(Jan 28, 2009) There are several major variables moving through the job board industry right now
- Job scrapers (like Indeed and SimplyHired) are rapidly growing into positions of dominance. They are currently 40% of the top five job boards and account for half of the industry’s growth in traffic. Their price points and revenue models vary significantly from the major players.
- Unseen by studies like Comcast’s, the vast majority of job boards are small and niche-y. The long tail is alive and well in the job board business.
- Monster’s corresponding abrupt declines in consumer confidence and traffic have created a Greenfield opportunity. While CareerBuilder sucked up half of the market growth, the real story is that Indeed and SimplyHired are now the big guys.
- As the newspaper industry sputters and dies, there is little remaining incentive to fund juggernauts like CareerBuilder (which remains unprofitable)
In other words, HotJobs, the shopworn but well oiled Yahoo property may be the last man standing at the end of 2009. It’s the only major job board with enough content to handle the cyclical and contradictory nature of the job board business. With a little luck, Yahoo will remain intact and HotJobs will become the jewel in the crown.
A couple of well known bloggers have feathered their nests by assaulting Monster in a variety of incarnations. Monster’s current management has made that like shooting fish in a barrel. It looks like the revised site design came to market just in time to absorb the second bit of security damage. It’s hard not to make fun of the gang who couldn’t shoot straight.
Meanwhile, sourcing techniques coupled with Google’s massive databases (they now have a trillion URLs in the search engine database) have created an interesting alternative. There are real questions about job board viability. (Please get in touch with Ami Givertz and take one of his webinars if you want to see what I mean). A competent recruiter can build a massive desktop toolkit online today.
The real long term problem for online job ads is perception.
There is a powerful and important role for targeted distribution of job opening information, Coupled with employment branding, it is one of the most compelling areas of internet content. (Of course porn, sports, business, cars and real estate will come first until the reader is anxious or frustrated). While important, online employment advertising is a supplement to not a replacement for recruiting. A newspaper or job board never made a hiring decision. They simply increase the flow of information about the opportunity. Cumulative collections of opportunities (as delivered by SimplyHired and Indeed) provide job hunting context.
There is no danger that the job board business is going to go away. It will morph profoundly.