Recently there was a post on ERexchange.com’s ER Forum that asked, “Given the capabilities of Google and Yahoo to index and localize content, will job seekers eventually just use their keyword search box to find job opportunities? Will Google’s new classified ad system called www.googlebase.com eventually do away with paid job listings?” Google has even started using their AdWords placements to promote job listings on GoogleBase.
I felt the need to respond to this, as despite all the hype, I unfortunately don’t see Google Base doing away with the big boards. We haven’t even done away with placing job ads in print, never mind doing away with the online boards that were supposed to replace print. (My company, EXCELER8, is completely online focused, but we understand that print still has value, and so will the Big Boards).
The ability for openings to be found in an organic search is a tremendous benefit no matter how you look at it and job seekers will continue to utilize search engines even more as time goes on. But, I think that this movement will serve only to force further innovation and cause all the players to offer better tools and content to stay relevant. I don’t think that search engines or RSS will outright squash any of the current online options in the very near future.
If you think about it from the candidate point of view – what is the difference between searching for a job on a search-engine-monster like Google or a niche search engine like Monster? Job seekers will search where ever jobs are, and recruiters will post where job seekers are.
Here are my thoughts on a few of the issues:
1- For the web savvy recruiter, using the Big Boards to post jobs has more than reached critical mass – but I am still surprised at the number of clients that have posted a few jobs on one board at most. Surprisingly few companies have a real understanding of internet recruiting. A posting even at the highest ticket price of $485 a pop, has a longer shelf life and is usually cheaper than running an ad in the local paper – but companies still do this in droves. Why? People are slow to adapt and change their behavior. Many Job seekers still look in the local paper and millions upon millions have now been trained to go to the huge brands – Monster, CareerBuilder and Yahoo! HotJobs to search jobs and add their resumes to the database. As long as there is a base of job seekers, no matter where they are, companies will advertise openings there.
2- While the continuum of internet recruitment experience is wide, most companies still do not understand nor do they have the human capital bandwidth to refine and optimize their corporate websites to effectively compete in the search engine race for premium positions. The introduction of the dotjobs top level domain name provides a direct route for job seekers (as well as search engines) to find a company’s job openings – but getting companies or job seekers to pay attention to this new opportunity and what it offers for search engine optimization, still has not even approached general adoption. (The gap between the HR dept and the IT dept is an even bigger divide).
3- Resume databases & email – I think that the big boards’ resume databases are one of their greatest strengths to leverage, especially now that they all offer the ability to email openings directly to job seekers in their database. HotJobs has the major advantage here, as they give companies access to the entire Yahoo! database of registered users – allowing companies to directly target and market themselves to all Yahoo users. Google (so far) does not provide an efficient way that most non-tech savvy recruiters can easily take advantage of to search for resumes or safely engage in email marketing.
4- Branding Opportunities – The boards all offer resume tools, interviewing advice, industry newsletters, and even social networking opportunities that ensure that their base of job seekers have reasons to continue to return to their sites other than just to search postings. This creates constant targeted branding opportunities that companies can easily grasp.