Job Board Journalist: Reinvention in the Age of FLIG

Peter Weddle

My first post on the Age of FLIG – a time that encompasses the entry of Facebook, LinkedIn, Indeed and Google in the talent acquisition technology market – discussed ways to prosper in such an environment. This post will explore how a job board can reinvent itself to achieve that prosperity.

Over the past decade or so, independent bookstores have experienced a situation similar to what job boards now face in their market. At first, it was big box bookstores – chiefly Barnes & Noble and Borders in the U.S. and Waterstones in the UK – that posed an existential threat to these smaller and often more specialized destinations. Today, it’s Amazon with its huge online catalog and quick delivery that’s threatening the species. As a result, legions of pundits have declared independent bookstores dead … or at the very least, about to suffer the fate of dinosaurs.

Sound familiar?

Well, guess what. Independent bookstores are now thriving … despite Amazon and what big box bookstores are still operating. According to a report in The Week, the number of such establishments has actually increased by 27 percent. That’s right. There are now more independent bookstores than there were five years ago. Equally as important, they’re also making more money. Sales at these stores outpaced book sales in general across the market.

So, what can we learn from their experience that might help job boards achieve the same success in the Age of FLIG? Independent bookstores had to reinvent themselves to compete, and job boards will have to do the same. That reinvention was all about the experience they provided to visitors.

A Unique & Compelling Experience

Small bookstores differentiate themselves from big box bookstores and from Amazon by offering venues with interesting and unique architecture, book-smart employees who are passionate about reading, and face-to-face meetings with authors and others who enjoy a good book. On top of that, they work at diversifying their product line – offering stationary, bookbags, even t-shirts and more – and perhaps, most importantly, building a sense of community among store patrons.

Job boards must do no less. A look-alike job board is a strategy for failure in the Age of FLIG, so job boards must also be inventive in designing a distinctive look and feel for their establishment. A logo and color scheme won’t get the job done, but tailored activities, capabilities, and interactions will.

For example, a site might offer its current and potential customers a Recruiter’s Spa where recruiters can get tips on how to advance the health of THEIR career by leveraging best practices in recruiting and the features and functionality on the site. It might also form a partnership with another talent acquisition solution company – say a text messaging company – and offer a tutorial on how best to leverage that technology for candidate communications.

Similarly, the site might also promote a sense of community among its customers by offering discussion groups for beginning, intermediate and advanced recruiters. It could create the virtual equivalent of an author’s tour for bookstores by scheduling and promoting the appearance of talent acquisition thought leaders in each of those groups. Unlike with authors, however, the role of these experts is not to lecture or even opine, but rather to spark and moderate discussions among each group on topics important to them.

These days, of course, recruiters can find similar experiences on other sites. In fact, publishing generic content – stuff you can find on every other job board – is also a strategy for failure in the Age of FLIG. To be successful, a job board must curate and focus its content just as independent bookstores do. However, instead of being known as a place to get great books for children or science fiction or history, they must brand themselves as a great place to get insights on how best to recruit recent college graduates or higher education professionals or athletic team trainers.

Launching these and other experience-enhancing capabilities will position a job board for long term success in the market, but it’s only step one. Aggressively promoting those capabilities among a site’s customer demographics is an equally essential step two. It is also a particularly challenging task, as job boards will have to overcome their legacy brand as destinations that offer little or nothing in the way of a distinctive experience. Refuting the critics’ claim that “if you’ve been to one job board, you’ve been to them all” isn’t easy, but it’s no more difficult than convincing book buyers there’s something special at each and every independent bookstore.

Food for Thought,

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

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2018 events include:

• February 12-13, 2018 Scottsdale, Arizona USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on AI/Machine Learning in Talent Acquisition – the only conference totally focused on the capabilities and impact of AI/ML/NLP in recruitment. See you next year!

• March 13-14, 2018 Dublin, Ireland: TAtechEurope 2018 – the premier event for recruitment advertising and technology thought & business leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. See you next year!

• April 18-19, 2018 Las Vegas, Nevada USA: The TAtech Spring Congress & Meetup – a unique conference designed to maximize opportunities for B2B networking, trending topic discussions and the exploration of partnerships and business opportunities. See you next year!

• June 5-6, 2018 Minneapolis, Minnesota USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying – the only conference totally focused on the technology and applications of programmatic ad buying by both publishers and advertisers.

• September 26-27, 2018 Bourbon Street New Orleans, Louisiana USA: The TAtech Fall Congress & World Job Board Forum – the Global Economic Forum of recruiting, this event brings together thought & business leaders from job boards and all other talent acquisition technology solutions companies around the world.


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