In the late 90's job boards were a necessity, if you wanted to recruit online. Why? Because many companies didn't have websites let alone career sites. So if recruiting was to be done online it could only be facilitated through the job board, which started a cycle of dependency.
How did it become a cycle based on dependency?
Dependency was inherent in the process where companies would pay to ship their candidates to a community resume database, thus using their all mighty dollar to build a vendor product, moreover providing instantaneous talent to their very own competition. The question soon became, how could a company walk away from a database they've built with their very own dollars? The success of the platform rode square on the shoulders of the companies who funded this community database, unfortunately these platforms did not "belong" to them.
Prices rise, people change, dependency continues.
Let me state clearly this dependency process was not set-up with a fiendish plot to take over the recruiting world, although once the big dollars started flowing, prices, attitudes, staff, and values changed quickly.
The hook is set.. Or is it?
Hiring companies starting tasting internet recruitment success and then in January of 1999 the shift began. TMP Worldwide, who owned Online Career Center (OCC) and The Monster Board (MB), decided to shut-down MB's quickly crashing database and move the cutesy brand to a much more nimble technology in OCC. Simply put the "new" product was OCC with cartoon characters, nothing more, nothing less. Although companies started to taste the first move in this online game of recruitiing chess with a 100% price increase. Companies paid because their dependency was now too deep, furthermore the new Super-Bowl advertisers added the star power necessary to try and justify the increase.
Schooling the System
Smart hiring companies started working the system by only paying for resume database access and not paying the prices for "candidate bait" or job postings. Rather they would lie in wait while their competitors spent huge cash on postings and then feverishly mined the database.
In 2002 the very first job search engine was created to bypass the bait and switch game. The process focused on pushing candidates directly to the company site where they would apply into that specific company private
database. At this point many companies were starting to turn on their own career sites fitted with early applicant tracking systems, but they were still hooked on the game and tied to their investment in this community database model even though their main complaint were that prices had now skyrocketed 500% or more since January 99. Prices were climbing and Return on Investment (ROI) was plummeting.
Companies now understand the old model only provided a bridge until they could build their own private career sites and databases. The hard part, for most "investors", was accepting their community database investment was always a fleeting and short-term initiative. The wool has left their eyes and the investment has been focused on driving candidates to their private databases and not paying the toll for the entire community.
Are jobs boards dead?
Is the newspaper dead? No, although a fundamental change has taken place which forces a more cost effective and value-rich opportunity for companies who are no longer dependant and are breaking away from a vicious cycle. Job boards who understand this and evolve focused on ROI, providing more value and helping companies tap into hard to find niches will stand the test of time.
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