Job Aggregators – Fad or Future?

A few months ago I did a presentation to a group of global recruitment professionals on social recruiting tools and sourcing channels. The group comprised of HR leaders and many “seasoned’ Recruiters; some of which had been in the industry for more than 15 years. As I started showing the breakdown of hire yield by sourcing channel, a single hand went up and delicately asked “What’s a job aggregator?” As the question was asked I could see heads bobbing in unison relieved that someone had the courage to ask the question. I have to admit, that with all the traction job aggregators have made over the last 5 years I was surprised that it was still such a mystery to Recruiters. So before I go any further I thought I would do a quick recap of what a job aggregator is.

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In its simplest form job aggregators are true “job search engines” that collect job postings from other sites across the web (including employer career sites and paid job boards) and store them in a very large database where they are searchable by job seekers. It’s appealing because jobs can be found in one place rather than spending time trying to find every possible place a job would be posted.[1]

Over the last decade job aggregators have evolved from just a central job repository to a sophisticated multi-dimensional digital advertising platform. It’s taken the traditional post and prey model and turned it upside down. So much so that sites like Indeed.com boast job seeker traffic to the tune of 140M+ global visitors each month[2]. In my opinion job aggregators are changing the sourcing game by:

  •  Aggregating job postings at no cost to the employer or job seeker. In other words it’s FREE. Employers don’t have to pay to post their jobs and candidates don’t have to pay to access job postings unlike the pay to post model of Imagetraditional job boards around the world.
  •   Being search engine optimized. If start your search on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Job results returned are indexed to the aggregator first, often ahead of the employer site and job board sites. Their high search engine ranking means traffic is directed back to the aggregator site even if the job is advertised on a paid job board!
  • Introducing a Pay per Click (PPC) model for jobs. This brilliant idea piggy backs on internet advertising. Basically it provides employers the ability to sponsor jobs so they can rank higher in search results and be presented to candidates ahead of other jobs that appear for free. Costs are only incurred when a job seeker clicks on the link. Meaning you only pay for results.
  • Enabling employers to set their own budget. Employers are no longer required to pay huge lump sum, upfront, costs for postings. Instead they can set a monthly or one time budget and choose to use it as it suits them.
  • Being mobile optimized. As mobile has evolved, so have the aggregators. Their minimalist approach enables an easy and seamless user experience. Indeed.com has confirmed that about 49 % of global traffic to their site (69M+ monthly visitors) comes from mobile devices[3].

This approach has developed into a model that is fast becoming an industry standard. Employers are paying more attention as aggregators have slowly amassed hire yield away from traditional job boards and staffing agencies. I personally saw this shift in my own organization. The chart below is a simple metric I used (and communicated to the HR Team) to gain insight into our sourcing channel trends. It revealed the decline of job boards and agencies and the rise of social media and job aggregators. I wasn’t alone in seeing this trend. Many large, global employers I spoke to have also seen this trend and like me,  started taking their budgets reserved for job boards and investing them in job aggregator and search engine campaigns. Leveraging the pay per click model. It’s a clear and tangible indicator that job aggregators have disrupted the industry standard for job postings.

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It’s this kind of employer insight that has forced job board vendors to rethink how they offer their products and services to remain competitive. The impact is material. In October Canadian job board giant Workopolis launched Social Job Share (SJS), a job distribution product that shares jobs on their website to social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. In May 2014, Monster Worldwide announced its move to a job aggregator, pay for performance model.

spj_facebookJob Aggregators haven’t only challenged job board vendors. Their disruption has also extended to social networking platforms. Facebook launched its Social Job Partnership (SJP) job posting site in 2012. They chose to aggregate job postings instead of asking employers to pay to post. Even LinkedIn has not been immune to its influence. In June 2014, they announced they would be aggregating job postings to their active job seeker population in the US. A strategy shift from its paid job slot offering.

Despite the higher yield of candidate hires and lower ROI, many employers struggle to completely relinquish their use of job boards to aggregators siteing low brand awareness. Recruitment functions complain Manager’s seem to have little or no awareness of brands like Indeed or Simply Hired compared to well known brands like Monster, Naukri, CareerBuilder, Workopolis, etc. The success of aggregators should be a signal to recruitment functions that it’s more important to invest where the candidates are. Manager awareness should not be the driver of a sourcing strategy. Recruiters should be using metrics such as source of hire to educate Managers and build awareness. It certainly doesn’t hurt aggregators to invest in building brand awareness either.

There’s no doubt job aggregators have become a game changer. Their simple, yet effective model has transformed the concept of paid job postings. This forward thinking approach will continue to chart the way we think of sourcing and applicants.

ROIYou may wonder; if aggregators are posting jobs for free, why should employers invest? I love this question because I answer it the way any savvy business person would. If free is yielding a good ROI, imagine what would happen with a real investment?

I’d love to hear your stories/experiences about how job aggregators have impacted your sourcing strategy. Contact me @annzaliebarrett or through LinkedIn.

 

[1] http://www.job-hunt.org/findingjobs/findingjobs_job_aggregators.shtml

[2] Indeed Interactive Conference – 2014

[3] Indeed Interactive Conference- June 2014

Career Product Marketing- What Are You Selling?

In my last blog post I talked about how organizations are using crowdsourcing to improve marketing messages to make products more appealing. I spoke about how HR functions can also utilize this rich data to improve its employee value proposition and employment brand. As Recruitment functions start to climb out of a 2.0 model attention is being directed to use social media platforms for recruiting. In a quest to increase reach, many companies continue to push out long, traditional, wordy job postings that serve to instruct the reader rather than entice them. It looks something like this:

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If product marketing took this approach it would be the equivalent of pushing out a product specification to attract buyers. Sounds absurd right? Marketing knows they have to develop compelling messages to entice the reader to at least find out more about the product. Messages are developed into visual ads where social media acts as a forum to engage and interact with consumers. The difference looks something like this:

samsung_spec       samsung_product_ad

What if recruitment took a business approach and treated “careers” as products they’re trying to sell? Each vacancy would represent an individual product marketed through a job ad. The marketing approach would centre on crafting key messages to attract relevant prospects for the product. Job postings would be more marketing friendly focused on key communities to interact and engage in a meaningful way.

For companies who have embraced this type of thinking the outcomes are creative and concise ads geared at soliciting relevant prospects with links where the reader can learn more.

ASCPUN201006237Ad00701

1234807_10151794314309346_1163308203_n  microsoft_jobad

Think about what is attracting you to these ads. What makes you linger? Visual and emotional cues make you want to read more. Visual content marketing has a higher impact on social media because it’s easier to consume and share.

Some companies such as Salesforce.com have taken this even one step further by extending career marketing to a video format. This approach is far beyond recruitment 2.0, and actually moves into the realm of recruitment 4.0. Here, the Manager takes an active role in the recruitment process. The video is short, engaging and easily downloadable so it can be viewed on the go. Prospects are also offered the opportunity to engage with the Manager via social media (in this case Twitter) for more information. This creates the opportunity for real interaction instead of a one way push.

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A forward thinking approach.

I know many of you reading this may think this is a huge amount of work that requires a lot of money. Not to mention, Managers would never do a video. To that I would say, start small. Do you have a few key roles you can start with that you can pilot? Start to create the foundation by shifting the mindset. Many companies have fantastic in-house creative, brand, communication and digital teams. Partner with them. Learn from them. Small successes pave the way for larger successes.

To help you get started, I’ve mapped out how recruitment can craft career marketing messages using the same thought process as a product marketer. Product marketing essentially has to answer three main questions for consumers:

Business Product Marketing Messages Career Product Marketing Messages
1- What will this product do for me if I buy it? (What’s In It For Me- WIFM?) 1- How will this job utilize and/or enhance my skills and develop my career? (WIFM?)
2- What are the main/exciting features of this product? What does it do? 2- What are the main/attractive features of this job? What would I do? (Keep it concise)
3- How is this product different from its competitors? 3- Why should I work for your company instead of your competitors?

I hope this blog post has energized you to think of your job postings in a new way! I would love to hear about your success stories.

 

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy