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Job boards are dying, AI, and other silliness

job boards are dyingHuh – job boards are dying? AI is the one and true religion? Is there one technology to rule them all?

I 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. <Insert name of job board> is sold – so job boards are dying. Indeed’s revenues dropped 40% – so job boards are…umm, wait, maybe that was a bad example? Right. The facts of the matter are: a) the industry is about $23 billion worldwide and growing; b) the term ‘job board’ is outdated and doesn’t really match up with many of the businesses and models; and c) the narrative is most often pushed by those who are trying to displace job boards –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 LinkedIn, Bayt, 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 programmatic, for example) – but it rarely eliminates or changes 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 silliness!  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.

Note: This post from 2018 required very little editing – it’s amazingly relevant for now!

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Jeff,
    Interestingly, this post remains as relevant today as it was in 2018—proving that while the tools may change, the conversation hasn’t. AI’s BS must be faced. We added a certified AI auditor to address bias and allow us to summarize messaging/results with a BS score.
    We just did a piece on influencers in the “Attention Economy.” Unmasking the fallacy of influencers with their #stupidAItricks is our next article. Doctor, yours was a breath of fresh air for challenging the overhyped narratives around AI and job boards, pointing out that no tool can replace human nuance in recruiting. Both you and my partner managed to cut through the noise with sharp insights, reminding us to question conventional wisdom and to keep the ‘human’ in human resources.

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