I remember in 1992 when the "world wide web" (the term internet had not been invented yet) was touted as a game changer for recruiting. And it was true.....for a time. There was Monster, then Careerbuilder but two was not enough, the job board industry realized that they could carve up the universe into bite sized pieces and convince recruiting departments that they had to be part of this movement in order to get closer to the talent they seek.

And millionaires were made.

Today, we've seen a proliferation of niche job boards (to the tune of over 45,000 available) and the promise of the web (automate and create efficiency) has all but gone by the wayside.

Allow me to explain via example:
I have an Oracle DBA position I need to fill in Omaha, Nebraska. I'm going to pay this person $105K a year. Ready - go find them on the boards.

I have to search;
1. at least one BIG BOARD (my hiring manager wants to know I'm doing my job and if I'm not searching one, I'm failing according this dinosaur)
2. DICE - this is where the Techies live
3. The Ladders or 6-Figure jobs - I'm paying $105K remember?
4. Omahatechjobs.com - Don't know if this exists but it probably does - you get the point
5. OracleDBAgurus.com - Ditto
6. my own network of DBA's - none of whom are in Omaha nor want to relocate in November
7. yada yada yada

Get it? By creating access to the universe, the world wide web put talent at our fingertips. By carving it up into tiny chunks (and charging us to look at every chunk) the job board industry has accomplished three things;

A. Made a TON of money in the last 5-7 years - all from Corporate America's recruiting budgets
B. Created a confusing and frustrating world for Job seekers
C. Reduced the efficiency of Corporate Recruiters (see example above)


But why has this happened? Basically it's a technology issue. We are still using the same technology (keyword search and boolean search strings matching two really poorly written documents - resume and job description) that we used in 1995. Because if you have "too large of a database" of people, your technology can't get you closer to the right person. Thus, you divide up the database into micro-chunks (over40jobs.com, mommyjobs.com etc.) and the simplistic technology we have can get you closer to the right population.


The "Yeah So" part.

SO, the solution to this unsustainable model is to remove the invisible barriers, the walls so to speak, put around the sub populations and use evlolved technology to do the parsing of talent.

The "Result" part.

The results would astounding;
1. Single place for Job Seeker to go to be found for a job by any company according to their personal desires and work styles.
2. Single place for recruiters to go to search and pull back "interview-ready" talent; pre-interested, pre-qualfied and perfect for the job you have today or will have tomorrow.
3. No more post and pray - searching becomes first action because it works.
4. Dramatically less cost to Recruiting Departments - DRAMATICALLY
5. Dramatically more efficiency and ROI or Recruiting Departments
6. Lots of niche job board owners in the database looking for jobs.

It's time we put technology to use for Recruiting. Not the same technology re-branded or bundled into an "algorithm" but something really different, really simple and really NEW.

Views: 187

Comment by Phil Haynes on October 9, 2009 at 2:52pm
I'm a fan of "whirled peas" and believe if we donated $1 for every 6 pack of soda bought in america we could feed the world.
Oh, and what I was talking about in my post - it's happening right now....
Comment by Blake Moser on October 12, 2009 at 12:03pm
I like the idea of opensource recruiting. This has been floating around in my head for a few years now. You know, "opensource" not "splits". Big Difference! The tides are changing and some solutions are being produced as a result... let me know when you find your solution.
Comment by John Fortino on October 12, 2009 at 12:23pm
A few responses to your blog:

1. Great idea Phil...why don't you develop this technology and then you too can make millions and millions!! If you don’t…someone reading this just might take your idea and develop a solution that does just what you are looking for!

We are living in America, and the idea of making millions is what drives innovation, risk and investment. I haven’t heard too many people complaining that Google or Apple are making millions and millions. What about the company you work for? My guess is they are developing products or services that they too hope will make millions and millions, and if they do…guess what, they will need to hire people and thus have a need for recruiters!

2. The last time I checked, the job boards are not the only one's making money in the industry. Also, remember the days when contract recruiters were billing $85-100 per hour? Let us not forget the cost of advertising back in the good ol' 90's. I am sure you remember the 1/4 inch column ad in the Sunday paper cost $5k, and you would wait to receive a fax of a resume or receive an actual printed copy of a resume in the mail?

3. The job boards were one of the first real business applications that the internet brought forward. The boards greatly reduced cost across the industry, gave recruiters instant access to candidates, and they continue to provide tremendous value to the recruiting process. Do you remember how inefficient recruiting was with paper resumes, all of the files and how about the mass casualty of trees that were needed to print all of those resumes?? (I do not work for a job board – but they are a major source for my business!)

4. I agree with always looking to improve and innovate, and I am sure that sooner or later the “job board” will be a thing of the past. For now, however, I choose to look at the millions and millions of online resumes as an opportunity to hire someone…not as a barrier to do my job!

Just my 2 cents

Comment by Phil Haynes on October 12, 2009 at 1:47pm
Hey John,
Thanks for the comment and yep, I do remember the inefficiency of the paper resume days and this technology actually exists!
I'm also a tried and true capitalist so making millions is not an issue for me if you are actually solving a problem! Apple solved the single platform computing issue and continues to give MSFT a run for their money. Google took early search engine capability and put it on steroids making the whole search engine industry have to up their game. All great results and worthy of big returns for shareholders.
Dividing the online resume universe into nibbles and then selling those nibbles individually for profit makes money for the niche boards but does not make anyone more efficient (ask job seekers, they don't like having to duplicate effort anymore than recruiters do). I'm not against internet recruitment - it holds the promise to job seekers and corporations - "help us find each other". But I don't think comparing "www.over40latinoaccountingjobs.com" to "Google" makes much sense in a conversation about making the internet work better for two parties trying to find each other.
Comment by Randy Levinson on October 12, 2009 at 5:12pm
Great article John. It sounds like you're after and "indeed" for the candidate side. Something that pulls all the candidates out of the "cloud" and matches them to your job. This would be huge for both employers and candidates. I can't tell you how many times I have filled out the same info into the same "tool" for a different company when applying for a position I know I am a good fit for only to have my candidacy enter a black hole. What I am saying is this, "If you build it..."
Comment by Carly Rodger on October 13, 2009 at 5:59am
This is very current Phil and I like your thinking. There are some technologies out there trying to wrap everything up into one system, but search aggregation can only achieve so much whilst the JobBoards are holding all the cards. This will change in time I'm sure, but right now trying to search across multiple JobBoards has it's challenges. Mostly to do with the differences between each JobBoard and the lack of robust interfaces between the search aggregator and the JobBoard. Only time will tell but the future is looking like it might just be as you have described. Nirvana is close!
Comment by Bob Etheridge on October 13, 2009 at 10:34am
If Number Two in your ultimate job/recruiting app existed... why would we still need recruiters?

2. Single place for recruiters to go to search and pull back "interview-ready" talent; pre-interested, pre-qualfied and perfect for the job you have today or will have tomorrow.
Comment by Phil Haynes on October 13, 2009 at 10:41am
Great question! We will still need recruiters, they will just move up the food chain from gatherers/screeners to sales/networkers. Automating the transactional will allow Recruiters to focus on more "high value" activities like becoming experts in their industry or chosen talent group and spending more time consulting on strategic TA planning etc..


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