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Google for Jobs – does it make the Jobs Boards happy?

by  David Dwyer on  05/08/2019

Getting the most from new recruitment technologies

Much like the shop window in a particularly chaotic department store, where you have lots and lots of things on display but you have to find what you want, the analogy is also true for Jobs Boards and Job Portals.

Recruitment agencies on the other hand are personal shoppers – they’ll listen to what you want and try to find it for you. 

If you're the employer they'll look to post the role and perhaps manage the full end-to-end process including writing the role description, buying the job board credits, posting the ad, managing the candidate applications, running the psychometric testing +/or competency based evaluation, individual interviewing, group sessions, salary + benefits, relocation logistics, right through to the ultimate placement of the individual.

Alternatively for the potential candidate they could help write a CV +/or tease out the answers to an application form through to guiding a candidate through their interview process.

In our last GfJ Insight we looked at what's in it for Google as GfJ takes root – but how will it affect the Jobs Boards and Jobs Portals?

The short answer seems to be – badly.  A huge number of job searches begin with Google and if Google itself can deliver the results, drawing them from numerous sources, what exactly are the jobs boards bringing to this party?

The opinion in the industry seems to be that the generalist jobs boards, although they are trying to get on board with GfJ, are fighting an uphill battle, and one they are likely to lose.

To exist, job boards need to monetise what they do, there are several ways to do this, but these are the principal ones:

  • Charge HR/Recruitment consultants/agencies blocks of credits (who in turn add a margin and then re-charge indiv credit to the end employer)
  • Charge employers direct for blocks of credits
  • Charge a one off fee to post jobs on the board, the fee varying according to prominence, impressions and duration
  • Charge for paid access to jobseeker’s profiles and C.V.s
  • Paid for ‘Featured employers’
  • Host advertisements
  • Charge for enhanced services (to HR/Recruitment firms to re-sell; Employers to deploy amongst their staff; Individuals) e.g. psychometric testing (e.g. Orpheus, Myers-Briggs,...), competency testing, computer based training, who viewed your profile,...

If you have got the hang of GfJ over the previous Disruptive Tech Insight piece you can see just why Google poses such a serious threat to the boards.

If you are hosting your own adverts via GfJ you don’t need to pay for access to job seekers – they’ll be coming to you and will be only too keen to give you all the information about themselves that you need.  Google will guarantee your visibility because of the way GfJ works – no need to pay for that either.

Since GfJ will lead applicants directly to you, you are your own ‘featured employer’ – again without paying a board.  Time and resources spent wisely inhouse will make the landing page a welcoming and informative place, uniquely tailored to represent your business, not generated from some stock profile that has been used a thousand times before. Stock images are becoming a massive no-no for Google as it seeks to divide those prepared to invest in original content versus those who take the lazy route.

Essentially, Job boards/portals are going to want business to pay for something they can now do better themselves, for less money and with vastly improved communication between themselves and applicants.  And the real killer is that Google will deliver all of that from the search results page (above the organic job board returns), before anyone needs go near a jobs board.

Small, specialised boards may find that GfJ benefits them by delivering wider coverage and better visibility in the search results, initially till the employers get on board.  Large aggregated jobs boards should probably worry more.  If your sole reason to exist is to serve up as many jobs to as many potential candidates as possible without any major value add, GfJ has not only disrupted your sector but in reality just made you redundant.  GfJ is smart and draws upon what it knows about the jobseeker already to fine tune the GfJ results it displays.  It also trawls the entirety of the web (not just large tranches) to find the jobs that meet the GfJ criteria.  

So, it’s smarter, has greater reach than even the biggest jobs boards, and no matter how good those boards SEO is, if they try to compete with Google for Job's xml schema they've an impossible task of beating and Google can always just change their own rules!

It’s for this reason that a number of Jobs boards have banded together to push for an Anti-trust investigation into GfJ by the EU.  Given Google’s legal team and the sometimes-tardy progress of these investigations within the EU, don’t expect a ruling anytime soon.

What we can learn from this action is that the boards are running scared and some argue that they would be far better off adapting to this new reality than trying to stop it in its tracks through legal intervention.  Is Google abusing its market dominance to squeeze out the jobs boards, or is it simply capable of developing and delivering a job search solution that is far, far better than anything the boards have come up with to date?  While it is easy to blame advances in technology for misfortune, have the jobs boards been adding serious value to job searches?

Bas Van De Haterd thinks not.  Writing for ERE, he makes the following observation; “These (general) job boards are fighting an uphill battle. A losing battle. Google has been the starting point of most job searches and Google is now helping candidates finding the jobs they are looking for. Generalist job boards will lose out, since their value to the candidate is very limited and they target the same job seekers that already use Google: the active ones”.

So, the very people that the jobs boards rely on, candidates seeking work, are going to be better served by GfJ, which will get to them and return results before the boards really get a chance.

Unlike the recruitment agencies, it is hard to see what the majority of generalised jobs boards can do to counter the Google onslaught.  We'll discuss this in more detail in a future Insight, but recruiters can at least dig deep into adding value to their services as they are closer to the end employer, the job boards don’t really have that option not without trying to mimic the recruitment agencies. While making use of GfJ to improve result rankings might help the boards in the short run it doesn’t look like a strategy for long term success.

It's hard to predict a happy outcome for the jobs boards, although many of them have already integrated with GfJ to ensure that the jobs the show appear in Google search results.  The problem for them is monetary.  Once employers realise that they are paying, or being asked to pay, for minimal or illusory benefits why would they continue to pay money to the boards?  As knowledge of Google for Jobs spreads, as companies and their HR, Web and IT departments understand what is required to maximise their benefit from the technology jobs boards may well find themselves ploughing and increasingly barren field.

At Inspire, we have dedicated time and effort to fully understanding how best to use Google for Jobs and to maximise your return from an investment in it.  We use it ourselves and have noted both a quantitative and a qualitative increase in the responses to the roles we have offered.  

If that sounds like the sort of disruptive technology that would benefit your business, supported by a wide-ranging knowledge of how to position your adverts so that they outshine your competition we are always happy to sit down and discuss how we can make GfJ work you, either give us a call to arrange an appointment or fill in the form below.

As a reminder we've offices in, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife, Kilmarnock, Livingston, Perth, and Stirling. Have a look at our own web career vacancies page to see how we've made it work for ourselves

Disruptive not Disrupting Tech, Google for Jobs, Hiring, HR, Human Resources, Outsourced Web Development, Recruitment, SaaS, Software as a Service, Software as a Service Application Development, Sticky Websites, The Evolving Web
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