This is a response to a very interesting article published here, which discusses the ways in which job boards need to evolve to stay relevant, and avoid becoming the old-school media dinosaurs that they previously usurped.  

We live in very interesting times.

Differentiation is key. Recruitment agencies are coming to the realisation that in order to survive, they really need to highlight their strengths, and not pretend to be job boards. Visit the website of most mid-level recruiting firms, and you’ll get the distinct impression its simply another job board, with no hint of the identities of their current clients, or the market expertise offered by their recruiters. In fact most recruitment firms make a point of hiding the names of front-line recruiters, and never extol their virtues, for fear of losing them to competitors. NEWSFLASH: your competitors already know everything about your recruiters, and you’re simply keeping candidates in the dark.

Conversely, job boards are looking to deliver a more customised service to employers, and for the first time in a long time, actively seek to dis-intermediate recruitment agencies (their biggest clients). Personally I think this is a mistake. Not quite as big as the DWP :: Monster debacle however. (I’m seriously considering awarding a wooden NORA for the DWP job website, it’s so terrible). I would counsel job boards to instead make moves to get closer to employers, by ceasing the price differential to recruitment agency advertising, providing customised data-driven campaigns, and detailed stats on career paths of current and past employees from their CV database. Furthermore, they need to get much more intimate with jobseekers, and start delivering services which are far more user-friendly.

A policy of actively discouraging anonymous adverts would help, by placing ads with named employers at the top of search results, and even discount incentives for employer branded ads. Job boards need to drive out the anonymous job advert urgently, as it is responsible for shoddy content on their sites, and frustrates the hell out of candidates.

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Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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