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Saying versus doing – what Google, LinkedIn, and Indeed are really telling us

saying versus doingAs a mentor of mine often told me, ‘It’s not what they say, it’s what they do.’ She was trying to help me in my efforts to be a better salesperson – but her observation holds for the job board industry these days. It’s always better to compare what the big guys are saying versus doing. Today we have three wonderful examples, courtesy of LinkedIn, Indeed, and Google.

First up: Indeed. The world’s largest job board just announced that it is opening up its video interviewing service – called, amazingly enough, Indeed Interview – to all employers posting jobs, whether they are paid or free postings. Following the classic Indeed playbook, the service is now free. I suspect that once enough employers are ‘hooked’ on using the service, it will become a paid option. At least, that is the usual progression for the company.

So why is Indeed doing this now? First, video interviewing – after a very long, slow period of trying to get employers’ attention – is now suddenly relevant, thanks to the pandemic. There is truly a need for employers, who had long been hesitant about the technology, to actually use it in the hiring process. Score one for the virus! Second, as mentioned above, I suspect Indeed sees a revenue opportunity, and is willing to see how that plays out. Finally, Indeed is – in case you forgot – the biggest job board in the world (if you don’t count Google, I guess). Thus, it bears the burden of staying on top. Like Monster before it, Indeed must continually justify its importance to employers – and the easiest way to do that is to add features. Never mind that these features – such as screening questions and candidate resumes – have been around for literally decades. Dress them up a bit, pound away in the messaging, and voila! Indeed is cutting edge, again.


Well, ok. What about LinkedIn, the largest professional network and maybe 2nd largest job board in the world? What are they doing? Well…they’re getting scraped. Not once, not twice, but three times! That’s just in the last four months, by the way. The unnamed perpetrators are selling names, email addresses, links to user social accounts, and other data from the LI profiles. LinkedIn’s stern response? “Our teams have investigated a set of alleged LinkedIn data that has been posted for sale. We want to be clear that this is not a data breach and no private LinkedIn member data was exposed,” LinkedIn said. “When anyone tries to take member data and use it for purposes LinkedIn and our members haven’t agreed to, we work to stop them and hold them accountable.” That’s telling them!

Wouldn’t it make more sense to simply block the scraping? After all, every scrape generates ugly headlines for the company. Well, LinkedIn is trying – but the matter is tied up in the courts. So in the meantime, this big job board is simply saying a lot – but not doing much.

Finally, Google. When the Google job posting schema landed a few years back, it held the promise of making job search easier for Google users – and for helping job boards and career sites get visibility that had previously been blocked by Indeed’s SEO prowess. Instead of see pages of job search results dominated by Indeed listings, the user would see a ‘blue box’ of search results from both employers and job sites that had implemented the Google schema. In fact, since then, Google has been relatively quiet – until now. The schema has been revised, and now includes a directApply property that – if the job postings meets certain standards – allows the candidate to apply directly for the job. No hoops, redirects, or games. This seems like a win for the candidate – but maybe not so much for aggregators, certain job boards, and spammers. What are the ‘certain standards’? Well, you can’t have non-existent or spammy jobs on your site; you can’t ask the candidate for a bunch of non-relevant information (beware, ATSs!); you can’t leave old job posts up for months after they’ve been filled; and your job should be ‘fresh’ – not a repost from 1999. Needless to say, this is all new – and I suspect will be subject to change over the coming months.

So what does this change by Google mean? First of all, I think they really are trying to improve the candidate job search experience. As you know, I have been around long enough to be deeply cynical about all of the big company doings – but this is a logical next step of what they started with the original schema. Remember – what they do, not what they say! Second, this could very well either hurt ATS-driven applications – or improve them. If Google starts penalizing all of the companies with 45 page ATS applications, maybe the companies will actually change. That would be a good thing. Finally, it once again seems to reward good job board behavior – and penalize bad job board behavior. I can’t argue with that.

Wonder what they’ll be saying versus doing next? I’ll be watching!

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