Job ad posting is becoming a commodity. Borrell and Associates predict that by 2018, 72% of recruitment advertising revenues will come from services and only 28% from postings. This is up from a breakdown of 50% / 50% in 2014.
Why is this shift happening? The main reason is the growing prevalence of big market job search engines. Job search engines scrape jobs off career sites and post them for free. Then they try to convince companies to “sponsor” their ads. In other words, pay to push their jobs higher up on search result pages so they can get more views.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a payment for services rather than for the posting, so is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In the service category we also find social recruitment, company branding, corporate career site, and a variety of other services that are designed to get qualified candidates to be interested in a job and in the company that offers it.
We are in a very exciting period where a company can opt to pay more money to get more applicants. This is much better than having to pay up front for unknown results. So while getting more candidates to apply to jobs is a question of money, getting the “right” candidates to apply to a job is still a tall order.
Job boards say to the employer: “you pay more, you get more” and the employer answers: “I do not want more applicants, I want more quality applicants”. This is not something that job boards can control. Even if job boards screen or “match” candidates to a job, quality remains a completely subjective matter.
One company may consider a candidate as a great match for the job, while another company may view them as unqualified. The candidates may have the same set of skills but something in their resume may trigger different responses from recruiters.
There are ways to get a sense of what the employer would consider quality. For example, candidates who find their way to an interview may be considered higher quality than just applicants. If the advertiser is willing to give us some kind of feedback on the candidate’s quality then software algorithms can adjust the search result pages in order to attract more qualified candidates (similar to those candidates that the employer previously liked). That may sound like science fiction but it is very feasible, even using today’s technologies.
In the meantime, what do we say to an employer who complains that your job board has not delivered enough quality candidates? The simplest answer is to “invest more money and get more applicants”, with the hope that one of them will be a good fit. Like in many areas of advertising, it’s a numbers’ game. With a lot of candidates the chances of finding a qualified one are higher.
Recruitment technologies of the future will undoubtedly address the quality challenges.
Still, when your job board is able to deliver just a few high quality applicants, the employer is likely to complain, this time about the quantity. They want both quality and quantity.