Jobs boards are essential tools for recruiters. From the leading sites like Indeed and LinkedIn to an array of industry-specific niche boards, these sites remain the top source of interested job seekers.
Even as hiring and job posting has slowed down, the job board market is thriving, and the industry remains fiercely competitive.
Neil Costa, CEO at HireClix, a recruitment marketing agency based in the Boston area, discussed jobs boards and job advertising trends for 2024 with SHRM Online.
Neil Costa, CEO at HireClix
SHRM Online: What are some of your predictions for the job board industry this year?
Costa: The job board industry is ripe for consolidation. Talent acquisition tech companies, including job boards, went through a bunch of layoffs in 2023. So, if I was at the corporate development team at Indeed or LinkedIn, I would be thinking about where I could pick up value before the market picks up steam again.
There is some opportunity this year for the two job site giants to innovate through acquisition. That could come in the form of grabbing a job board like Monster or CareerBuilder if the price is right or grabbing some of the leading sourcing technologies like SeekOut or HireEZ. There’s exciting innovation happening there, and they could be successfully embedded into Indeed Resume or LinkedIn Recruiter.
Each year that goes by, Monster and CareerBuilder are brands that fade more and more. When you mention Monster to someone from Gen Z, they’re thinking energy drinks, not jobs. They are still hanging on, but there is good value in those two brands that someone could scoop up.
There are a ton of smaller job boards out there, as well, and some of them find it hard to get attention from HR buyers. Indeed or LinkedIn could buy up some of those boards and create an internal network of sites, the way that Indeed did with SimplyHired in 2016.
I do think the niche job boards still provide good value for the markets they serve. They are still important. Dice and ClearanceJobs are good examples of that. I think it’s more likely that the generalist job boards are susceptible to being scooped up in an acquisition since they struggle to differentiate themselves and have to battle for purchasing expensive traffic to get unique job seekers.
SHRM Online: Sticking with Indeed, has the company fully recovered from its attempted pay-per-application move?
Costa: Indeed is the market leader and has the most traffic. I don’t think they saw a material hit to their revenue because of their test with pay-per-application. It was a challenge to the market perception of their brand in some small pockets, but I think they have recovered. I think you can appreciate the intent behind the move—to get paid when there is a positive outcome—but it wasn’t the best execution and it hit smaller employers harder than expected.
I think Indeed will continue to focus on and invest in employer branding. Instead of having applicants just hit the Apply Now button, have them understand why they should apply. Have them get to know the brand. If there was more job seeker education on the front end, you could bring in better quality applicants and make it a better experience for everybody.
SHRM Online: Will Glassdoor be subsumed by Indeed, as some predicted when the two companies were merged in 2018?
Costa: Glassdoor is a significant brand to suppress. I don’t see the brand itself being suppressed. It serves a different but complementary model to what core Indeed is doing. But we will continue to see the two companies’ business operations consolidate. Accounting and marketing are working more closely together; they’re operating more as one company. They’ve done a good job positioning the brands as separate but part of the same family.
SHRM Online: What is your take on Indeed’s latest announcement about specialist media networks?
Costa: Indeed has a significant advantage in the first-party data they own on job seekers. Think about the millions of people that search for jobs on Indeed—they know a lot about those people. They can use that data to re-target on specialist media networks. That’s a big advantage and a smart move. Whether we invest in the networks will depend on making sure that it gets a return. But it is smart to package media in a way to support functional areas like technology and health care. The Indeed networks are nice packaging for an employer that wants a turnkey advertising solution. It would be more difficult to assemble a media campaign that would include all of those sites in the network because if you go to Wired or Stack Overflow individually, it would likely be costly. You could try a programmatic consumer advertising campaign, but that takes a skill set that an internal HR team likely does not have.
SHRM Online: What about Google for Jobs and the news that Google is sunsetting its paid job ads program, even before it was officially released?
Costa: It’s unfortunate that Google abandoned the paid Google Job Ads effort, but it is great news for Indeed, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter and other job boards. As an agency, it just means we will need to work with employers and double down on three efforts:
- Firming up programmatic and job board advertising efforts.
- Building specific strategies for core Google Ads and Bing campaigns to play in the core search advertising space.
- Taking advantage of building employer branding campaigns on consumer sites like CNN, ESPN, Reddit, Spotify, YouTube, Hulu and TikTok.
Google for Jobs is an important channel. There’s a lot of work to be done for recruiting teams to get their career sites optimized for Google for Jobs. But given the size and concentration of job seekers available through Google, employers must do the hard work.
Google did a good job working with the job boards to get as many jobs up as possible without scraping careers sites. But over time, Google will value the jobs directly from employers and devalue the jobs scraped from job boards. Google ultimately wants to give the searcher the best experience, so why send them to a third party when they can send them right to the employer?
SHRM Online: Will we see more interactive content like video job descriptions?
Costa: I think video will be very important. It’s imperative for employers to figure out how to participate in the way more and more people are consuming content, especially the younger generations.
It can happen a couple of different ways. One is putting more spend behind incredible advertising opportunities on YouTube and TikTok. People are not doing enough on those channels to claim market mindshare for their employer brand. You won’t see a lot of direct applies from YouTube to your ATS [applicant tracking system], but you will have the ability to influence and target. People spend a ton of time on those sites. They only spend a fraction of that time on a job board. If you can get multiple brand impressions out there, then you’re doing a great job. We’ve seen an uptick in interest in using channels like YouTube, TikTok, Spotify, even Reddit.
When it comes to video content on the employer’s career site, anything that brings the flat two-dimensional content to life—whether it’s video job descriptions or some other video content like testimonials or a job preview—that is also really important.
Use of video has been inconsistent, and content development has been the biggest obstacle, meaning capturing the content, editing it and getting it through corporate approvals. Video is perishable, so you must have a healthy cadence when putting it out there. It can’t just be once or twice a year to be effective.
Employers should be looking at the portability of video content. Video in a job ad will get the ad indexed for SEO [search engine optimization], and you could repurpose that content on YouTube and TikTok. The audio from those videos could be edited and repurposed as ads on Spotify.
SHRM Online: How will generative artificial intelligence impact job board use?
Costa: It gives everyone an advantage when it comes to written content. Recruiters can better articulate a job description [and] work on ad copy and career site content. When reviewing job applications, there are concerns about whether what has been submitted is really in the applicant’s voice. Are we verifying content from job seekers because it can now be generated through technology versus the person’s actual experience?
Candidate outreach will certainly be impacted. Not too long ago, we were talking about somewhat static chatbot responses, but this has the potential to generate real engagement, and it will be exciting to see where it goes.