I want to be clear - as a recruiter and veteran in the HR/Recruiting field for almost 18 years, I like to think I know how to recognize a good thing when it relates to job seekers and candidate engagement. Heck, trying to find better and sustainable ways to connect talent to big recruiting teams is something I've been passionate about for years. So it should be no mystery that I'm certainly interested in features or updates like the one recently at LinkedIn that will allow job seekers to express interest in job postings and share their online profiles with just the click of a button. Which organisations decide to adopt this based on their application processes (or restrictions) should be interesting - and for the record, I think this is a step towards the evolution of both online and mobile applications.
What I do NOT think is that we're necessarily seeing a definitive step towards the "death of job boards" big or small. My opinion is contrary to the one that Dan Schawbel shares in his latest Forbes article where he shared his belief that recruiters using job boards to find candidates are "lazy." Of course when I read his posting I had to do a bit of homework on Dan because until that moment I'd been under the impression that he had no recruiting, sourcing or direct job board experience whatsoever. So you can imagine my position as an advocate of both the recruiter and the job seeker when it was confirmed via his LinkedIn profile this is in fact the case. Not even a hint of recruiting experience.
Unfortunately it would seem that Dan, a self-proclaimed "guru" and man that makes a living telling Gen Y and Millenials how to brand themselves, has done an incredible disservice to his considerable following while simultaneously kicking dirt in the faces of hard working recruiters everywhere. Of course I should be clear that calling out Dan isn't my attempt to pick on him personally as much as it is to draw a bit of attention to what I hope job seekers aren't taking too seriously - "expert opinions." I've only met Dan in person once and I'm sure he's a fine human being... He just doesn't have any business telling recruiters what the future of their industry might hold or speaking on their behalf to job seekers at large.
So what does this mean to job seekers?
Yes, it's important to connect with recruiters wherever you can. Companies like Microsoft, GE and PepsiCo (my employer) are taking advantage of the various opportunities to connect with job seekers on Linked through the use of job listings, interest groups and more - and doing it well! I would absolutely recommend LinkedIn as a part of any active or passive job seekers arsenal both from the standpoint of being recognized and getting connected to recruiters and jobs they're qualified to take on. But it doesn't mean this is the only place an active job seeker should target.
Companies everywhere are working harder than ever to attract and find the best talent for their teams around the world. This means that they aren't typically using just one service to connect. It also means that they aren't typically using just one service to locate talent. In fact, I'd argue that employers and job boards are now actually making more progress than ever in regards to discovering how YOU want to connect and apply for jobs. The LinkedIn references above are easy examples but others include the emergence of "talent communities", mobile applications by employers as well as mobile applications by job boards and that focus on learning about the companies as much as applying for jobs. (Don't forget the push by some to allow you to apply for jobs without ever leaving your preferred social network!)
The point is that there are many different ways to connect - and it's ultimately the job seeker that continues to drive where smart companies will engage them. Tracking candidate traffic at PepsiCo, we know that that a considerable amount of our qualified job seekers come from direct traffic to our career site, email campaigns, social networking and yes, job boards (not necessarily in that order.) So while job seekers should continue to pay attention to where employers are posting jobs and keep an eye out for where they can engage hiring managers and recruiters, they certainly shouldn't put all of their eggs in one basket - or rely on one "expert chicken plucker" to tell them how to proceed or what to expect.