Predictions are a dime a dozen – and if you’re lucky, no one goes back at the end of the year to see how accurate your soothsaying actually was. Nevertheless, I like predictions just as much as the next person; if nothing else, making them forces you to take a broader look at the preceding year’s events. So let me slide my virtual crystal ball in front of me and tell you what I see:

  • More and better job board software: As I’ve said before, competition has been good for the job board software world. More vendors means better prices, more robust software, and – ultimately – better job sites.
  • More spending: As recent investments have demonstrated, the drought is finally ending for investments in the online recruiting industry. Most of these won’t pan out, of course – but a few will, and I’m betting we’ll see some new starts up this year that shake up the existing paradigm.
  • Freelance nation: One effect of the recession: more of the workforce now works for itself. This represents opportunity for the job board industry, and several sites such as eLance have begun filling these new and different needs. I expect to see more.
  • Social media is a tool, a threat, and much more: The year 2010 will go down as the year social media entered the mainstream. As such, it also garnered top-level headlines in the major HR sites, blogs, and magazines. Some job boards reacted by providing new services; others stuck their heads in the sand. Wonder which will survive?
  • Everything’s gone mobile: Yes, I’ve said it before – but I’ll say it again: job hunting is going mobile, and this has big implications for the way that employers and job boards structure and promote their listings.  Whether job seekers are using traditional feature phones (and texting) or smart phones (and accessing the mobile web), they want to look (and apply) for jobs via their mobile devices. ‘Nuff said.
  • Matching, maybe?: Could I possibly be wrong? Could 2011 be the year of job matching? Well…there’s some venture dollars out there betting on matching, so we’ll just have to see.
  • Job site sector grows – again: Despite the inconvenient fact of ‘job boards dying’ (or at least the never-ending repetition of this in various blogs), the job site sector is growing. Dice, Monster, and CareerBuilder all reported strong Q3 growth, investment dollars are flowing to various startups, and mid-tier sites are expanding. I expect to see a few ‘intermarriages’ between social recruiting and job board sites as well.

Well, darn it – the crystal ball has clouded up! So tell me – what do you think will happen in 2011?

Views: 170

Comment by Chris Brablc on January 5, 2011 at 2:10pm

Jeff - Really like the list.  I think your are spot on with a number of them.  I definitely agree on Social Media.  Job sites need to work on making their content (in this case job ads) easily shareable. 


I'm also intrigued by matching.  Curious to see what type of traction these services get.


All the Best,



Comment by Jamie Garrett on January 6, 2011 at 11:20am

Jeff, some sound statements.  Will be interesting to see the UK job boards reacting to Fixed Price Recruitment and becoming more competitive to end users and agencies to compensate for this. 


Comment by Nick Cox on January 6, 2011 at 11:38am
Great post Jeff, are you offering to run the book on the amount of 'death of the job board' posts?
Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on January 6, 2011 at 11:43am
Nick, interesting idea....but no :-)
Comment by Mary Jo Roberts on January 6, 2011 at 12:10pm



Thanks for this, good article. I am new to this resource and not a recruiter--I manage a niche job board.  I agree that the competion in software providers has been good.  We have been with the same company since 2003.  As we prepared to launch a new company website last year, we decided to look at other providers for our job board.  The RFP process was quite eye opening!  Much more sophisticated application are available now and I am looking forward to migrating to a new platform in March.  


I apologize in advance for what may be "simpleton" questions, but I would like to learn more about two concepts you mention here:  job matching and fixed price recruiting in the UK.  If you can point me to resources to read up on these topics, I would be appreciative.


Mary Jo

Mary Jo  

Comment by Gerry Crispin on January 6, 2011 at 12:15pm

Nice job.


I'm thinking more about the unintended consequences that will result from the reality of the trends you are describing.


Freelance nation is perceived as a positive because of all the ink around millennial values but it may be the boomers who will benefit the most. I believe we'll see some serious abuse and pushback on the rapid growth of contingent workforce in the US in 2011. In a few countries (for other reasons), the pendulum has already swung and the anger at not EVER having the opportunity to get a 'secure' and permanent (in some countries it is permanent) position is palpable. 

If more and more graduating students are contingent, their ability to add debt (to their already untenable loans) will be compromised and it will have significant implications. It could become a class issue and not a societal choice.


Mobile is already embedded but fewer than 15%  of firms have adopted technology that allow a job seeker to actually via a smart phone and only 5% provide 'status' via mobile. The gap between capability and application is like having a computer that  has no software. Not good. We may not get as much return on mobile in 2011. It may take more than technology.


However, the convergence of mobile with the explosion of individual stand alone consumer-focused apps and the nearly universal acceptance of social media suggests to me a potential for employers lossing control of 'transparency' (from my radical point of view it could be a good thing). If transparency is re-defined from the job seeker new questions might be asked and answers forthcoming w/o the employer's involvement.  What if before applying, I can find and contact the last person hired in that job or, the last person who left it, or the performance scores relevant to management style of the hiring manager, or the starting salary of that last 10 people hired in at the same 'level' from the outside or the % of women (or anyone else) who have had that job in the last 5 years and where they are now. Just sayin it could be an interesting time from the job seekers perspective if aspects of the candidate experience that are relevant to the job seeker's decision (rather than the employer) are available.  

Where would we be on any of these issues if job seekers paid for job board services rather than employers?



Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on January 6, 2011 at 12:21pm
Gerry, very interesting stuff indeed. I actually believe we'll see a steady stream of 'job seeker focused' web apps coming out over the next year - as usual, the test will be acceptance and usage by job seekers on a mass level. It's a great time to be in this industry, IMO!
Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on January 7, 2011 at 11:18am
Rayanne, I think that for .jobs to succeed, there has to be: a) a lot of money spent; b) a lot of companies finally deciding they want a separate .jobs site for careers; and c) a big change in job seeker behavior. I just don't see it happening. Maybe if it had launched in 2004 or so - but now? Nope.


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