Reasons Online Job Boards Face Extinction

Traditional job boards are reeling, as candidates, recruiters, and employers increasingly turn to social networkings sites like LinkedIn. Here are some reasons why traditional job boards are going the way of the dinosaur.

Technology moves fast. It pays little respect for tradition, riding roughshod over the past and present. The history of technological innovation is littered with examples that were once fixtures in most people’s lives, until something new and better came along to displace them. The pay phone, the VCR, the Polaroid camera – the list of obsolete artifacts is long, and ever-expanding.

Today, the online job board could very well be the next in line to join this museum of relics.

Of course, until quite recently, jobseekers and employers alike relied heavily on sites like Monster and Careerbuilder for discovering new opportunities and sourcing candidates. These sites, however, are quickly being made redundant by the rise of social networks like LinkedIn.

In fact, LinkedIn has almost exclusively cornered the market on online recruitment, as demonstrated by the success of its stock in the past year.  According to a recent article on ere.net, Linkedin earned 35 cents per share on revenues of $303.6 million. Its recruitment revenue in the fourth quarter exceeded what it pulled in during 2011’s fourth quarter by 90 per cent. If revenue growth is a reflection of successful execution and delivery, then clearly, LinkedIn is getting it right.

To be sure, job boards continue to be helpful for hiring in certain niche fields, and aggregator sites like Indeed are still used a fair bit (some of them don’t charge for postings). But compared to LinkedIn, most of the traditional job boards and aggregators are not faring too well.

Context
So what specifically is causing individuals, recruiters, and hiring managers to retreat from job boards and flock en masse to LinkedIn instead?

LinkedIn provides a sense of social connectivity and dynamism that you simply can’t find on a static job board. For a recruiter or employer, poring through applications on Monster or Careerbuilder amounts to examining candidates in a vacuum: they have little information to go on besides the resumes submitted by applicants.

But compared to LinkedIn, most of the traditional job boards and aggregators are not faring too well.

With LinkedIn, recruiters not only receive a comprehensive picture of the candidate’s previous job experiences and skills. They are also privy to quite a bit of additional, often equally relevant information. Among other things, they can see the professional discussion groups a candidate has joined and contributed to; the amount of time she’s invested in updating her profile; the people she’s connected to and the individuals that have endorsed her. None of the valuable tidbits would be possible on a site like Monster or Careerbuilder.

Exposure to a candidate’s circle
When you read someone’s resume on a job board, you have very little sense of who they’re connected to, professionally, or how interested they are in networking. On LinkedIn, by contrast, you’re able to see how connected a candidate is and how invested they are in building and maintaining strong professional connections with previous employers, colleagues, and fellows in their field.

To be sure, the number of connections a person has on LinkedIn might be construed as rather superficial information. But for recruiters and hiring managers, it can actually provide insight into how motivated a candidate is in developing their career, as well as how well they understand the nuances of their industry and the major players within it.

LinkedIn has proven to be a boon to those of us in the recruiting industry, in particular: if you and a candidate happen to share a contact, you can easily ask that mutual connection if the candidate is worth following up on.

Adaptability
Job boards have become a little stagnant, in terms of their feature sets and offerings. LinkedIn, on the other hand, has been proactive in adapting to the needs of recruiters. In 2009, they created a LinkedIn Recruiter feature specifically for recruiters and hiring managers, with a host of advanced search and posting/promotion options.

More recently, they launched an “Apply with LinkedIn” button meant to appear on company websites, which allows job applicants to submit their LinkedIn profile in lieu of a traditional resume.

LinkedIn provides a sense of social connectivity and dynamism that you simply can’t find on a static job board.

Access to a passive talent pool
As we’ve discussed before, recruiters put a lot of stock into sourcing those passive jobseeker gems – already employed individuals who are not actively seeking a job, but may nonetheless be ripe for headhunting.

With a job board, you limit yourself to the pool of active jobseekers. But with LinkedIn, you as a recruiter or employer can have your pick of the lot, from both active and passive lookers. The choice is a simple one.

A filter for identifying serious – and seriously impressive – candidates
Once a candidate has uploaded their resume to a job board, they’re reduced to playing the waiting game: they can do little else besides cross their fingers and hope that their file finds its way into the right hands, notwithstanding the sea of applicants. After they’ve clicked the “submit” link, there’s nothing more a candidate can do to make their name stand out in the crowd.

But on LinkedIn, filling out a profile or uploading a resume is only the beginning of the process. In fact, a candidate has to continue to put in a fair bit of work to manage a strong online presence (and avoid or undo any damage).

For recruiters, this means that the candidates whose profiles come up in response to relevant keyword searches or as a result of their abundant connections are likely to be the fittest of the bunch – the most ambitious, motivated, and serious jobseekers. As with natural selection, the weaker candidates are filtered out in advance.

So until a competing professional networking site steps up to the plate, LinkedIn will continue to reign as the superior venue for job posting and recruitment. The older job boards will have to evolve in order to keep pace with their competitors, or risk vanishing completely.

Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!