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Shifting Sands in Recruitment Marketing

On December 4, 2017, in HRExaminer, by Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Sometimes, change occurs so slowly you scarcely register it. And sometimes change happens quickly. This would be the past several years, where Google and Facebook decided to enter the recruitment marketing industry, and Microsoft got serious about deep integration with LinkedIn.


Sometimes, change occurs so slowly you scarcely register it. This would have been the recruitment marketing world in the 2000s, when Monster reigned supreme and two uppity newcomers named Indeed and LinkedIn were still getting their feet wet.

And sometimes change happens quickly. This would be the past several years, where Google and Facebook decided to enter the recruitment marketing industry, and Microsoft got serious about deep integration with LinkedIn.

I’ve been in the industry for decades, and tend to be a skeptic about ‘revolutions’ and ‘disruptions.’ But, the three changes mentioned in the preceding paragraph have, I believe, the potential to fundamentally change the recruitment marketing world – and generate ripples that will affect job boards, ATSs, recruitment marketing platforms, sourcing tools, and all the other players in this industry. Let’s take a closer look.

Jeff Dickey-Chasins aka "The Job Board Doctor", HRExaminer.com Editorial Advisory Board

Jeff Dickey-Chasins aka “The Job Board Doctor”, Member HRExaminer.com Editorial Advisory Board


Google: I consider Google to be an ecosystem player: it has provided the backbone for the job board industry for years. Surveys show that job seekers start their search for jobs on Google – which historically has led them to aggregators, job boards, and employer career sites. In other words, Google rules job discovery.

Things have changed: Google has moved into employment in a big way. First, Google jobs markup directly addresses the job seeker ‘discovery’ process. If a job posting is structured to follow the Google guidelines, Google pushes it to the top of the pile when someone searches for it. This has obvious benefits for those who participate (their jobs are seen more frequently) – and it levels the playing field for those employers (and others) who had been pushed down in the search results by aggregators.

Next, Google’s Cloud Job Discovery brings the company’s search technology to job boards and career sites. Early adopters have reported that the quality of their search results is up – and so are qualified applications.

Finally, Google looked at its G Suite customers – roughly 3 million small and medium sized businesses – and realized they were handling their hiring on spreadsheets and word processors. So Google launched Hire, a stripped down ATS. It’s entirely likely that Hire will end up rolling out to all businesses – not just G Suite clients.

Think about it: With these 3 initiatives, Google has tacking job discovery, matching and candidate quality, and candidate management. Where will it end? I don’t know – but it’s early days. This is the beginning of the beginning for them. There will more – much more.

Facebook: The social media giant has dabbled before in the recruiting pool – but finally jumped in this year with their jobs program. It’s still evolving, but in a nutshell, employers can post jobs to their company pages, candidates can apply, and – in a recent development – include their resume. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Except: millions of SMBs rely on Facebook to be their ‘face to the world’. These companies don’t necessarily have websites, but they have Facebook pages – so having Facebook handle their hiring needs is a big deal.

Don’t forget, too, that Facebook – unlike Google or, to a lesser degree, LinkedIn – is a closed system. What users reveal/upload in Facebook stays there. And you know that every job view and application is being tracked and tied to a user’s previous activities. Expect some serious predictive analytics for businesses that want to find their next superstar employee.

Who does this affect? Well…pretty much any recruitment marketing business that caters to the SMB market. That means ZipRecruiter, Snagajob, Indeed…well, you get the idea. At present, Facebook is ‘partnering’ with some of these recruiting companies. I expect that to last just as long as it takes for Facebook to extract the client relationships and relevant knowledge they need to ‘take over the biz’. Then it’s Facebook all the way.

LinkedIn: Of the three I’ve mentioned, only LinkedIn has been a significant player in recruitment marketing for the last decade. Things have been relatively quiet on the LI front since its acquisition by Microsoft – until this year. In fairly rapid succession, we’ve seen integrations between LI and Office: in Office 365 ‘profile cards’, in Outlook (mini versions of a contact’s LI profile), and…Word. The Word integration promises to be the most interesting: a user creating or modifying a resume is prompted to use Resume Assistant, which can port the user’s LI info into a resume – while along the way suggesting ways to improve the resume, based on similar LI profiles. And…RA suggests jobs the user should view. In other words, Word is becoming a job discovery tool. Take that, Google!

What does it all mean? Well, first of all: recruiting is important. We of course already knew this, being a part of the industry. But sometimes the rest of the world forgets. Also: Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn will be shaping the environment in which the rest of us function even more than they do now. So paying attention to what they’re doing is prudent.

Finally: the sands are shifting in the recruitment marketing world. But it’s also true that employers are notoriously slow to change their ways (think about those Google clients using spreadsheets!). When they do change, it’s usually because: a) they had no choice; b) someone new was hired into HR; or c) they were merged into another company. So don’t panic – and be happy we work in a vibrant, changing, and interesting industry.

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