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The death of job boards and a few other rants

death of job boardsI am by nature a skeptic and contrarian. In general, these tendencies have served me well in my various careers. But they also can result in situations where I am surrounded by folks who are making big claims, and who then get unhappy if I ask questions or act less than enthused. Perhaps you yourself have been in similar circumstances?

Now, don’t get me wrong – I am hardly infallible. In fact, when Facebook launched, I remember saying to a colleague that it was one of the most idiotic things I had ever seen. Well, ok, I still hold that opinion, but I believe my follow-on sentence was, ‘They’ll be out of business in a year.’ Right. Score one for the Doctor, eh?

But…let’s talk about a few things that you can bring up the next time you see me that will guarantee a rant. Like:

  • The imminent death of job boards: Not a conference nor a month goes by where I don’t hear or read at least once about how job boards are fading because <insert recent news here>. CareerBuilder is laying off employees – so job boards are dying. Monster is sold – so job boards are dying. Indeed’s revenues jumped 53% – so job boards are…umm, wait, maybe that was a bad example? Right. The facts of the matter are: a) the industry is about $20 billion worldwide and growing; b) the term ‘job board’ is outdated and doesn’t really match up with many of the businesses and models; and c) the narrative is most often pushed by those who are trying to displace job boards – so a tale of death might work to their advantage. The bottom line is the industry today doesn’t look like it did 10 years ago – and it won’t look the same 10 years from now. But I have no doubt that employers will still be turning to companies like StackOverflow, Snag, CV Library, SEEK, and HigherEdJobs – among many thousands of others – to find, assess, and hire candidates.
  • Religion: No, not that kind! Religion as in: ‘I believe AI will revolutionize recruiting and eliminate recruiters’. Or ‘I believe Google for Jobs will eliminate the need for job boards or any other type of recruitment marketing’. Or…well, you get the drift. For every technology or tool that has arrived on the recruiting scene, there has also been a raft of ‘true believers’ who have a religious belief in how this tool or technology will overwhelm and rule the market. Sometimes a fundamental shift does occur (like mobile, for example) – but it rarely eliminates everyone in the market; instead, it reshapes or modifies how the market operates. Sometimes new opportunities open up. But eventually things settle down – and then the true believers have to move along in search of their next ‘religion’.
  • Technology: As I’ve written before, I like technology as much as the next person…but our industry’s obsession with using it to eliminate recruiters, interaction with the candidate, and every other ‘human’ action is silly. Technology has its place, but at its core, hiring is a very human process. We forget this at our peril.

Ok, enough ranting!  I suspect you have a few topics that set you off as well. Feel free to share them! And now you know exactly how to set me off at the next conference.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Hi Jeff

    Very sensible rants 🙂

    I have had such similar experiences for the 20 years I have been in the RecTech space (plus another 15 years as a recruiter)

    I could go back to one of my earliest slides at Resumix (which had some very cool and earth shattering AI tech……) which focussed on what I thought was our key win on the tech front for recruiters: Use the system to manage all of the recruitment administrivia (my made up word)

    In other words, use tech to do the stuff that recruiters and HR either hate or which is eating up their time, which could be focussed on doing the ‘human’ bits of recruitment

    To be honest, I have yet to see any better argument for using any recruitment/HR oriented technology. It never should have been about eliminating headcount or taking people out of the hiring process.

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