Innovation or disruption? - the job board changes

Big change is so sudden. Right? Remember how LinkedIn came out of nowhere and revolutionized the recruiting industry? Oh right – they started in 2004. Well, how about Indeed and the rush to PPC? Oops – they launched in 2005.

Maybe big change isn’t that sudden after all.

Maybe disruption is overrated. Maybe innovation happens around the edges, and over time.

I’ve been thinking about this because of the recent purchase of by LinkedIn. Matt Charney wrote an excellent analysis of the purchase – I suggest you take a look.

I agree with him that what LinkedIn was buying was a) a bunch of big data talent; and b) matching technology.

Is this purchase going to revolutionize the job board industry? Probably not. But it will move LinkedIn a bit further down the evolutionary path.

The company could’ve just as easily bought Talent Bin, Remarkable Hire, Gild, or any of a number of other innovative online recruiting companies. The fact that it chose Bright says more about its own internal weaknesses, and less about Bright itself or its competitors.

So why does innovation and change happened relatively slowly in the recruiting industry? For example, think back to the dawn of online recruiting – the emergence of job boards in the mid-90s. The innovation came from the fact that the listings were now online, and thus untethered from the physical limitations of a sheet of paper and the geographical limitations of a newspaper’s distribution. Since then, there have been a number of innovations, including job alerts, some primitive matching, and some primitive social interaction. Each of these innovations has been heralded as “revolutionary”.

Were they? Not really, but this innovation around the edge did move the process forward.What slows innovation down is adoption (or lack thereof) by employers and candidates. Let’s face it – people don’t like change.

Let’s flash forward to now. Our current “revolutionary” changes include social recruitingbig data, people aggregationassessment, and the ability to do this all on a 4 inch screen that fits in our pocket.Are any of these truly revolutionary and disruptive? Or are they simply logical outgrowths of existing practices? Of these, the only  one that I see has the potential to disrupt the industry is big data. Will it? Probably not.

So – despite the pruient interest in following LinkedIn’s moves and counter moves (much as we used to follow Monster), I’m not sure it does the average job board or online recruiting company a lot of good. I think it’s more useful to focus on what works and doesn’t work for employers and candidates in the online recruiting process – and then tackle that.

But then again, I could be wrong.


Views: 386

Comment by Tim Spagnola on February 25, 2014 at 10:43am
I don't think your wrong Jeff, but rather spot on. I always appreciate your perspective on career boards. One thing that I'm surprised about is that there is not more uproar from recruiters on the new blocking functionality. Regardless- thanks for adding your voice to the RBC.
Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on February 25, 2014 at 10:46am

Thanks Tim. I just discovered this morning that Monster bought Talent Bin. So that puts a different perspective on what I wrote about!

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on February 25, 2014 at 1:15pm

Thanks, Jeff. Very well-said. A though-experiment: lets say you, I, and all recruiters everywhere had  complete information and immediate, direct access to everyone in the world, all wrapped up in a nice easy-to-understand bow. Do you think major changes, in quality, cost, or time-to-hire would occur, all else being the same? I think that fundamentally the changes have been in sourcing candidates, as opposed to changes in the hiring process, and until organizations make major changes in who they go after and how they recruit and hire, the changes will be minor.

Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on February 25, 2014 at 2:31pm

Keith, I think you're spot on. I had this conversation with a client last week about ATSs - 'so if a poorly executed ATS cuts down on applicants, why wouldn't an employer change it?" The answer, of course: because organizations are political and often cumbersome, and there are many disconnects in the hiring process.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on February 26, 2014 at 1:28pm

Thanks, Jeff. Meanwhile, there's lots of money to be made by slick hucksters with high-level connections ready to sell the latest recruiting snake oil or “magic bullet” to desperate and not-yet insolvent recruiters and their superiors who fail to recognize that in most cases they are futilely “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic of their companies’ ill-conceived, over-blown, grossly-dysfunctional hiring practices.




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