It’s all about the job seeker: job boards, social media, and relevance

Last week I read a post about how social media killed job boards (yes, again!). Whether or not you agree with the argument (and as you can surmise, I don’t), the piece inadvertently brings up a larger issue: are job boards still relevant to job seekers? After all, this is all about the job seeker, right? Many social media evangelists would have you believe that job boards (employment hubs, job sites, whatever you wish to call them) have as little meaning for the average job seeker as the (gasp!) Sunday classifieds.

Which made me wonder – how do you determine the relevance of a particular job hunting tool for the average job seeker? Seems like these metrics might make sense:

  • Usage by job seekers: job boards consistently end up in the top 3 recommended tools for job seekers to utilize during a job hunt. Traffics stats from both general and niche job sites bear this out.
  • Usage by employers: job boards account for 12-30% of external hires for employers – exceeded only by referrals for most organizations.
  • Multiple delivery methods: job seekers can discover jobs via online search, automated job matching emails, text messages, Tweets, and probably a few more I’ve missed.
  • Multiple levels of engagement: job seekers can post ‘anonymous’ resumes; fully public resumes; profiles that can be matched to specific types of jobs or employers; direct email or phone interaction with employers; interaction on company career ‘micro-sites’ (that are managed by the job boards) via email, Twitter, etc.

The bottom line on whether job boards ‘die’ is relevance and usage  (not how many articles are published by social media evangelists). If job seekers continue to rely on and regularly use job boards, then they will, by definition, thrive. If the same job seekers no longer find the job sites useful or relevant – and thus no longer use them – then the job boards will die.

It’s that simple.

And yes, you can probably guess what I think will happen!


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