Three things that could hurt job boards

Three things that could hurt job boardsWhy am I talk­ing about three things that could job boards? Well, basi­cal­ly, because of Joel Cheesman. Yes, that Joel, of Chadand­Cheese.

It all start­ed with a show they had last fall, in which Joel iden­ti­fied what he called the Four Horse­men of the Apoc­a­lypse – for the job board indus­try. Then I wrote a piece dis­agree­ing, and then we had a very  civ­il dis­cus­sion on the Chad­Cheese pod­cast. Long sto­ry short, I told Joel that – while he was wrong about his four horse­men – I thought there real­ly were three things that could hurt job boards. He imme­di­ate­ly dubbed them the ‘unholy trin­i­ty’. The guy’s a word­smith!

So enough pre­am­ble. What are the three things that could hurt job boards? And why you care? Let’s take a clos­er look:

  • Threat #1: App­cast.Yes, folks, from the moment that App­cast bought the Bayard Agency, it moved from ‘part­ner’ to ‘threat’. of like what Indeed did to job boards back in the 2000s – it start­ed out as a ‘part­ner’, sell­ing traf­fic – and then flipped to ‘threat’ by going direct to employ­ers. Guess what? His­to­ry does repeat itself – App­cast is doing the same thing. After pio­neer­ing pro­gram­mat­ic adver­tis­ing in the job board indus­try, it steadi­ly up its net­work of sites, improved its tech­nol­o­gy – and then found a buy­er in Step­stone. Now, with the capa­bil­i­ties of Bayard, it has begun acquir­ing those same employ­ers that were using job boards. It’s called get­ting rid of the mid­dle­man. Sev­er­al of my clients have felt the sting of los­ing clients to Appcast/Bayard – a sting that I sus­pect will spread as Appcast/Bayard con­tin­ue their expan­sion. It’s smart for App­cast – but cold com­fort for the affect­ed job boards. Is App­cast going to become an Indeed-sized threat? Quite pos­si­bly.
  • Threat #2: the death of engines: Job boards have depend­ed on search engines since their incep­tion. In order for can­di­dates to dis­cov­er job boards, they need to be able to find them – and of course that’s where the search engines came in. From the ear­li­est days with Yahoo!, Lycos, and Alta Vista, to our cur­rent world of Google, Google, and…umm…ok, Bing, job boards have relied on both the paid and organ­ic traf­fic that search engines pro­vide. But what if the impor­tance of search engines as dis­cov­ery tools fad­ed – or even dis­ap­peared? Before you say, ‘No way’, think about how AI, Tik­Tok, and yes, even Face­book have pro­vid­ed ways for users to find what they want on the inter­net. Will search engines – or die? If the lat­ter, job boards will have lit­tle choice but to adapt them­selves – or dis­ap­pear.
  • Threat #3: gen­er­a­tional This one is the most iffy – but also in some ways the biggest threat. What if an entire­ly new gen­er­a­tion of HR and recruit­ment spe­cial­ists no longer see job boards as use­ful recruit­ment tools? Some would argue that we’re already there – but giv­en the growth and expan­sion in the job board indus­try, I don’t think that’s true. How­ev­er – a new gen­er­a­tion of recruiters – let’s call them Gen­er­a­tion R – might have a very dif­fer­ent out­look. Why? Per­haps years of labor short­ages, changes in work for­mats (such as remote), world­wide pan­demics, and war could bring a very dif­fer­ent mind­set to the how of acquir­ing tal­ent – a mind­set that might decide to exclude job boards for a vari­ety of rea­sons. One fac­tor against this threat – hun­dreds of thou­sands of (in this case, Gen­er­a­tion R) rarely move in one direc­tion for any length of time. is just too com­plex. But…you nev­er know.

There you have it – what Joel has dubbed the ‘unholy trin­i­ty’. Am I right? Wrong? Let me know. And yes, I know Joel will want to chime in….

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