Job Board Leopards Changing Their Spots………… Again

I’ve taken some notice lately of the current trends in the job board marketplace lately. It seems that many of the boards are looking to transition from the old model of “post & pray” to more of an Ad Network-centric approach.

Update & Disclaimer: I’m not an Ad Network or job board employee, so I won’t try to define the industry, but I realized I neglected to define an Ad Network. So, here it is as Wikipedia defines it. Mea Culpa, I digress, and we move on.

What we’re seeing in the marketplace is a dramatic shift from what the bread an butter of the job board business model has been since the mid-90’s. It started with the ability to post your open positions, and have people fax a resume in (because, really who was using e-mail in a widespread format in 1995?), then progressed to overwhelmed in-boxes (which is/was/will be every recruiters nightmare), and then finally to the redirection to the career site. All of this still amounts to a theory of putting it out there and seeing what happens.

We then experienced the Sourcing Revolution, where it became commonplace for (good) recruiters to actively source candidates. we saw user groups, technical forums, LinkedIn and professional sites become the chum tank for the sharks. If you were out there, you could be found. This too, still applies today, but has gotten vastly more mature in the approach and technical style, thanks to blogs, and training seminars, like AIRS, using available techniques like Boolean searching.

Now, with the emergence of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, we’re starting to see more of the job boards move toward sponsored ads, and impressions that (allegedly) drive traffic back to your site, and ultimately drive people to your postings, assuming it will lead to more candidate flow for you. Having done an impression campaign in the past, I’m not yet convinced it will work the way it is intended. I mean, I see tons of trailers online and on TV for movies – I’m AWARE of them, but it doesn’t necessarily make me want to see it more. The hope here for job boards (we think) is that they will be able to capitalze on the market of people who are actively using the social media sites, and other popular avenues, and can cash in based on the recrutiing departments metrics tally that they are getting traffic from Ad Network related content. But isn’t that really the same as ye ol’ “post & pray”? Perhaps the only difference is that someone on the job board side is posting it, and you as the recruiter, are not.

But the folks who dream up the next big thing at the job board headquarters know what they are doing. They see that so many of these corporate and TPR clients are cutting, slashing and burning external costs at an alarming rate – both because of the economy, but because of better trained recruiters. That means less money year on year, in total contract value (CV). If the CV decreases, so does the revenue and ultimately the stock prices. NOT GOOD, if you are waiting on that bonus. Now, they can provide a “value-add” (and I challenge anyone to tell me that the job board sales rep did NOT use that term when they tried to see this to you – it’s their go-to hot button) service with the Ad Network. A colleague of mine was able to just cut 5k off of his most recent contract with one of the larger job boards. He declined the Ad Network package, and impressions, because his company has a strong social media presence, and strong brand. Had he taken it, he’d be paying 3-5k more than his old contract. So the brass at the job boards has struck some more gold to keep revenue at least where it is at, if not higher.

My question is will they stick with this, can they sell it widely, and will they be able to truly prove the worth of this, or will the Ad Network model go the way of the dodo bird and “post & pray”?

The end of boards as we know them?

The end of boards as we know them?

What are you seeing?

Bookmark and Share

4 Comments on “Job Board Leopards Changing Their Spots………… Again

  1. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Job Board Leopards Changing Their Spots………… Again « Recruiting In 3D [] on

  2. I think the positive take away from job boards working with ad networks is that they are moving toward a more contextualized service rather than one that is just keyword and searched based. That’s good for both employers and candidates.

    Ever browse for something on Craigslist, then spin over to eBay to comparison shop and be amazed at how the items you are looking for seem to magically appear? The web knows what you do, and how to send relevant content your way. Ad networks can pick up context from your Web behavior and target content appropriately.

    Let’s say that a candidate opens her browser, and visits the career sites for SAIC, CACI, and Lockheed-Martin in succession, viewing open Network Engineering jobs What if she’s also using search engines to find local Linux user groups and research average salaries in the DC area? Based on the URL’s and content of the pages she’s visiting, it’s safe to assume that she’d probably looking for a Network Engineering job with a government contractor in DC.

    If I’m a recruiting manager at a small government contractor who also has a local Network Engineering opening, I’d love to get my opening in front of this candidate next time she visits her webmail, Facebook page, Job Board, or favorite news site. Contextual advertising technology could allow me that opportunity.

    By leveraging the capabilities of online advertising, smaller companies without huge job board and branding could potentially get their positions in front of active, relevant job seekers in a cost-effective manner. And as a candidate, I might learn about a fantastic opportunity at a smaller company which I wouldn’t have otherwise known about through existing channels.

    So while I don’t know where the big boards are planning to take the ad network model, but I’m going to view the fact that they are trying as a positive step in the right direction.


    • Thanks Ian. Agreed that it can be a positive step, and they are finally catching on to the wave, when it is not at the crescendo, but how are they really going to calculate conversions, and will they do with every other product, which is to overprice it as the “next saving grace”, and then just axe it when it does not turn revenue 180 degrees?


  3. I don’t know If I said it already but …Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Tony Brown


Got a comment? Leave it below....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: