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Market complexity is your friend

market complexity

There is a tendency – in every industry, not just our own – to look past market complexity for the ‘next big thing’. We’re talking about ground-shaking, market-changing stuff – like maybe Monster, LinkedIn, Indeed, or (even) Google. Each one of these has changed some aspect of the recruitment marketing world, and – depending on how you look at it – they’ve also changed the way the rest of us do (or did) business. So yeah – they are/were ‘big things’.


The recruitment market is complex. It is not monolithic. Sure, there are some basics that cut across segments, whether you’re looking for janitors or physicists: awareness in the target candidate market, ability to access recruitment information, attractiveness of the employment offer, and effectiveness in linking candidate to employer. But the devil is in the details. One size does not fit all.

Think about it. If you’re an employer looking for front-of-house hospitality staff, will you be utilizing the same recruitment strategies as a college looking to hire development officers? Probably not. One population is mobile-first, younger, and most likely working in hospitality as a second job (the proverbial actor/waiter). The other population is already sitting at their desktop, raising money for a competing school, older, and in their career as a ‘profession’. Each population has specific ‘hot buttons’, places they frequent, networks they utilized, sources they trust.

Is an ‘one-size-fits-all’ tool (like LinkedIn, etc.) going to be as effective as a specialized tool? Again, probably not. Sure, a mass-market tool will get some responses – it’s mass-market, after all! But it is essentially ‘blind’ to the complexities of the specialized markets that most employers compete in – and in most cases, the mass-market tool doesn’t care about complexity. It’s all about volume. 

Here’s another thing about market complexity. Serving it is hard, not easy. To serve a complex market, you have to understand it at its own level. You can’t parachute in and suddenly understand how to speak the language and talk the talk of, say, travel nurses. Think you can? I can point you to dozens of failed start-ups that thought the same thing – but didn’t know their audience. Nothing can replace understanding of your specific market. 

Think of it this way: if you can’t be bothered to truly understand your specific market, how can you possibly serve it? Does it make more sense for an hourly employer to use a one-size-fits-all ATS – or a made-to-order ATS for hourly employers, such as what Snagajob offers? If you’re trying to solve a specific recruiting problem, why not use the tool that solves all of the problem, instead of maybe 50%?

So remember: market complexity in the recruitment industry is a good thing. Market complexity provides the opportunity for specific solutions – which can give you a long term competitive advantage. 

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jeff, thanks for this excellent post. I could not agree more. Market complexity is a good thing, and it’s imperative to understand your specific market to serve it well, at its own level, and to be able to “talk the talk.”

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