Last week Jakub Zavrel posted a fascinating piece on ERE.net asking the eternal question: Are Job Boards Still Relevant for the Future of Recruiting? I strongly encourage you to read it (and definitely check out the comments – Steven Rothberg has some pertinent thoughts, too!).
In a nutshell, Zavrel discusses the role of search technology with regard to job boards’ longevity. Are two search boxes (one for title/skill, another for location) adequate? Is this the best that can be done? Or are there better alternatives? Not surprisingly, Zavrel – who runs a search technology company – believes that semantic search offers better results. He also believes that if job boards adopt this technology, they’ll be around for a while longer.
I’ll be completely upfront – I agree with him. Sure, the current paradigm works, more or less, for certain groups of people – those who have been trained (even at some basic level) to know how to search. But did you notice all those qualifiers I threw in there? More or less, certain groups, etc.? Many times I’ve sat in a room with job search ‘newbies’ and watched them struggle with the current search model. How much information do they put in the skills box? How do they know which skills to put in? What does the location box mean – where they are now? Where they want to be? And what if the results aren’t what they wanted - then what do they do?
In the old days, people were actually taught how to search. I believe the discipline was called ‘information science’. The courses were typically aimed at those who would become the high priests of information – librarians, programmers, and researchers.
Guess what? It was that very formal discipline that led to the creation of our current search model. Yes, it can work. No, it isn’t always obvious or pretty. And yes, a lot of people out there get left in the dust.
Well, for job boards to maintain and expand their current position as a key method for employers and candidates to find each other, they need to innovate.That could mean integrating semantic search into their systems. That could mean aggregation of job content across multiple sources. That could mean peer review or crowdsourcing of candidates to provide more sophisticated profiles.
What’s the alternative? Well, job boards could just sit on their hands and hope things get better – magically.
Somehow, I don’t think that’s gonna work.