., manager of a donut shop). The problem? The search was grabbing anything that had ‘marketing’ or ‘director’. Unless I’m a job seeker with some search engine smarts, I’m going to get frustrated.
Once again I returned to the search engine and tried the link for Jobs.net. Once again I modified the Jobs.net search to include the job title. Interestingly enough, I was given the most relevant jobs of my 3 tries thus far. Go figure. I push onward to apply – and discover that Job.net seems to an aggregator site for CareerBuilder (and looking at their About page, seems they are indeed located in Chicago). I imagine someone outside of our industry (i.e., a normal job seeker), might be confused.
So what do I make of this?
- For a somewhat general search like I conducted, niche sites are invisible.
- It’s annoying as a job seeker to end up on landing pages that don’t match what I was searching for.
- Each site seemed to offer different jobs – despite aggregator claims that every job is gathered on one site.
- I’m in the industry (and a former marketing director) and I found the process tedious. Do I have to become a search engine wiz to get decent results?
- There is (ahem) room for improvement. That means plenty of room for opportunity on the part of the industry.
- I did not conduct this on a mobile device. But I will – soon.
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