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Job seekers use job boards – for research

The Doctor is at the JobG8 job board summit this week – so this is from the archives. Enjoy!

research 2I’ve talked before about how job boards are evolving to meet the changing needs of both employers and candidates. I’ve also talked about how some boards are simply stuck in the past. But I haven’t talked as much about the disconnect between how candidates actually use job boards, and how job boards think they use them.

I’m in the midst of a survey of job seekers, and one of the questions I ask is: “What were the primary ways you have used job boards in your career hunt?” Here are the top 3 answers:

  • Locate jobs – then apply directly on employer site (88%)
  • Identify employers in my industry/profession (77%)
  • Research types of jobs available (70%)

Do you see a common thread in these responses? It’s that candidates use job boards for career research.

Ok, you might say, sure, makes sense.

But how many of us set up our job boards to facilitate career researchAfter all, if the candidate is what drives everything in our industry, it seems that helping the candidate do what he or she is already doing would be a smart move.

So how what types of features would such a site have? Here are some ideas (and the corresponding challenge associated with making them a reality):

  • Comparison tools: Allow candidates to do apples to apples comparisons of their jobs based on certain key parameters, such as years of experience, location, salary, etc. The challenge: You need job postings that have been parsed and indexed to make this happen.
  • Employer exploration tools: Lets candidates enter one or two companies as examples – then have the tool suggest other employers that are similar. Can be guided by emphasis on industry, culture, size, location, etc. The challenge: Normalizing the company data to enable such comparison, and pulling in outside data sources to help on such aspects as culture.
  • Geographic exploration tools: A reverse version of CareerBuilder’s ‘where to hire’ tool – allows candidates to input their job titles and/or skills, then get a geographic ‘map’ of where the demand for those skills is. The challenge: This type of ‘big data’ task is not simple – I suspect it would be outsourced to a 3rd party provider.

I’m sure you can imagine several other features that candidates would find useful – and of course you can always look into your own specific candidate pool to determine special needs. The bottom line: it’s important to understand how candidates use your site now to determine what types of services you should offer in the future. Take a look at GlassDoor to get some other ideas.

And by the way – each of these tools offer revenue opportunities. Just sayin’!

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