Recruiters are largely in agreement that the big job boards are in trouble, with Monster’s share price plummeting. Social networks, job aggregators and small specialist boards are proving stiff competition for the larger, generalist sites. Their search results of these sites are being called into question: are results relevant for their users? Are jobseekers finding the right jobs and are recruiters finding the right candidates? Attention and relevance are the key factors, which are both swinging in the favour of the competition.
Most large job boards offer the “what” and “where” searches. Typing in keywords and job titles alongside locations and post codes is the accepted function of job board searches. The real problem with these is not knowing the job titles an employer will use, the syntax they will employ and the chance of missing out on an excellent posting because you describe it differently.
Niche boards are enjoying more success in their specialised version of the larger rivals. Normally based on geographic or sector filters, they cater for a smaller but more specific market. One of the two standard searches are taken as a given, either the location or the industry. However, niche boards are only gaining their following as a result of the poor search functions of the larger boards and they stand to be blown out of the water if their rivals improve.
Job aggregators arrived quickly and had great success in a short space of time, with more than 30% of job searching in the US now coming from Indeed.com. Aggregators are great at the attention part of the search equation, offering a one-stop-shop in simple logic and putting paid to messy channels and complex search interfaces.
As for social networks and LinkedIn, they are currently being utilised to target the “passive job seeker.” Advertising to users in their “natural habitat” is a big weapon in the social network arsenal, targeting people who are primed and receptive to taking in online content. They also benefit from much more relevance, with your profile offering a lot of information about your lifestyle. Unfortunately, social networks are unlikely to welcome unpaid content and they won’t be able to keep members locked in.
The recruitment industry is changing rapidly, with both the game and the players evolving on a daily basis. With semantic search and matching technology becoming mainstream, the future is looking a little brighter for job boards than current reports might have us think.
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