As I was perusing the recruiting blogosphere today, I came across an article submitted to Recruiting.com from Jason Goldberg.  Jason is the founder and president of Jobster.com, which is a hybrid site that tries to use Web 2.0 and social networking to give companies and job seekers a new way to connect.  Jason has some interesting premises regarding a string of comments posted about a story that is running on TechCrunch.  The story is titled "Online Job Hunt 10 Years Later – Still Sucks" . I can understand how his thoughts dovetail nicely into what Jobster is supposed to be and do. But I would have to disagree with most of what he says. I thought you might be interested in reading some of his thoughts and my reaction to them.

1. job postings should be free. the value is not and never will be in the posting. the value is in connecting with the right person to hire.


Don’t agree
.
a) Advertising costs. Should a TV commercial be free? Last time I checked, Super Bowl ads cost well over $1MM per minute, and they don’t guarantee results either. Job boards are advertising with the added benefit of being direct response.
b) Connecting with the right person to hire can happen in many ways – direct application, research, sourcing, third party recruiters, referrals, etc. In today’s competitive world, companies must use many sources to find great candidates.

2. employers are struggling with the quality vs. quantity gap in online recruiting. job boards provide quantity while hiring managers desire quality.


Depends
on what online tools they are using and how they use them. People are still getting quality resumes and applicants from the big job boards, if they focus their efforts on quality. There are also many other online resources which can augment candidate flow with quality prospects.

3. the value of job boards (as we know them today) is beginning to erode for employers with well known brands as most active jobseekers are more than able to go directly to the career websites at companies like starbucks, microsoft, google, etc.

Don’t really agree. The value of large job boards (for employers) comes from large candidate pools. The value of large job boards (for candidates) comes from the ability to find multiple jobs in their field from many employers. Something they can’t do by visiting Microsoft’s career center. This is what is driving the vertical job boards. Employers will always go where the candidates are and candidates will go where the jobs are. My personal feeling is that niche job boards are where the future lies. IT boards for IT companies and professionals, HealthCare boards for Healthcare companies and professionals, and yes, even Restaurant Job boards for restaurant professionals.

4. referrals have been and always will be a great source of quality hires. not the only source, but an important source.

Totally agree.  I think this is why almost every big company has some sort of incentive program to reward employees for bringing in referrals who are hired and stay for a specified period of time.  Companies (and employees) that use inventive ways of leveraging networking technologies will see increased effectiveness in referral hiring.

5. as has occurred in other markets like travel, and as is increasingly transpiring in real estate, over time we will see new marketplaces evolve which eliminate the need for the specialist (recruiter) and enable the purchaser (hiring manager) to transact efficiently with the seller (candidate).

Totally disagree.  In order for Jason’s prediciton to come true, one would have to assume that the only value of a recruiter in recruiting candidates would be the initial introductions or that all the other value propositions offered by recruiting specialists could be replaced through online technologies. I don’t know if Jason has ever actually done any recruiting, but to assume that the value proposition of recruiters can be replaced by Jobster or some other Internet thingamajig is naive. There are still plenty of Realtors, and there are still plenty of travel agents.  The industries may have been shaken up by how people use the internet, but they are still thriving industries… as is recruiting 10 years after Monster.com and as recruiting will continue to be far into the future.  Just as there are some percentage of home sales that are done in the FSBO style there is still great value in specialization and many customers who are willing to pay for specialized help so the largest percentage of sales in the housing market are done by professional realtors.

In conclusion, let me just say that my prediction is that recruiters won’t become extinct and neither will Internet based job boards. Now, I may be a little biased because I am after all a recruiter and have a very small job board myself – it’s just that I don’t plan on being extinct any time soon. 😉

About the author, Chief Executive Restaurant Recruiter

Born in Arkasas, moved to FL for 3 years as a youngster. Lived in GA most of my life. Married in 1985, 2 kids, one of each. Graduate of USNA Class of 1980. Love golf, computers, poker, photography, and gadgets.

  1. Yes I did, but I guess that would depend upon your definition of ‘plenty.’ A quick perusal through the local yellow pages for Atlanta yeilds 652 listings for ‘travel agent.’ I’d say 652 is a pretty large number. There aren’t that many McDonalds in Atlanta. 😉

    Paradigm shifts like the one that occurred in the travel industry (when airlines stopped paying commissions for agents to write tickets) often shake out the bottom feeders and leave the healthy companies with larger market share.

    There was a similar shake up in the recruiting industry after the Dot Bomb bust, when thousands of supposed IT recruiters left the recruiting business.

  2. Great post. As a headerhunter, with a passion for vertical job search engine technology, your post resonates where others’ posts fall flat. If I didn’t know better I might have thought it was a post by Ami (Recruitomatic). Thank you for keeping ’em honest and your readers informed.

  3. I’ve been commenting about job boards and job seeker interfaces with employers as long as I have been blogging and I actually think that Jason makes some really interesting points with the exception of #5 – to a certain extent. Recruiters serve an imensely important role in the hiring process – from gatekeepers to counselors, advisors to negotiators – good recruiters (corporate or 3rd party) are worth every penny.

    Some of the new tools being developed – if they deliver what they promise – could help in the sense that they “automate” some of the entry to mid-level placement functions allowing recruiters to focus their energy on senior level roles. I know many corporate recruiters that would welcome this type of “innovation”.

  4. Great post,
    hang my head with shame as I was one of the bottom feeder travel agents who left the field when the market went south.. and we were losing commissions for local business travel.
    My focus had been business travel, not leisure, so the next logical step was recruiting.. (via a few other steps)

    Hmm, maybe that is why I have made it a focus to Never depend on the internet, but instead focus on old fashioned networking and recruiting, and managed to survive more than 2 recessions to date in the recruiting industry.

    Really liked this post.. okay — this now makes 2 things we agree on. Wow!
    Karen M

  5. Carl –

    Jason speaks very highly of you. I’m looking forward to sharing stories from the recruiting trenches, and exploring new, innovative ways to improve the staffing industry.

    Have a super weekend.

    Jeff

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