Old words, new words: naming what you do

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The Doctor is out, so this is a visit into the vault from 2011. Enjoy!

whatsinanameConsider the term ‘job board’.

For some, it is a term of derision, an insult (as in, “geez, why would you use a job board?”). For others, it is a badge of honor (“we’re the biggest job board in the world for New York urologists!”).

For me, it is…. inaccurate. At its core, what does it say? “This is a board where you will find jobs.” As in bulletin board. As in, very dated. Yes, the term is extremely convenient as shorthand for employers and recruiters – it describes a site that they can use to promote their jobs.

But you know what? The best ‘job boards’ – and I mean the ones that are successful, growing, and innovative – are really ‘candidate acquisition sites‘. They have become places where employers can use a variety of methods (not just job posting) to locate certain types of candidates – at a lower cost (and faster) than if they tried to do so on their own. Yes, the phrase ‘candidate acquisition site’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. We need something better and snappier. But it tells the employer what the site can do for them.

A cardinal rule of sales is, ‘don’t tell me who you are or how great you are – tell me what you can do for me’. That holds for what you call your services. ‘Job board’ doesn’t really do the job anymore, does it? From the employer’s perspective, it’s all about finding the right candidates, when needed, at the right cost – and keeping their company in front of the right candidates, all the time.

No one will quit calling job boards ‘job boards’ just because I think they should. But you can redefine what you call your site. And you can reinforce that with each and every communication you have with your employers and job seekers. It will take time – but you will find that even though those ‘other sites’ are still job boards, you’re something different.

And that’s good.

(And no, I’m not going to become the ‘CandidateAcquisitionSiteDoctor’. Just ain’t gonna happen.)

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Felix Wetzel

    Jeff, you are right, the term “job board” has lost a lot of its glamour. Many job boards here in the UK move along the recruitment value chain and starting to resemble more a mixture of recruitment advertising agencies, flat fee recruiters and RPOs. They have strong tech and a ready made talent pool that doesn’t even realize it is a talent pool. I would describe them more as resourcing solutions provider than job boards.

  2. Keith Potts

    My favourite post of the year. Great stuff.

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