Monday, February 6, 2012

Is this the Beginning of The End for Job Boards?

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Last week Monster Worldwide Inc. announced it has laid off roughly 7 percent of its worldwide workforce according to a recent article by Rodney H. Brown .

This brings to mind the question whether or not this spells the beginning of the end for online job boards.

Social media and online networking sites are quickly becoming a major player in the recruiting game. Referrals, references, resumes and recommendations are like Kevin Bacon except they’re only one or two network levels away. Candidates and employers are connecting in specialized online groups and micro communities. Instant messaging and proprietary network email can often cut steps for recruiting firms and hiring managers to find the right fit for their job. Let’s call it job boards “plus.”

Could it also be that the major players in the job board game are pricing themselves out of the market?

Maybe. Maybe not.  Make no mistake the boards are still a viable source for many companies to find exactly who and what they need. 

However, one can make an argument that for specialized positions, which are growing increasingly common, the job boards lose some of their luster. Productivity gains over the years have created new jobs with more individual responsibility and that require larger skill sets.

Increasingly specific job descriptions are also an indirect result of the recession. For the past three or so years, employers have been enjoying their pick of top candidates and rejecting talent for lack of a single skill. For these types of positions, job boards are more of a starting point than a means to find the next hire.

Small companies, start-ups and recruiting firms are still recovering from the economic collapse of 2008. Many are hard pressed to afford posting fees almost 10 times higher than they were when the majors were starting out.  The boards are seemingly forcing the little guys to get creative with social media and encouraging the large companies to consider a radical shift in their sourcing and recruiting strategies.

Put all these factors together and it’s looking bleak for the major boards.

The major job boards will begin to realize that getting back what they’ve already lost is significantly more difficult than sustaining their momentum would have been.  It’s easy to lose sight of keeping your momentum when everything is going great.  Now that the tables have turned, seemingly overnight to a candidates market, simply lowering fees again will not bring back what they have lost.  We know that economically jobs and housing are tied together, so just as plummeting housing prices did not bring back the real estate boom, reduced job board fees will not bring back the companies who have already been alienated.  Once bitten, twice shy… 

Is it the beginning of the end? No one knows for sure. That little voice in the back of my head says it might be headed in the same direction as Tom Brady’s Hail Mary in last night’s game.