As the next post of the “Future Series” I had always planned to write about the future of job boards and their role in the changing the world of work, recruitment and technology.
The more I pondered, discussed and debated this subject, however, the more I realised that looking only at the traditional job boards is far too limiting. Instead it would be better to write about digital talent acquisition per se. There are three reasons for this:
- The leading traditional job boards have already developed into far more sophisticated and wider ranging digital talent acquisition platforms, by embracing social & mobile for instance, than they receive credit for.
- There are newer models such as talent pools, aggregators, ATS and corporate hirers that are pushing into the same space.
- The development and use of technology will result in a convergence of lots of different business models along the recruitment value chain. Structural change is about to happen.
As always I use the term “recruiter” when referring to the person doing the recruiting, independent of their employment status, and CV equals resume.
Two minutes to midnight
The internet has changed the world as we know it and job boards have played their part in shaking up the recruitment industry. In the last 15 years the biggest impact was felt within recruitment media – with the move of so called classified advertising online, the demise of the trade press and the downward pressure on recruitment advertising agencies – and more lately in recruitment software.
In the next 15 years the impact will be felt within talent acquisition. There has already been an impact, but nothing as dramatic as what happened to recruitment media and what will happen to the elements along the recruitment value chain, especially the ones sitting between talent acquisition and internal systems.
Ride the lightning
The more technology is advancing, the more it mirrors real life. That is the same for recruitment and talent attraction and talent acquisition. Recruitment always has been and always will be about:
- Matching people to people: people that have skills and knowledge and people that need these skills and that knowledge; additionally matched against a multitude of other criteria such as location, salary, culture, etc.
- Activating people: finding opportunities and helping people understand and take the opportunities with the ideal outcome of increasing choice. Activation happens through matching (if I see an opportunity that completely fits my desires, I’m highly likely to become active) and it is therefore secondary to matching.
My body is a cage
To me, the three principles that are the mindset of joboard success are People, Balance and Technology (for a more in-depth description, please read the following post: People, Balance & Technology – the future of job boards ). It is Matching and Activation – or the M&A of Recruitment – that drives the delivery of this success.
The initial matching will be from one piece of information to another: CV to job, CV to CV, job to job. The measure of success will be activation levels – a CV becomes a candidate and a job becomes a hirer. So ultimately it’s about matching people and finding people to work with and communicating this match in the most relevant manner.
But information doesn’t stop with a CV in its loosest term. It will be augmented with behavioural data (applications made etc) as well as profile clusters of people with a similar profile. The active user input will be important but less significant. So the matching (and therefore the recommendations) will increase in accuracy through a mixture of crowd-sourcing and technology, resulting in fewer and more accurate matches. This use of technology will also deliver results that the individual might not have thought about, as it is outside of his/her self-categorisation. It firmly falls into the “read my mind and deliver me the most tailored, best fitting results” category. And increased relevance leads to lower quantity but higher quality activation for both job seeker and recruiter. But it doesn’t need to stop with individuals. This approach could be extended to the matching of (global) teams against tasks.
The re-activation will be driven by desire – what would be my dream job – and by prediction – comparing the current location on the career ladder, the salary scale, etc – to the one achieved by people with similar skills and experiences. Or by sending a recruiter people similar to those previously hired. As you can see the candidate remains the value driver and is actively reminded of his/her value.
In a previous post I stated that people just want to two things from brands and companies: 1) Solve my problem and 2) make me feel good. These can be translated to convenience and experience. The M&A of recruitment delivers exactly that.
In the near future the best of these M&A systems will be data agnostic, especially as individuals own data and companies can only ever know the individual to his or her benefit. So the entire debate about “CVs are dead” is irrelevant and unhelpful. A form of CV will always exists, but we can safely say the future won’t be about data storage or data ownership, it’s about being able to use as much data as possible, wherever it might be, to make the best match. Let’s also be clear that the people with the highest amount of engagement permissions and past data are at an advantage as they can deliver M&A more effectively from day 1.
Blinded by the light
Sometimes, and especially when a new technology or a new approach emerges, we forget about the underlying principles and get blinded by the new and shiny wonders that will make everything that we knew before hand redundant. While shiny things are always a temptation, it’s of utmost importance at this stage to keep the underlying principles at the forefront of our minds and to use them as a ruler to judge all the business models. In our industry these principles to judge business models against are Matching & Activation. The ultimate success measure will be the number of people that found a job through any given service. Let’s get started.
I also want to thank all my colleagues & friends at Jobsite, within the recruitment, internet and marketing industry that discussed, debated and dreamed with me and that influenced the views described in this post. Thank you!