The arrival of Google in the talent acquisition space is good for job boards. It’s a formidable competitor – there’s no doubt about that – but it could also be the stimulus for a change that’s long overdue among many employment sites. That single adjustment would do more than any other step they could take to improve both the value they deliver to corporate and staffing firm recruiters and their long-term profitability.
There’s been much hand-wringing of late about Google’s entry into the talent acquisition space. It’s all speculation, of course, but most of it has a justifiably ominous tone when addressing the future of job boards. Among the concerns is the projected impact of Google for Jobs on their current financial model. Joel Cheesman said it best:
“No ATS worth a damn is going to get left behind the Google for Jobs phenomenon. Doing so risks losing clients and failing to land new ones. Further, every ATS that gets on board poses a serious problem to every job board. Why? Because Google prefers showing searchers pages of original content [emphasis added]. Duplicate content is a big no-no in their world, so sending users to a company page, powered by an ATS, is preferred to a job board, which is typically an advertising medium for a posting, driving traffic back to an ATS.”
That’s absolutely true. Active job seekers – the ones who go to Google and look for this sales job in Montana or that HR job in Louisiana – will almost certainly be vectored back to an ATS-deployed company page and thus directly to the employer with the opening, instead of to an intermediary like a job board. It’s not happening now, but as Cheesman notes, there’s a very high probability that it will and probably in the not-too-distant future.
Does that mean it’s game over for job boards? No … but only if they change.
Original Talent Will Always Trump Original Content
Job boards have two choices. They can survive and even prosper with Google active in talent acquisition by evolving to meet the challenge it poses. They can adapt to the change in the marketplace and leverage it to their advantage. Or, they can stick their heads in the sand and set themselves up to become the dinosaurs some pundits say they are. They can pretend that there is no change, and be crushed by it.
What’s the evolution that’s required? They must stop basing their business model on a content strategy that simply recirculates the 23 percent of the workforce that is actively in transition. To put it bluntly, that pool of candidates is low hanging fruit and common to all. What Google doesn’t attract (at least right now) and therefore can’t vector to an ATS and its employer is uncommon candidates – the people typically described as “passive job seekers.”
As I detail in my book The Career Activist Republic, these people aren’t “job seekers” at all. They don’t see themselves that way and, most importantly, they don’t act that way. They aren’t seeking a job so they don’t search for one. They have to be reached and engaged using a different method.
I fully acknowledge that making such a statement is a lot easier than actually implementing it, and in truth, I know of no site that has actually cracked the code. The one that does, however, will have the advantage of being the first mover in the market and likely transform it as much as others predict Google will.
How can that be?
Because the site that transforms itself into a genuine source of passive talent will have a high value mathematical advantage. There are undisputedly A and B level performers among the 23 percent of the workforce actively in transition, but mathematically, there are three times as many of those top performers among the 77 percent who are passive. They are original talent in the labor market.
Google for Jobs won’t reach them (at least as it’s currently deployed), and yet, they are the “rare earth employees” employers increasingly crave. Just as rare earth minerals are critical to optimizing the efficiency and performance of advanced technology, rare earth employees ensure the peak operation of modern enterprises. Making them the content found on a job board, therefore, is not only an original strategy, it is a business model virtually guaranteed to produce bottom line success.
Food for thought,
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.
• March 13-14, 2018 Dublin, Ireland TAtechEurope 2018, The TAtech Industry Congress in Europe – the premier event for recruitment technology thought & business leaders worldwide.
• April, 2018 in Las Vegas: The TAtech Spring Congress & Deal Center. See the 2017 conference details here.
• June 5-6, 2018: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying. See the 2017 conference details here.