Online Job Sites Battle for Share

Not so long ago, there were four pillars of the distribution channels for jobs

  • Placement agencies – the middleman who connected the job seeker with the hiring company for a fee usually paid by the latter. There were career management companies – whatever happened to Haldane? – that charged the candidate to get them placed. Agencies focused on
    • permanent or contract positions
    • contingency or retained searches
  • HR Recruiting department – in house recruiters who received unsolicited resumes. If you had a well known brand, people sent resumes to your HR Recruiting department. But the flood of resumes meant that each resume seldom got the attention to deserve the expense on paper and stamp.
  • Networking - the good old network has always been and always will be a reliable distribution channel. You know someone who knows someone who knows of an opening or a candidate.
  • Print advertising - this was the primary means of getting the information about a job to the candidate and getting a resume in response. These help wanted ads appeared in local and national newspapers/magazines/rags. Both hiring companies and placement agencies used them to get candidates to apply to their job opening

Each of these pillars has been shaken and molded by the internet. This article focuses on the last one – job advertising. – followed by Hotjobs and Careerbuilder and tens of thousands of others – changed the way people got jobs. Hiring companies posted their jobs online and candidates responded with resumes through email. Alternatively, candidates posted their resumes online and companies could search the database to get to the right candidate and contact them.

This business model has worked well for over a decade. It has its limitations that are being exposed and exploited by others. Primarily, the issue is ease of search. But the bigger issue of “making the connection” has always been dominated by networking and always will be. – and other mega job sites - has millions of jobs. It has done a good job providing ease of search using categorizing. But the search technology’s limitations are evident:

1) Hiring companies’ jobs got lost in the millions posted online. They are either buried in a pile or appear in the wrong one

2) Candidates have difficulty getting to a suitable job opening having to sift through thousands of jobs

Mega sites have also made progress on putting “lipstick on the pig” – alerts, video resumes etc. have made the user experience better but only incrementally.

Google and Yahoo had stepped in combining search with job search.

Another internet phenomenon, namely, personalization has caught up to these sites. Specialized sites catering to specific demographic – artists, writers, programmers etc. – have cropped up and according to the attached article have a whopping 64% of the market.

But that is not the big story. The granddaddy of placement i.e. networking has gone digital. People live online and find work there. The big idea is social networking sites such as LinkedIn. They have become relevant to this industry now.

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Online Job Sites Battle for Share author sourabhhajela



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