Job Board Journalist: Confront the Critics

Peter Weddle

I read another blog post the other day by a self-appointed pundit opining that job boards are yesterday’s recruiting solution. Despite the results of survey-after-survey confirming the central role job boards continue to play in corporate talent acquisition, this drivel is still being circulated both online and in conference presentations. It got me to thinking – should we just ignore such nonsense or should we confront it?

I understand that responding to statements about the decline or demise of job boards can look defensive, even if those statements are inaccurate and often self-serving. I’ve heard the rationale for taking the high road and not engaging with those who rattle off these comments in an effort to make themselves look edgy or like one of the cool kids.

Besides, it’s not as if the criticism isn’t at least partially on point. Sadly, some job boards are outdated and probably at risk of failing. That said, there are many, many more job boards that have:
• used solution stacking to dramatically expand the range of sourcing, assessment and candidate management products and services they offer to employers;
• implemented state-of-the-art advertising technologies such as programmatic ad buying to significantly enhance the effectiveness of recruitment advertising;
• expanded their outreach to job seekers by adding niche aggregation and social media to the capabilities they offer employers; and
• broadened their content to provide information and insights that attract passive prospects as well as active job seekers, thereby expanding the pool of talent employers can tap.

And since that’s so, I would argue that the time has come to counter the critics. In fact, there are two other reasons to do so. First, these claims that job boards are dead or dinosaurs aren’t going to go away of their own accord. We can’t just hunker down and wait until they’re forgotten. And second, if we don’t refute these falsehoods, they can – and likely will – become the accepted truth. If we don’t set the record straight, the erroneous record will be deemed correct.

Experienced recruiters know better, so why is that a problem? Because turnover among recruiters has been and continues to be high. In other words, there are freshly minted recruiters coming into the profession all the time. If all they hear from their first day on the job is a critical commentary about job boards, well then, that’s likely to be the view they adopt.

So, I think the best defense at this point is a good offense. And what’s a good offense? Well, here are three steps that will get you started.

1. Debate the doomsayers. Comment on their blog posts and tell them to put their facts where their opinions are. Demand that they prove their claim about job boards with data. Or better yet, challenge them to refute the survey data – you can find plenty of it with a simple browser search – that prove job boards remain one of the most effective sources of new external hires.

2. Revive or launch customer conferences. So-called “user group meetings” – real world gatherings of sites and their customers – used to be fairly common among job boards. Today, not so much, and that’s a development we need to correct. Yes, the meetings are expensive and time-consuming, but in-person interactions are the best antidote to baseless claims about job board ineffectiveness. No less important, the information and training that’s provided make recruiters better (and more satisfied) consumers of job board services.

3. Leverage your marketing investments. Job boards spend millions of dollars each year exhibiting at and attending recruitment conferences. All too often, however, the programming at these events ignores job boards and topics that would enable recruiters to make better use of them (e.g., best practices for writing a job posting, searching a resume database, developing a brand ad). That lack of coverage isn’t benign; it sends an implicit message that job boards aren’t important enough to warrant recruiters’ attention. And, worse, we implicitly accept such second class positioning by continuing to spend our money without arguing that the conferences should be more inclusive in their programming. I’m not talking about pay-to-play; I’m saying that the skills and knowledge required to use job boards effectively are just as important to recruiters’ success as knowing how to send an engaging InMail to someone on LinkedIn, and that means such content should be an integral part of every talent acquisition conference.

Silence isn’t golden. It’s capitulation.

Food for thought,

The Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle is brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2017 & 2018 events include:
• September 27-29, 2017 Denver: The TAtech Fall Congress & Deal Center, with The World Job Board Forum and the 2017 ReSI Awards Gala.
• March 13-14, 2018 Dublin, Ireland TAtechEurope 2018, The TAtech Industry Congress in Europe – the premier event for recruitment technology thought & business leaders worldwide.
• April, 2018 in Las Vegas: The TAtech Spring Congress & Deal Center. See the 2017 conference details here.
• June 5-6, 2018: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying. See the 2017 conference details here.

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