Decoding the future of Job Boards
Job boards like Monster, Naukri, Timesjobs, and others have traditionally been used to source the right talent for various job positions across industry verticals. The first job board appeared around 1990-92 so roughly about 25+ years ago. The job boards have evolved over this period of time, however, have also remained mainly the same place where you put an advertisement and hope that right candidates view it & respond to the same.
Most job boards even today offer mainly two services to their users – namely companies and placement agencies. These 2 services are job postings and candidate search. Both these services heavily depend on the skill of the recruiter and hence the end result with the same tool in 2 different hands will be very different. Refer to this article which nicely captures the evolution of the recruiter overtimes.
Traditionally job boards have and continue to advertise about the size of the database of active candidates they have – even LinkedIn which if we consider as the newest entrant in this field – does talk about the size of the network. However many companies today are not merely looking at the size of the network or database but also the relevance and quality.
In this article, we are trying to explore some new trends and companies which are attempting to attack different aspects of the recruitment process. Here we will look at companies mainly focused on sourcing related solutions and try and cover as wider a spectrum as possible in terms of innovations which are out there.
And the Problem is...
If I asked you to take a guess at the number of job boards that are available to you in India I assume you would come up with few names may be up to 10. However the reality is there are up to 100 different types of job boards that are currently available in India and they are only increasing. (If you don’t trust me type “job boards India” in Google and see what happens)
So what’s causing this growth & why people are still investing their time & money in creating newer ways to source the right talent?
One of the aspects is that the sourcing problem is now being viewed from industry perspective since most industries have their unique talent pools and challenges. Multiple job boards are coming up to solve industry specific challenges. The other is more about the seniority of the talent so we would have job boards which are coming up focusing on fresher’s versus some sites which focus exclusively on executive search or senior professionals with 10-15 years of experience. The market is being divided into multiple slices thus making the job of the recruiter even more critical to be able to pick the right source for the sourcing.
This flurry of activity can be estimated just based on this CB Insights infographic of 65 most well funded HR Tech start-ups outside US. 40 of these 65 companies deal with recruitment related technologies while a large majority of these 40 are in the sourcing space tackling various aspects.
The other such infographic, again from CB Insights underpins this fact that there are more and more slices of the entire recruitment cycle that are emerging and largest of them is Job boards, Candidate Screening & Hiring related platforms.
What’s up with the big guys?
Most of these players featured in the CB Insights infographics are funded start-ups so what’s up with the big guys? Let’s take a look at some of the big names in the business and what they have been up to lately.
I am sure we all know that Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26Billion earlier this year. This deal caught major attention because of the status of both the companies. A search of “LinkedIn Acquisition” on LinkedIn itself returns 680K+ results, thus indicating the buzz of activity this created. While most of the articles published around this news talk about how Microsoft will use LinkedIn’s network and data to further its lead in the CRM space, there is no doubt in my mind that this would also change the HR tech space. The fact that Salesforce.com – world’s leading CRM application is also expanding its reach in HR Tech is proof enough of these 2 spaces coming closer sooner than anticipated.
The Real Reason Microsoft Bought LinkedIn
From a recruiter’s point of view, we use LinkedIn today similar to any other job board – as a database & then to post jobs hoping that right candidate will come along. LinkedIn is also used to create & curate career page and content which is a unique feature as compared to others in the marketplace. With this acquisition, I expect lot more features & ease of use added right within the MS office environment – as is evident from the recent post by Jeff Weiner https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-microsoft-our-next-play-begins-jeff-weiner?trk=prof-post
However, at the risk of taking a shot at future possibilities, I believe following things are not very far especially for a recruiter.
1. As you search a JD within your MS Office environment – LinkedIn powered search could help you indicate suitable candidates on LinkedIn & even indicating who in your company they are connected to
2. You can call in multiple JD’s for a particular job type and check which keywords worked best and gave more responses – relevance of the response to such posts would still be a problem to be solved – but not for long (All of this right when you are looking to write the JD)
3. Your MS Office Bot could continue to work for you while you are away from desk or sleeping and identify suitable candidates for open job positions – all for you to review when you log in. The bot could also send some automated response and may even do some preliminary conversation with the candidates to assess their interest in the position at hand.
Let’s see how many of these come true and how soon. As the building blocks to make this happen exist currently within the MS & LinkedIn ecosystem
Yes, you read that right. Facebook could soon be competing with LinkedIn for your share of revenue on sourcing active/passive candidates. https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/07/jobbook/
Today many of us use Facebook to build company pages & connect with user communities. Some of us even advertise jobs via posts on FB and hope to get responses. I am sure most organizations today use FB to build their brand while communicating with their users and potential talent communities simultaneously – somewhat similar to LinkedIn. Since FB has a lot more personal touch to it than the professional LinkedIn – FB can actually use it to its advantage as most users are likely to spend more time with FB than with LinkedIn.
While FB is starting with a similar value proposition of job posting and hoping candidates to apply, I do expect FB to soon start offering some intelligence to its users based on behaviours displayed by the candidates while applying for various types of jobs. The jury is still out there whether FB will remain the choice for more local sourcing while LinkedIn will remain the preferred choice for more corporate profiles. Since most companies today do maintain an FB page and share most news on the same, adding a job post so that potential candidates can apply for the same seems like a logical next step. The most interesting future prediction wrt FB’s entry into the recruitment market would be use of augmented reality. In this a candidate can mark himself/herself as “active” or “passive” job candidate when they pass through a particular area – matching jobs can show up on their smartphones prompting them to apply.
Is the story of recruiting just getting better? Well, imagine the world’s best search engine working for you right from your ATS or existing job board being used. Google is working on Cloud Jobs API which is their latest machine learning service with an objective to improve the hiring process.
Well, I will leave you to read the details here but essentially what Google is doing is putting its vast search data to work for you. As per this post on Google, it has access to about 17 Million job posting found on hundreds of thousands of company websites. The cloud jobs API attempts to precisely encode the vagueness of a given job title, thus giving a lot more relevant search result. This service is currently in alpha and they are working with companies like CareerBuilder, Jibe, and Dice – again 2 of these 3 companies are job boards thus underlying the importance of this feature to the recruitment process & need for the traditional job boards to reinvent themselves.
In my view how multiple job boards react to this and also how Google plays this will determine who will win in the market.
The Indian Acquisition
With AON Hewitt’s acquisition of Co-Cubes, the Indian HR tech space got a new success story to tell.
While the official statement reads that co-cubes were acquired to augment the assessment solutions business, the fact is it’s a very clear play in the “fresher’s” hiring space. With this AON Hewitt does get access to captive fresher talent & their assessment data. It also can now cross-sell to Co-Cubes clients which are across the length & breadth of the country in various sectors and come in different sizes. This to me is a testimony to the importance of various slices in the sourcing pie.
Hey, Where are the “traditional” job boards?
You might be wondering that in this space so far we haven’t really talked about the traditional job boards that we all have used from either side of the table – both as a recruiter and as a candidate. So what’s up with the Naukri, Monster, and TimesJobs of the world?
The competition for these job boards is definitely increasing with not only the above-highlighted developments but also from other start-ups like Hiree, Aasaanjobs, Co Cubes, Babajobs and many industry specific sourcing platforms like Hacker Earth, Hacker Rank, Glider.ai, amazing hiring and others.
As part of the research done for this article, I was unable to find anything specific or different that any of these traditional and established players are doing in the market as yet. I am sure their leadership is well aware of these trends and are working on something interesting in a stealth mode right now.
You might be wondering hey but what about Glassdoor – well it's a very interesting player in the market who has carved a very different niche for itself and does not necessarily claim any large captive database of candidates – which explains why not many Indian companies take it seriously. But with more & more “user reviews” being posted on the site & this being the default go-to site for people to find out authentic inside information about an organization – this could well become an important part of the mix for many companies. With user generated company reviews, the ability to post jobs while managing company official page and responding to feedback Glassdoor has a unique proposition in the sourcing market.
Just like most other HR Tech verticals, this one is ripe for consolidation. Given the fact that a large part of early stage HR Tech investment happen in recruitment tech, that one force would ensure that companies will have to continue to innovate & offer greater value. The interest of the MarTech player like Sales Force into HR Tech in general, and recruitment in particular, will also change the dynamics with many other MarTech players following suite.
With the big daddy’s of tech vying for a share of this pie – as a buyer you are surely going to have multiple options & I am very certain that the 3 companies I spoke at length here are going to feature in your scheme of things.
So till then if you are a candidate – manage your online presence – even on FB – especially in India with legislation not in your favour your FB profile could determine whether you would get the next job or not.
If you are a recruiter – well brush up on your “sourcing” skills which mean getting adept at using sophisticated search tools, community boards, and plethora of job boards. You would have to know and stay and top of this changing sourcing tech space.
If you are interested in some additional reading on what others are saying about Future of Job boards here are a few articles that I found interesting: