Go to any animal shelter and you will usually see pets that simply got too big for their owners – hulking St. Bernards, twelve-foot pythons, walking catfish, and so on. It’s easy in hindsight to blame the owners. But the owners weren’t thinking about how big the animal would one day become; they were focused on how much they wanted it.
Since roughly 2005, job boards have lived with aggregators such as Indeed andSimplyHired. As discussed in a previous post, the coexistence has had its positives for job boards (lots of traffic) and negatives (competition for direct employers). But for most sites, the relationship has been positive – the aggregators have created more traffic and response than these sites could have obtained on their own. In fact, I’d argue that many boards became addicted to the aggregator traffic.
Over the past few months, however, Indeed has made a couple of moves that have folks in the industry talking:
- No more ‘free posting’ sites: Sometime around January 2011, Indeed began ridding itself of job postings from ‘free to post’ sites. In conversations with those at the company, I was told that this was in direct response to ‘hundreds’ of complaints from job seekers about ‘fake’ postings – all of which were traced back to the ‘free posting’ sites. Thus, Indeed no longer accepts job feeds from such sites.
- Job seekers can post resumes: In the past few weeks Indeed has quietly rolled out a new feature that allows job seekers to post their resumes – something which had never been offered before. When asked about the change by ERE.net, CEO Paul Forster said, “I’m not aware of any feedback from job boards on this. We have always seen job boards as partners and don’t see that changing for any reason.”
What is a job boarder to think about the above? Well…
- The optimist: This is just the same old friendly puppy – no changes. Good riddance to the free sites, and who cares about the resumes.
- The nervous realist: Geez, when did that puppy get so gosh-darned big? And eating all the time, too! First the free sites went, then…. And resumes – they comprise 30% of my revenue stream. It’s kinda warm in here.
- The cynical survivor: I told you we should have killed the puppy in 2005! That’s not a puppy, it’s a #$%* elephant! They’ve got enough direct employers to start dumping those job boards that aren’t profitable for them. And of course they’re adding resumes – that’s what the direct employers want.
The real answer? Only Indeed (and its competitors) knows. They are a for-profit company, so they will do what they deem best to stay profitable and grow. The online recruitment industry is changing rapidly, and they are no doubt reacting to that change.
Lest we forget: it’s always prudent to know the difference between an elephant and a puppy.