You know what gets a job seeker truly steamed? Clicking on a link for a job posting – and discovering that it’s exactly the same job he looked at a few seconds earlier. Same job, different listings = unhappy job seeker.

How does this happen? Well, any job board that allows 3rd party recruiters to post their open positions runs the risk of duplicate postings. Let’s say that ABC Company has an listing for a mechanical engineer. The HR person posts it on their company site and also drops an email to three favored recruiters announcing the opening. The recruiters turn around and post the job under their own accounts – because after all, if they can get it filled, they’ll receive a handsome commission.

So what’s the problem? After all, the HR person just tripled their chances of a response by encouraging the recruiters to post the job separately. In fact, if the recruiters are using different job boards, the position could get even more exposure.

But the job seeker is unhappy. His or her anger will have two likely targets: the job board, and the company.

The company may not care if the job seeker is unhappy – after all, the market is tight and there are (in general) more seekers than jobs (although I would argue that companies should care about their reputation with job seekers, as they want to attract the best talent).

The job board should care quite a bit about making the job seeker unhappy. After all, quality candidates are the lifeblood of a successful site. But eliminating duplicate postings is tough. If recruiters purchase the right to post jobs, why can’t they post a listing that a client has given them?

Another twist – when an aggregator like Indeed or SimplyHired serves up duplicate job postings, what can anyone do? Between cross posting by the job board itself, recruiters, and (occasionally) use of multiple job boards by the company, it’s not unusual to see the job listed in search results many times.

This may be a problem that is never resolved – but both companies and job boards should be aware that it creates negative attitudes toward them on the part of the job seeker.

Your thoughts?

Views: 1091

Comment by Nikole Tutton on April 6, 2010 at 3:13pm
This is what happens when corporations treat third-party recruiting like a commodity: splashing one job to any agency that will agree to work on it. Case in point, I have seen the same posting for an HR Generalist with union experience on no less than 15 postings by different agencies AND the client. As a corporate recruiter, I find one or two GREAT third-party recruiters to work with and concentrate on those relationships - giving them exclusivity. I get the best candidates with the least amount of white noise and busy work.
I don't waste anyone's time and I think my vendors appreciate that.
Comment by Adam Luckeroth on April 6, 2010 at 3:23pm
Great topic, and one near and dear to my heart. You mentioned this may be a problem that is never resolved, but at we feel we have resolved it. LinkUp is a job search engine pulling jobs strictly from company websites. Because we do not aggregate from job boards or allow people to "post" jobs in the traditional sense, we do not have duplicate listing.
Comment by Russell Jipson III on April 7, 2010 at 11:26am
What about those recruiters who post many duplicates on Craigslist? Do you feel it is the same sentiment or is it more accepted? I know when I was looking at apartments a few years ago I kept clicking on different links to the same complex where I already lived. It was very annoying so I'm sure it would be similar for job seekers as well.
Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on April 7, 2010 at 11:31am
Great comments! Russell, I think the same applies to Craigslist.
Comment by Rebecca Griffin on April 7, 2010 at 11:34am
I understand that a job seeker might be frustrated about this, BUT, when large corporations have multiple vendors(agencies) this is unavoidable. Candidates need to find a recruiter, agency, that they trust and work exclusively with them. An experienced trustworthy recruiter will help them sort through the myriad of duplicate postings.
Comment by Colleen Epp on April 7, 2010 at 11:53am
Maybe it is at least worth letting your vendors know where you are posting and to please not post there as well. We usually post somewhere in hopes that we can find a candidate on our own without paying a fee, but in some cases we also need to reach out to vendors as well. Also, LinkUp sounds very similar to Indeed and SimplyHired and my problem with them is that their postings usually aren't accurate. I often am getting calls weeks after I have pulled all postings down because they are still posted on Indeed. Even worst, there is a new job board out there called JobFox that not only gets my postings from Indeed, which are expired, but when I ask them to remove my outdated postings they say they do and don't. Just felt like throwing that out there!
Comment by Ryan Affolter on April 7, 2010 at 11:56am
Jeff- what are your thoughts or suggestions on controlling arbitrage from the agency/recruiter perspective?

For example, we will incorporate a non re-distribution clause in agreements with a source (job board, aggregator, niche site) on behalf of our clients. Only to find out in our source analytics that board is re-aggregating traffic to Indeed, Simply Hired and other Tier 2 aggregators our client is already leveraging directly.

We want to aim to control this from happening to ensure a quality job seeker experience but it seems very common practice. Any suggestions aside from this pro-active clause approach, slapping their wrist or pulling a campaign? Thanks for a great post!
Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on April 7, 2010 at 11:59am
Ryan, it's a tough and probably unsolvable problem. What you're doing is great. Go to the job board and request that they do not crosspost your job. Most should be able to allow you to 'opt out'. That will help. Also, emphasize to the client that this type of behavior will reflect badly on them (which i'm sure you do) - sometimes a little education really helps.
Comment by Barbara Goldman on April 7, 2010 at 12:45pm
This is such an interesting topic. We don't advertise to fill our positions. Why would we as contingency recruiters? I am looking for the candidate not looking for a job.

Our clients advertise. If it worked for them, great, but I'm only used if advertising hasn't worked. Why would I advertise? Active candidates are easy. And, waste my time. Everyone has them.

I say, post until you drop, and so what if the jobs are duplicated? I check the ads rarely because I also don't waste my time playing the "where's the job" guessing game when noticing competitors ads.

I'm paid to find the people who are employed, and not looking for a job. My candidates are also very hard to find.

It is very interesting to me how things have changed with the internet. Job boards, social networking, etc. It's all just advertising. Same thing as 20 years ago. It is advertising a job posting. Companies have more places to advertise. And, the reach is greater. But, think about this: Do we really need to reach candidates who live further than 50 miles away from the job? Advertising nationally, might seem great now, because the same exposure used to cost a thousand times (or greater) more money. But, unless the job is high level, hiring and recruiting is a local.
Comment by Suresh on April 7, 2010 at 12:54pm
With social media sites popping up all over, I don' think this will go away. Particulary, since FREE is the operative word, that customers are expecting.


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