Optimizing the JOB SEEKER Experience

Peter Weddle

Job boards introduce new content and functionality for job seekers all the time.  While the approach is often different, the goal is always the same: to find that one new feature that will truly differentiate a site and enable it to attract more top talent than the competition.  It’s all fine and good for employers to optimize the candidate experience, but in the end, what makes a job board successful is what happens to visitors while they’re still job seekers.

So, how do you optimize the job seeker experience?  There are obviously a wide range of features and functionality that can help, but the best – the ones that will actually set a site apart and generate significantly more traffic – are those that help them deal with their new reality in the job market.

As countless reporters, bloggers and cable talking heads have opined, they are facing a new norm – one characterized by constant upheaval.  They start their job search knowing only that things will be very different from what they’ve experienced in the past.  Jobs that existed yesterday, will no longer exist tomorrow because they’ve been (a) rendered obsolete by technology or (b) sent overseas to a cheaper labor force, or (c) made redundant by of a merger or acquisition.

Compounding that disruption are changes in the way employers staff – gig workers are filling more and more corporate openings – and recruit – subjecting candidates to interviews and assessments that run on and on for months.  While at least some are paying more attention to the candidate experience, the experience of a job seeker is more frustrating and demeaning than ever.

That’s their reality.  They are being pummeled by change, and have little or no knowledge about how to survive it.  For job boards, therefore, the secret sauce of traffic attraction and loyalty is content that throws them a lifeline – a way to stay atop of the tumult.

Situational Intelligence

To pinpoint what such a lifeline might look like, we need only look as far as Glassdoor.  Its content is described as employer reviews, and you’ll certainly find plenty of criticism and cheerleading on the site.  What is more helpful to serious job seekers, however, isn’t the good, bad and ugly of this or that employer, but the insights that are provided about what it’s actually like to work in an organization.

Now, to be sure, a lot of job seekers love the gossip and log on just to read the dirt.  But in truth, what many if not most want is a clearer picture of what they might be getting into when they consider a new employer.  If switching jobs is basically an exercise in moving from the devil they know to the devil they don’t know, what Glassdoor does is give them some insights on that unknown devil.  In effect, it helps to remove some of the uncertainty in a job search.

That’s how you optimize the job seeker experience.

In an unpredictable and always changing job market, anything that helps a person be more in control of their own destiny will be seen as valuable.  That’s not the same as the usual fare on a job board: resume writing, interviewing and networking tips.  Those are helpful process guides.  They are not situational intelligence – information and insights that identify potential career opportunities and threats.

What content would provide such intelligence?

  • Forecasts of what it will be like to work in a certain field or industry or geographic location in the next 12-36 months. For example, is technology projected to take over many of the most important tasks currently being performed by an occupation’s senior level professionals?
  • Descriptions of what it’s like to work in a certain field at a certain level in a certain industry. For example, what’s it like to move from a staff position in a given occupation to a first line supervisory role and what are the pitfalls one might encounter?

These days, people are unsure of both the future in their career field, industry and home town and the accuracy of what they are told during a job search.  Situational intelligence arms them with better information and insight so they can take charge of rather than fall victim to what happens to them.  It is content that creates a sense of personal control in the face of uncertainty and that shift in the job seeker experience will distinguish and multiply a job board’s value proposition.


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 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.

pingbacks / trackbacks

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search