Job Board Journalist: the Perfection of Job Postings

Peter Weddle

Indeed recently announced that it is partnering with Ceridian, an HR software and services company, to add Indeed Apply to all of its job postings. The idea, of course, is to make it quick and easy for job seekers to apply for openings, thus generating more candidates for employers and more pay-for-performance income for Indeed.

It’s a smart strategy, given Google’s entry into the talent acquisition market. Google’s approach is to push job seekers who are interested in a job listed in the ads found in their search results back to the job board where the ad originally appeared. That could make Indeed – which used to call itself the “Google for jobs” – an afterthought for many job seekers and, of course, reinforce Google’s position as the Yoda of search.

Only time will tell which approach – Indeed’s or Google’s – will win out, but in many respects, the competition is irrelevant. Ease of use and speed have little or no impact on the behavior of top talent. What motivates them to apply for a new or better job can only be found in the job posting itself – in content, not functionality.

The times, they are a-changin’ …

From the outside (or the out-of-touch realms of the c-suite), recruitment looks like shooting fish in a barrel. A recent LinkedIn survey found that 90 percent of all workers would now consider a new job. Impressive as that figure is, an even higher 95 percent of the respondents to a 2010 Spherion Staffing Services survey reported a similar inclination. Whatever the correct number, it’s clear that a significant segment of the so-called “passive job seeker” population is fed up with their current job and ready to move to wherever the grass is greener.

So, why don’t they? Despite Indeed Apply, Apply With Monster, Apply With LinkedIn and other time and labor-saving features, most of that ready-to-go talent pool stays right where they are. Put 100 recruiters in a room and ask them to name their greatest challenge, and 98 will tell you it’s getting top talent to move. They “consider,” but don’t apply. They simply aren’t convinced, persuaded, or sold well enough to ditch their passivity and act.

Yes, yes, I know, we’ve long bemoaned the sorry state of job postings, and not much has improved. Recruiters are just too busy or ill trained or poorly motivated to take the time and make the effort to write a compelling ad. But, maybe just maybe, the timing is right to correct that deficiency. It will not happen, however, because of anything we in the online publishing industry have done. Job boards, job search engines, aggregators, social media sites and digital media companies have been leading that horse to water for a long time, and it’s never taken a sip. No, this shift to better job ads will be driven by two “outside” developments:
• The desire for professional advancement. SHRM recently surveyed its members and discovered that the largest single cohort was ta-dah … recruiters. Not comp and benefits pros, not HRIS specialists, not employee relations experts, but recruiters! And given the Association’s commitment to embedding its new certification program in the fabric of the profession, I suspect it won’t be long before it introduces job posting composition as a core competency of HR management.
• The advancing capability of technology. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will shortly power new products that can improve the quality of job postings. Smart machines are already taking over some aspects of journalism, for example, writing sports articles for publication, so it’s not a huge leap to think they will also be able to upgrade ads written by recruiters or, better yet, draft their own compelling ad copy. Think of it as the “writebot” analog to chatbots.

Do I think these developments will happen overnight? Of course not. But for the first time in a long time, I’m optimistic that we may begin to see job postings as sophisticated as the ads that appear in every other form of consumer messaging. And that’s what is most significant about this moment: the realization that job seekers – passive as well as active – are consumers, which leaves recruiters with no choice but to treat them that way.

Food for thought,
Peter

The Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle is brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2017 events include:
• September 27-29, 2017 Denver: The TAtech Fall Congress & Deal Center, with The World Job Board Forum and the 2017 ReSI Awards Gala.
• May 31-June 1, 2017 Minneapolis: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying, featuring two tracks: Programmatic Ad Buying Applications & Programmatic Ad Buying Technology. See you at next year’s Programmatic Summit!
• May 17-19, 2017 Barcelona: RecTech, The TAtech Industry Congress in the EU in partnership with the AIM Group. See you at next year’s RecTech in … Dublin!
• April 22-23, 2017 Chicago: The TAtech Spring Congress & Deal Center, with The Business Accelerator has now occurred. See you at next year’s Spring Congress in … Miami!

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