Job board futurology…

I have been thinking a lot about job boards recently, as both a customer and a jobseeker.   In these socially enabled times, it strikes me that the job board user experience should be something like this:

Jobs are displayed in easy on the eye tag clouds, instead of ordered lists we know are manipulated by the recruitment organisations who post them.  Jobs are highlighted to me by other job seekers and I can rank them by most viewed, highest rated or user defined tags.  It’s a visual experience, not a data driven one.

I can tag each job myself, just like I can currently tag the rest of my social life – my pictures, my bookmarks and so on – knowing that all my fellow jobseekers are doing the same.  This rich user tagging is doing a way better job of delivering me relevant jobs than the job board search facility can.

What’s more, I can connect with my social friends on the site, directly, along with other job seekers whom I don’t know. Yet.  The feature that flags the profiles of people who are also looking for a job in my specialism or area takes care of that.

It introduces me to others in the community who also happen to be looking for a job in the same area as me. We can swap notes, compare opportunities, give advice and extend our job-seeking network.  And of course, make some life long friends along the way.

I feel in control here. I can help others by tagging and categorising jobs; I can point them in the direction of an interesting opportunity.  Duplicates are flagged, as are those that are really not jobs at all.  Most importantly I trust the quality of what I’m seeing – top jobs and companies, collated, curated and rated by my peers.

And of course, when I’m not in job mode, I’m still here.  I’m just plain old me, logging on, tuning in and generally hanging out in this great place.  Which happens not to be a jobboard at all.  It’s my community.  My online destination of choice, my professional or personal online network that just happens to have great career and job seeking support built in.

But it isn’t like that at all is it?  Despite all of the above features being common across many social platforms, they are notable by their absence from the traditional job seeking arena.

Most job boards seem to be struggling with the concept of social and how to fit it into their business model. Some are trying squeeze a bit of social into their existing offering – through social sharing for example – but that’s about as sophisticated as it gets.  Others are adding content, primarily job board generated, in an attempt to create dialogue and add value.  Unfortunately this socialising of the existing touch-points often looks clumsy.

In looking to the future, job boards should perhaps consider embracing their audience more widely, at the same time relinquish control over what they currently see as most important asset – their inventory.  The jobs.

Until they do this, they will never transfer the asset value from inventory (jobs which are being sold ever cheaper and which have been commoditised.) to what they are all talking about trying to become (or desperately want to be)… the community.

Job boards should, as a minimum, allow 2 things:

  • User tagging and categorising of jobs
  • User rating of jobs

This approach has several advantages:

You move from taxonomy to folksonomy.  Users search and categorise jobs on their own terms, using their own instinctive natural language and criteria

You get great insight. User rating and tagging provides great insight into habits, preferences and market perceptions.

You give the user increased flexibility. Jobs can ranked by ‘most shared’ or ‘highest rated’ a behavioural/experience trend that is growing elsewhere in users online lives.

So are we likely to see a ‘socialisation’ of job boards any time soon?  Not if their own research is anything to go by.  According to one job board I spoke to recently, their research had shown that “candidates do not want to be social in the job seeking environments like job boards because they see each other as competition for the jobs.”

Sorry but I’m not convinced.  One look at twitter and chats such as #hirefriday and #jobhuntchat demonstrates the desire of jobseekers to come together and support each other socially.

But this is the problem with customer research.   As Henry Ford once said:

“If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted they would have told me a faster horse.”

Indeed, the authors of the book Blue Ocean Strategy also singled out customer research as a hindrance to innovation:

“Conducting extensive customer research is not the path to blue oceans.  Customers can scarcely imagine how to create uncontested market space.  Their insight tends towards the familiar – “offer me more for less”.  And what customers typically want ‘more’ of are those product and service features that the industry currently offers.”

Perhaps in the future, there won’t or shouldn’t be jobsites per se.  At best they bring together active jobseekers, not the passive professional everyone wants their ‘talent community’ stocked with.  And jobseekers don’t stick around long enough to drive any sustainable long-term ‘community’ value.   Job found, job done.  Community disengagement!  Until the next time I need a job.

Surely the future lies in a place where I’m going to be an on-going, constantly interacting member, not a toe dipping passer by?  And that’s the point – jobs and careers should simply be elements – plug in’s if you like – of a wider community of interest or special interest group.  And it’s that wider interest set and its social interaction that drives the value, not the inventory.


  1. Gareth,

    It wasn’t TJ you spoke to by any chance was it? They are firmly ensconced in the 20th century!

    I agree with this utopian view of yours but the worry is that it is just that. Like you I have seen no desire from the boards, to do anything other than they have done for years. They have made their millions by doing what they want to do, not really considering the user experience. They don’t want change. They don’t want social.
    I heard last week that one of the biggest global boards are terrified of social because of the damage it will do to their bottom line.
    Why do they fear social? Why don’t they try and embrace it like you suggest?
    Social isn’t going to kill job boards – the job boards will do that to themselves by simply not recognising change quick enough.

    I am looking forward to your job board report Gareth, just to see the reality of where job boards really are at in terms of performance.

    Job boards need job seekers. Job seekers don’t necessarily need job boards.

    When will they get that message and realise the 21st century job space is changing……. and fast?



    1. Difficult to know! This is one of classic situations where the industry can see something coming but wont embrace it. Although i fail to see why – not only is it possible for them to implement, it fits in so nicely.

      It will be interesting to see what response i get from the jobboards!


  2. I like the ideas you propose. As a recruiter myself it would be valuable to see which jobs are being tagged as well as being able to gain info from the communities on employers and companies. That is probably the reason this won’t happen.

    I believe that job boards are largely used as a marketing tool to get companies the google list, to drive traffic to their website rather than thinking too much about the end user and so won’t require then to become social.

    We can live in hope though! @NatalieJayW


    1. Thanks for the comment Natalie. We can indeed live in hope! I think there is definitely something in what you say about marketing and driving traffic but that still doesnt stop the user tagging and the jobboard creating a more social experience. Watch this space!


  3. A good addition to the “Future of Jobsboards” debate here Gareth, and some great thoughts. I particularly agree with user tagging, which should perhaps be extended to tagging of companies themselves within that community. I often look at the many hundreds of thousands of keyword query strings being entered by users into searches and saved search profiles on the sites we host, and the variety of terminology in there will never cease to amaze.

    Advanced semantic understanding systems, as well as natural language technology can go some way to help, but are usually both expensive to buy and often expensive to maintain. A user based tagging system such as used on Flickr, Youtube etc, would indeed be a great alternative. Especially as all too often the original job post came from a recruiter without specific knowledge within that domain. As a far out thought – perhaps even adding some kind of recognition, thank you email, or even small cash bonus if the tagging a user added for a job was what specifically led to it being found in a search and a candidate being placed from it. There are many reasons of course why users do actually contribute such as tagging on sites, and my gut feel is that cash may only entice those to try their luck who don’t actually know the subject matter. Therefore simple recognition and a “top contributer” status on the homepage may be enough..

    Anyway – great thoughts!


    1. Flickr was one of the examples i had in my head when i wrote this post. Letting go of the need to control the tagging is fundamental but its completely alien to the recruitment industry who like to control everything it seems. But i dont see it as damaging and could even relieve them of a huge ongoing burden.

      Good point also about users knowing the job categorisation better than the recruiters – even more reason to hand off the responsibility.

      Cash bonus? lol not sure about that one! Thanks for reading and commenting.


      1. Yeah, far out thought as I said – and then thought better. 🙂 Key point is that recognition and status within a community is a key driver for anyone to engage, whatever the community is focused around. I’d say job and company tagging may be no different, if indeed the site/service is built in such a way that does actually allow community to develop.


    2. “, if indeed the site/service is built in such a way that does actually allow community to develop.”

      Coudln’t have put it better myself. They need to be the above – a community not a jobboard – to make it work. All the other more important ingredients need to be there first.

      We talk a lot about talent communities, but in my mind this is a misnomer. If you have a thriving online (And offline lets not forget) community that comes together around a common interest, where members are connecting fully and frequently, with respect and trust – that place will already house more talent than you can shake a stick at. Building a ‘talent community, or trying to, as a destination in its own right just wont work, for reasons too detailed to put here.

      And why would you anyway, if the above existed. You just need access – trusted access. If the host just happens to be an end client, or group of clients then even better. As long as they don’t forget this community’s purpose is to engage and grow conversation around the subject at hand – not careers or jobs.

      In my mind, that’s the biggest thing the jobboards and others involved in resourcing strategies, including in house teams, have to get their head around.


  4. Hi Gareth – enjoyed the post. Indeed, I posted on my blog about
    Amazon as a job board – I too am currently looking for a new role.

    The point I was making there was that job boards could learn a lot about user experience from the likes of Amazon. My interest is also in the role of content to engage job seekers – here I think there is an opportunity to help jobseekers by putting relevant data (on searches, for example) in front of the user. There is also a huge opportunity to provide relevant and timely job search advice.

    As for community, I think this is where job seekers can get real insights into what it is required to land certain jobs. This could tap into forums that are connected to companies/professional bodies. Boards have a great opportunity here to shift company profiles into social arenas for jobseekers to talk jobs and careers with that employer.

    Re tagging. You might be interested in the book Everything is Miscellaneous.


    1. Hi Martin. Yes, a good analogy with Amazon. Certainly the user experience lessons are out there already and are successful, yet we see so little of it in practice in our industry. But then its an industry that doesnt like to invest, and stands still as long as it makes money! It is also afraid of the feedback i think. Thanks for the book recommendation – ill check it out! Thanks for stopping by.


  5. Interesting topic Gareth. My initial thought was, that this could be difficult, as you would need to protect privacy for both the candidates and any potential CV database subscriber. Then I thought through the issues that I had with job boards. Poorly written, badly classified adverts adverts and two things came to mind.

    The first, that this may improve the classification of adverts, as jobs tagged as ‘relevant’ could be moved up to the top of searches and actually be re-aligned based on the classification. This would improve search, which is a good thing.

    Secondly, that this could provide great feedback for recruiters who write bad adverts. It would be a bit like getting your homework back, at school, with a big F, for fail. In my previous life it would have helped me when training consultants how to write adverts.

    I think there are people out there who are interested in developing a ‘social’ job board as I’ve spoken to several over the years, but they simply haven’t had the resources to pay someone to develop it. Many I spoke to had great ideas, but no money, so this leaves it the hands of the established brands or those with deep pockets or time and skills to develop it.

    Jobsite seem to have the stomach to do this, so I’m watching Mervyn to see how their community develops.



    1. Hi David. thanks for the comment. In my mind this is the only way to go. The model of turning over the ‘management’ or ‘curating’ the data is well proven elsewhere but not in this industry. As you say, the insight alone would be worth a huge amount to all parties.

      I dont understand though how money can be the barrier – there are always job sites popping up all over the place – if they have the funds to do an old style job board they have the funds to build it a new way. Instead its the same old guff. I appreciate its a big step for the bigger players, but sometimes the answers are not in spending $$$ on controlling everything. Pass it over to the user – they know better!

      Re Jobsite, i guess we will see. Appointing Mervyn was definitely a move in the right direction but so far its only about generating value added content and a bit of engagement around it. There is a long way to go yet. I guess from my side the jury is still out. A lot depends on what the likes of Felix and Keith think and whats on the strategic plan for them. If they dont get it then Mervyn’s efforts will only go so far.

      It will be interesting to see how much room they give him. He is SM savvy and if they are clever they will let him have his head.

      Thanks for commenting.


  6. Gareth,

    Love, Love, Love this! I think this is absolutely the way forward but yet again we’re going to see first hand whilst it won’t. Recruitment is an industry that possess almost zero innovation. Recruitment businesses are not run by great innovators or entrepreneurs, instead they are run by ex-recruitment consultants who in almost all cases take their clients with them. Recruitment in the UK acts as an incubator for the disease of complacency.

    Some industries allow for great, inspiring ideas to come along and ‘change’ the market, force improvement, make individuals consider there are other ‘ways’ or ‘methods’. Recruitment has laid on its laurels for so long and has kept the ones that live off the back of it (job boards) firmly with it. The job boards are detached from the end game, they don’t care about user experience, quality, engagement, they care only about numbers, hits and volume. Recruitment, in around 99% of cases is not driven by volume its driven by quality (maybe crowd control at Glastonbury is more numbers than quality for the temp agency!) and a way of allowing users to communicate with their peers is a truly great idea.

    Sadly, however, I don’t see that delivery fitting in with any current offerings. Reed have overhauled their online model only recently, Monster have recently spent about a gazillion dollars on their new search algorithms that seem to produce exactly the same results as the last ones and quite simply their business model works for them, I guess that when someone is brave enough to create not only a new job board, but in fact a whole new ‘industry’ then we’ll begin to see the change we clearly crave!

    As a person who recruits great jobs for great companies (Luxury Goods, Fashion, Retail…) I’d love to see my job get user generated reviews – Firms like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Burberry need to be at the top of the list over a mobile phone shop, or a work from home for $500 a day job – recruiters like us have worked hard to nurture these relationships and require a quality outlet to drive quality traffic. Imagine a candidate being able to search for jobs that matches a minimum of user generated comments, likes or ticks?

    So, who’s got £500,000 spare?


    1. Hi James, thanks for commenting – great thoughts as usual! It does seem that our industry acts as an innovation repellant doesn’t it?! Its so short sighted but then for most of the time the players are making money and they dont see any need to change.

      And on the dirty subject of money, you dont need £500,000 these days. You can do a lot with a lot less. And also, longer term, the ‘user engaged, folksonomy’ model would be cheaper and have way more credibility, likely driving up revenues. Whats not to like about that??!


  7. Nice thoughts, but the analysis is worng on so many levels in my opinion. Again this is people creaming in their pants over the idea of being “social” without thinking through the practicalities.

    The number of unemployed people is steadily increasing and is likely to do so. If I am unemployed do I really want to help other people by flagging a job vacancy? Human nature would suggest not. In fact, I might actually try to dissuade people from applying to keep the field down. Sad, but true. People might be interested in offering support, or passing on vacancies that they know of that are not applicable to them (the content of the Twitter chats that you mention) but other than that….

    If I am an employer, do I want to let people rate my jobs? Well if I am a premium brand then maybe yes, but most organisations aren’t. So what is the incentive for me? What do I get out of it? Other than brownie points from the social brigade….

    As for hanging out on a job site when I am not looking for a job, do you really think that for the ordinary punter that is a interesting concept? Why log on to Facebook or Twitter or YouTube when I can log onto

    Finally, you suggest that consumer insight isn’t important and can often reduce innovation. It isn’t the be all and end all no, but quite frankly anyone that thinks they know their customers better than they know themselves is destined for failure. Sure there are times when you need to break the mould, I get that. But let us say that the job site has properly done its research….well maybe they are right and you’re wrong?

    To end on a high, I think your point about job sites losing their relevance is probably right……but a long, long way off. And any replacement would have to find a way of monetising the model……not so easy in the social world.

    Nice thoughts, but for me this is another example of style over content in the world of those people obsessed with social and not grounded in reality…..


    1. lol well thank you for that Theo. But this is another example of you getting so hot under the collar you are not actually reading the post properly. My post clearly states that job seekers WILL NOT want to hang around on a job site when not looking for a job – thats the point i was making. Therefore, the best places to find talent and engage in the future is in a site of special interest or an online community that already has interested members interacting around a subject of interest – not jobs!

      You might indeed try and dissuade people from applying for jobs but only those people who dont really get social and have a self confidence issue tend to feel like that. 😉

      Re employers, you may well not want to advertise your jobs on the site if they are going to be rated but pretty soon you wont have a choice cos its coming. And anyway, are you really that naive to think that they are not already? You really think that by not allowing rating you are pulling the ‘brand wool’ over anyones eyes? Come on…

      And as for consumer insight, i stand by what i said and by what the outcomes of the likes of blue ocean thinking leads to. Some insight is good but it can just keep you swimming in the same old pool.

      And why would the monetisation be any different for a more social job board?! I dont think you will find anywhere in my post a reference to giving the job posting away free?! But then again, you didnt read it properly did you..?

      Read it again sir, this time with your glasses eh?!


      1. Not hot under the collar at all, just baffled…….

        “It strikes me that the job board user experience should be something like this……..

        ……..And of course when I’m not in job mode, I’m still here. I’m just me, logging on, tuning in, generally hanging out, in this great place.”

        Your words. I read your post. Did you?



  8. Interesting and nicely frank points HRD. I agree in that there can be a tendency to get over excited with social and how it’s going to change everything, but the fact is it IS going to change quite a lot – just that no-one is 100% sure what yet. Hence we are most definitely entering – if not in – a social-networking led tech investment bubble at the moment. The point for me here is that jobsboards as they are will always have a place for the purely active candidate (recently unemployed, pissed off with current work, or just going through lifestlye changes like a location move etc..). There are some nice points here about how the currently problematic search methods could be improved by user-generated tagging, but in a pure active-only candidate environment, you may be right about users not getting too involved (although I suspect many still will tag up out of a simple need to make right something that’s clearly wrong – not everyone is quite so competitively minded first and foremost).

    Where things are changing though I think is that “Talent Communities” are finally being discussed and coming to fruition, and participation is becoming more the norm for average professionals. These are often not however purely recruitment focused and I suspect those that really deliver good talent will be platforms that are purely interest led communities that have intelligently (and crucially NON-INVASIVELY) build on both professional profile building functionality, and targeted jobs functionality. As early movers in this space, LinkedIn is an obvious example, but I’ve also seen good things starting to come out of StackOverflow in a tech related sense. As another example – where did I go when I wanted to find a good photographer for wedding a few years ago? Flickr – where not only do really passionate masters of their craft hang out, but they also share and rate on each others work, which made it pretty easy for me to find and communicate with a great photographer.

    These Talent Communities have of course in truth been around in one form since the earliest days of the internet. As good tech recruiters have always known, one good place to go to find good highly technical candidates has always been the tech forums, or even IRC chat rooms. What we are seeing now is this online congrating and public sharing of ideas and expertise outside of the pure tech sectors. Also as mentioned before, there is increasing use of online professional profiles which in turn allow both searching by employers and highly targetted job ads to be displayed. For me a lot of job moves of the future will become the result of the perfect job finding YOU while you were going about your business talking about your work or your passion in a relevant online space. I know of two friends for whom EXACTLY that has happened just recently, via LinkedIn.

    So.. a lot of success for job>jobseeker matchups of the future will rely on a content, discussion and community FIRST approach. Unless you are targeting only the active candidates, in which case there’s nothing much wrong with a traditional jobsboard approach as such, with some tweaks and improvements here and there. But if a lot more jobseekers find the perfect job whilst in “passive” mode, then the audience visiting those jobsboards may just start to dwindle a bit…..

    Although in truth I suspect the boundaries will blur – some jobsboards will go further than others and do better than others. Some will plough more money into mass advertising and remain successful on the back of that by pulling in “active passive” curious users.

    Interesting times…


  9. Theo,

    Hi there, I’m James…nice to meet you.

    I think you raise a decentish point, but you’re failing to miss a point in your assessment of online users and the experience. People browse the internet, they enjoy interacting with people as they do in the real world. Opening debate (like this) I mean, this website offers me nothing, I am a humble glorified rec con with some basic level opinions, yet I take time out of my manic day to write a view on here, this is what people do – we recommend people on LinkedIn, we write reviews on dining experiences on TopTable or we write an opinion on a B&B on TripAdvisor.

    It’s the new type of user, the one that shares their music lists on Ping or adds their two pennies on a conversation on a # on Twitter.

    I am not sure how you engage the passive job seeker, but I like what is being said, and I do agree with Gareth that the opinion that you’ve shared on here is typical of the anti-progression debate within the recruitment industry. Gareth raises some fantastic points that are not being listened to by the people in the know, and referring back to how this blog post existed from the LinkedIN debate on the job board/agency/direct employer route. I had a meeting recently with a media owner who shared that his company alone in 2010 directed £100,000,000 worth of sales to I think if you’d have asked the Head of Direct Sales for British Airways 10 years ago if the internet would drive £100m worth of ticket sales he’d have said you were mental.

    That’s exactly the kind of mind shift job boards need to change. I also referred to Michael Page having 623 ‘likes’ on Facebook and 808 followers on Twitter – an utter insult to the modern world we work in – ignore technology, ignore its advances, ignore its opportunities and I really hope that someone some where comes along (with Andy H in tow) to really kick the backsides of these lazy (inglorious) Bas***ds who sit there singing the same tune for day after day, week after week, month after month….

    Oh, and remember ‘It isn’t Luck, It’s’

    Beg to differ…..


  10. An interesting debate to be sure…

    A few comments:

    1. Brands (whether they be recruiting, engaging or flogging product) are in danger of turning consumers off with trampling all over their (and if this is web 2.0 then it is their) social networks. Asking for tagging of everything, opinion on everything when cynical consumers are getting smarter and smarter at seeing through this. Also, with recent backlash around TripAdvisor I’m not sure the model carries straight over…

    2. For me this is about integration of content within social to allow user self selection and increase relevance. I heard someone earlier talk about “it’s easier to serve it to them rather than let them come to us”, whilst this was in a different context it seems to have a place here

    3. I disagree that ‘premium’ brands i.e. Gucci, should sort higher than a mobile phone shop as this seems to me quite a leap in assuming the needs of your consumer

    4. And as for blue ocean [it was a shame that Gareth only managed to mention that and didn’t get a ‘Good to Great’ reference in here] I think the real power is in a complimentary approach – yes Toyota made Prius before the consumer was ever thinking about hybrid but at the same time Combi boilers came straight from voice of the customer.

    5. It’s wine o’clock so enough of this recruitment nonsense…


    1. Rob,

      Point 1 – people dont tag for brands, they tag for themselves, the slightly greater good! People are not cynical about Flickr. Pure rating model is meaningless – agreed. Without validation its not that robust, but it can work.

      Point 2 is spot on – an my conclusion is that that means a job board has to become a ‘place where you are at’ which they are not right now and wont ever be i dont think because i dont see job sites as humming communities. It is indeed about integrating the content if you want to call it that, within a social environment.

      Point 3, I think James point was that the brands ‘should’ be up the top as the user would rate them and tag them due to their popularity, not a manipulation to put them at the top regardless. And it depends how you define ‘the top’. If a company is crap, it will probably attract that kind of tagging. If i want luxury, i might use tags like ‘luxury and cool’ – cant do that right now!

      Point 4 – good to great – there i said it! I dont reference many book because most are garbage and like sky – full of repeats! They happen to be two of the best in terms of a combination of research and original thinking 😉 Share the love Robert! The Prius? That car should have been called the ‘Guilt’! thats not innovation – we have been perfecting the hybrid for decades! And im still not sure the consumer wants it lol

      Point 5 – Almost the most sensible part of your answer :O! Just kidding! 😉


    2. Rob,

      I think the mention of TripAdvisor was more of an idea, and there are many other examples that can be used to point to sites that take peoples views and opinions. Maybe we could change this, and rather than tag a job, why don’t we allow job seekers to review agencies? OK, I know we’re all going to get scared about the one candidate on the war path, but if we need to ‘open up’ recruitment we need to let candidates more involved in the actual process.

      Recruitment is an incredibly closed industry, the elusive ‘My client, a leading xyz’ and ‘World leading business…’ do not help the candidate. We live in a world now of opinion and engagement and interaction and our industry seems to sit on the fence saying ‘well we’ve done it like this for 20 years and it hasn’t hurt us so far…’

      I also completely agree with your point 3 above. Job sites need great jobs, amazing brands, sexy companies – this drives traffic. A job site full of shit jobs from shit companies isn’t going to break Google’s record for day traffic, but job sites are part aspirational they are about engaging people and delivering their next career step – Imagine going onto, how many people check out the £5,000,000 properties in the area for a laugh? I think we’ve all done it at some point… A brand like Nike, Selfridges, BMW, Ferrari, Microsoft are companies that people want to work for, they don’t want to work for ‘A leading company xyz’ Why do job sites (i.e. Total Jobs) fill their home page with ‘Brand names’? – Current Brands include ‘Simply Health’, ‘Thorntons’ and ‘Argos’ this is better than ABC Appointments or DEF Staffing its clear that big brands drive traffic and if that’s the business model we’re on I would be giving away job slots to companies like that in the hope that more people visit my job site…


  11. I have to say I agree with a lot of what Gareth Jenkins says…I’m in no way suggesting that there won’t be change, but I think that the change will not be in the way that Jonesy has suggested. James (good to meet you too) I’m not anti progressive in anyway, just because I don’t agree with this chain of comments, doesn’t therefore mean that I believe in the status quo…there can be different versions of the future.

    If you want my opinion, or even if you don’t, if the social agenda brings anything to the table I think it is an opportunity for organisations to disintermediate third party recruiters and to engage directly with both active and passive job seekers. But it is just a medium, one of many.

    As for comparisons, yes people do interact openly on Twitter etc. and you’re right that there is no vested interest. But that is exactly the point…. The difference with a job candidate is that there IS a vested interest. That changes the dynamic. We can review on Amazon or TopTable, but (within reason) there is an infinite supply so as an individual there is no opportunity cost in me sharing. Jobs are not infinite, in this climate, far from it….in honesty the comparison is more likely to be eBay. But I suspect that will open me up to a whole host of smart arsed comments!


    1. Whats wrong with ebay?! Its a great comparison. There you go – a little effort and you are starting to show a bit of creativity. Good for you… 😉


  12. Hi All,

    Like all the comments, the debate, the “have you got your glasses on” BUT one big concern – many job seekers actually don’t use job boards… they go to a thing called a newspaper and look for a job.

    We are in great danger of becoming to engrossed in our own “techo -echo – chamber”.

    What do you seekers want when they go to a job board – real simple and all the research around the world I see says this;

    1) A Job

    2) Ideally a real job with a real company but if not then a job.

    3) An easy to apply process

    4) Leave my CV and someone please come and find me

    5) Set up a jobs by email.

    MOST don’t want or arn not interested in peer reviews, most in UK have never heard of Glassdoor.

    They come to a job board to find if possible lots and lots of job i.e. choice. The big five boards still drive more niche traffic than the niche/specialist boards – why because the big five have lots and lots of jobs.

    Now coming from me this is rich -I love change, I want innovation but reality is the Job Boards deliver what the “current candidate wants” – will that change as a new generation enter the labour market – we will see.

    But Andy is right “cash and profit is king” and these guys know this and invest in research, marketing and traffic to get it right.

    The real issue is “Who Owns the Candidate and Data” that is the real war and it’s being fought right now.

    My rant.


    1. Thank you keith for bringing us back to reality! There are a lot of jobseekers that do not visit sites as you say. But whilst most dont want or are not interested in peer reviews now, thats not to say that this wont change. And regarding your comment – the job boards delivering what the candidate wants, well its the client who pays is it not?!

      And whilst the big guys drive more traffic than the niche boards, this is not necessarily a good thing! Not if you are a recruiter sitting on the end of the gushing pipe of candidates. I think the model needs to change, and im speculating what might be interesting to see. Im not suggesting a panacea at all, but simply thinking laterally. 25 years ago there were an awful lot of people who said the iThat desktop computers would never catch on, 15 years ago they said the internet is bollocks, that it will never fly! 12 years they were saying email would never be used widely!


    2. Keith,

      I think you raise a number of really valid points with this, but I think to allow this to prohibit advancement in methodology is missing a trick. Recruitment has, and always will be about finding the elusive candidate, whether they are a job seeker or not. The passive job seeker has for generations been the Holy grail, and current websites do not allow for a passive job seeker to ‘connect’.

      You see, there is a psychological part of becoming a job seeker, your current role has become ‘that’ bad that the only thing left to do is to put together your CV and to in effect ‘cheat’ on your current employer – you the know the employer who has supported you through the recession, the company that kept you working when it probably should have made some redundancies, a company that paid you when it was losing contracts. To venture into the job seeker world is a big thing, and current job sites do not allow for that – they want numbers, volumes, CVs, people, applications – there is no where for an impartial review of possible options that may be open to said passive job seeker.

      What Gareth is suggesting is engaging people who are committed to their ‘career’, their development and career advancement. Interestingly, LinkedIn was never aimed as a recruitment tool, hence why it is constantly evolving now over 50% of its revenues come from recruitment related services. But still, it is not a career related site, its an add-on. Why does LinkedIn not ask for more information, ‘yes, I’ll allow approaches for X job, Y job, or Z job’ instead it says by default ‘Career Opportunities’.

      I think we need to think more about candidate experience and not engulf ourselves with what we ‘experts’ think.


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