Good ideas: how job seekers would make job boards better

I recently had the privilege of hosting #HFChat – the HireFriday Tweet-fest organized by @HRMargo and @CyndyTrivella.  HireFriday is all about helping job seekers find work. Recruiters, HR professionals, and the occasional job board doctor pose and answer common questions about the job hunt. It’s a wonderful event for all involved.

My subject – surprisingly enough! – was “Making job boards work for you”. The conversation ranged from the basics (setting up job alerts, using job boards for research, etc.) to the esoteric (@Jerry_Albright offering free personalized consultations with all job seekers). One of the questions I posed was: “What would you change about job boards if you could?” Here are some of the suggestions:

  • “Job boards need to be more intuitive.”
  • “Job boards (should) be more interactive and less one dimensional.”
  • “Require realistic screening questions (of the job seeker) before any indication of “interest” is sent.”
  • “Remove all the flashing ads and pop-ups.”
  • “Job boards (shouldn’t) encourage passivity.”
  • “Only allow ‘qualified’ candidates to apply.”
  • “Include on all job postings: a) company name; b) who to contact; c) how many days are left to apply.”
  • “Well written job descriptions.”
  • “Every job board should have a mobile-optimized site.”
  • “Job boards should be careful to categorize the job ad correctly.”
  • “Job boards should have better filters both for job postings and for candidates applying.”
  • “Should provide more statistical feedback to candidates (i.e., this week your resume was viewed by 50 companies).”
  • “Should post the actual date of the original job posting.”
  • “Should remove the job posting once it is filled.”

Some common threads in the above:

a) Job seekers really don’t distinguish between the intermediary (job board) and the employer. If the employer puts up a poorly worded job ad, the job board is often blamed for it. Ditto for lack of response to a job application.

b) Some type of screening would be appreciated by both recruiters and job seekers – some basic level of culling.

c) Some very basic, useful data is often missing from a job ad: the date of the posting, the deadline to apply, and who or how to contact.

Job boards have always been at the mercy of their customers – after all, employer provide the content that fills the sites and lures the job seekers. There is a limit to how far a job board can push a client – would you, for example, refuse to run a job ad that you thought was poorly written? On the other hand, it’s also the case that some sites are better designed to prevent these types of problems than others. For example, you can not only include screening questions as part of your offering, but integrate them into the job post creation process. You can certainly make your site mobile-friendly. And you can also provide statistical informationto both job seekers and employers that give them a better sense of how they are performing on your site. You can also educate job seekers on what happens in the application process – what to expect, and what NOT to expect.

One final suggestion: the comments above were drawn from a variety of users. I suggest that you talk to your job seekers and find out what they have to say about your site(s). It never hurts to ask!

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