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Should job boards ignore big data?

big dataA long time ago – well, maybe a year or two – big data was being touted as the next big thing. It would ‘change the game‘ for recruiters, it would change the workplace, and provide ‘new recruiting insight‘.

Guess what? Some of that was actually true. But you wouldn’t guess that from looking at the job board industry. With one major exception, job boards have been slow to jump on the big data train. Some of this can be attributed to the cynicism of living through many ‘next big things’ (remember TheLadders? Social Recruiting?). It’s also true that most job boards lack internal technical resources of the right type (think: data engineers) to exploit their own piles of candidate, job, and employer data.

But I really think the slowness can be attributed to two major factors: lack of customer demand, and lack of vendors. Let’s dig into that.

Lack of customer demand: this is not surprising, right? Employers don’t know they need something if they’ve never had it. They didn’t know they needed job boards until the latter appeared – and it still took a few years for the industry to flourish. Same thing with big data. It’s a buzz word, not a solution. For employer to actually want big data products, they need to know what such a product might do for them. How much they’ll save. How much more they’ll get. Again, with one exception (which I will get to momentarily), employers haven’t been presented with much of anything to tempt them.

Lack of vendors: This is more of a problem for the average job board – the kind that lacks data engineers. If you can’t leverage an asset internally (i.e., your data), you have to turn to 3rd party vendors to do so. Where are they? At this point, few and far between. Recruitics comes to mind. I’m sure there’s another, but as you can tell, it hasn’t made an impression yet. A number of recruitment marketing platforms (such as Smashfly) offer data analytics. eQuest has an offering. Job boards should do the same.

So…there is a job board that’s making a full-court press with big data products: CareerBuilder. In fact, in conjunction with Broadbean, they just announced the launch of their Big Data Analytics Suites (BDAS) – not exactly a catchy name, although there is a vague allusion to ‘bad-ass’, I guess. I have no idea if the product is good or bad – but I salute them for offering their clients a solution. They may well have ‘first-to-market’ advantage in our space, as they’ve been ramping up their big data capabilities for some time.

But – you may say – I’m not CareerBuilder! True. They’re big – at least, probably bigger than you. Yet you have something they don’t have – valuable candidate and job data for your area of the recruiting world. Your employers have a lot of the same problems that CareerBuilder’s enterprise clients have – where to place a job posting, identifying what kind of candidate really fits their needs, and of course how to measure the effectiveness of their recruiting efforts.

You can either wait around until a competitor starts providing your clients with solutions powered by big data – or you can partner up with a vendor to create your own (I’ve mentioned 2 above).

I suggest a proactive approach is best! And in case you were wondering – I don’t think job boards should ignore big data.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Totally agree! Find the data that either impresses your clients or frightens them! The latter being data that shows the huge drop off of applicants sent to the ATS that don’t apply… the biggest cause can be fixed by leveraging *but* the job boards need to lean on the ATSs to also get connected – this will supply even MORE Big Data for the job boards to brag about, like Quality of Hire!!

  2. Before writing this post I did some research, but I was quickly irritated by what my first google searches came up with. It was mainly vague articles and content marketing pieces using those buzzwords and big claims without actually explaining anything practical about what data analytics can offer job boards and recruiting in general.

    There’s a bit of education needed for everyone, and I suspect a lot of that learning revolves around employers and job boards viewing data analysis as a part of their regular business in the first place, even if it’s just their existing website analytics or sifting through their existing data. I’d love to see more practical advice for SMBs to use data analysis to their advantage. Once people really learn the value of it, I think Big Data will make a lot more sense in terms of what it can offer.

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