Google Jobs good or bad? Crystal ball says…cloudy

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When shoes drop, they sometimes drop slowly. It was last fall when we first learned of Google’s Cloud Jobs API – and of certain job boards’ partnership in testing it. Then around the first of the year, we heard more of the API, including the occupational and skills ontologies generated from analysis of 17 million job listing – and how Google was using that to better target search results. Then word surfaced of Google Hire, their ATS that also just happens to really understand job data rolling in from Google search. There has been much speculation about what Google’s moves mean for players in the job board and recruitment marketing industry. Here are my two cents:

  • Indeed will feel some pain: As Joel Cheesman has written, Indeed has surely known this day was coming. For years they have thrived on their ability to game the search engine’s algorithms, putting Indeed results at the top of most job search queries. They’ve parleyed that into a $1 billion business. Google’s API will undoubtedly push Indeed down (off?) the results page. In the near term, that means less traffic, less views, and less applies. You could even say it means less revenue. As Cheesman points out, there are many ways Indeed can counter – and the company has shown over the past decade that they are very good at execution.
  • Job boards have new opportunities: Buying into the Google API gives job boards another chance to shine on the search engine results. For some, it gives them a way out of their (unfortunate) dependence on Indeed-centric traffic. However…job boards may also wonder if Google will execute an Indeed-like about-face and dump them after garnering their clients’ listings and traffic. Only time will tell.
  • Google fails a lot: One thing to remember is Google throws lots of spaghetti against the proverbial wall – and the majority of it falls. Google Jobs and Hire may do the same. Or, Jobs may simply help Hire succeed.
  • Candidates matter – still: In case you haven’t noticed, what is driving this entire ecosystem is employer demand for candidates. If the API does a better job of getting candidates into the right jobs, with the right employers, it will succeed.

It’s early days yet with the Google Cloud Jobs API. I for one am looking forward to hearing from Google’s Tarquin Clark at the Jobg8 Job Board Summit.

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