Will Google for Jobs turn job boards into ghost towns?
A look at advanced search’s impact on career websites and the candidate experience
It’s been a few weeks since Google for Jobs was announced and went live, to the delight of job seekers everywhere. Using advanced machine learning and natural language search algorithms, the engine behind this latest development has already proven that it populates remarkably accurate results.
Are organizations adapting to this new recruitment marketing direction to remain competitive, or could this transform job advertising as we know it?
A game-changer for recruitment
When Google for Jobs was announced in May, recruiters and human resource practitioners wondered whether it would turn turn job boards into ghost towns. Luckily, the biggest names in recruitment collaborated with Google to create a central location where candidates could be matched with employers. Much of the hard work has already been done for job boards and recruitment vendors that have agreed to partner with Google for Jobs. But it remains to be seen what will happen to those who choose not to participate.
Hiring the right employees is one of the most critical tasks that management performs, but research shows many executives believe their companies are not effective at it. Google for Jobs is meant to help job seekers find job advertisements that are closely aligned with their unique qualities and backgrounds; presumably, it can only improve hiring for organizations that get on board.
Pavel Krapivin, founder and CEO of VelvetJobs, called Google for Jobs "a welcome change for the entire recruiting industry."
"I think this change will have a similar impact on the recruiting industry as Google has had on the hotel and travel industries, by showing hotel and flight results in a similar way," he told HR Dive. “It will also allow smaller players in recruitment to compete with the more established players based on the quality of their job listings instead of just their size.”
Getting in front of candidates now
In recruiting, employers strive to make job postings as appealing and complete as possible — and may be even more important now.
HR Dive spoke with Greg Backstrom, Product Manager for SmartRecruiters about this very real concern for companies. “Since the job search is one of the most important activities that any individual can do in his or her life, Google for Jobs makes this search much more productive and accurate” Backstrom said. “Google for Jobs is not set out to take down job boards, but rather to improve them.”
SmartRecruiters was one of the first companies to be invited to be part of Google for Jobs and in the last few weeks, its clients have seen about a 20%-30% increase in application volume. Backstrom also noted that he has seen no indication that the search results are giving niche job boards preference over general job boards. Rather, he says, it seems to be the quality of the job posting that matters. "From the job title to the description, the more detailed and accurate each job listing is, the better it will perform."
Search results and future of job boards
Google for Jobs seems to to be working well for mobile users, according to Tom Chevalier, VP of Product at Appcast. In an article on LinkedIn, Chevalier talked about concerns over job board traffic being concentrated on Google results. He posed the question, “If job seekers remain on Google to see job search results, what could this mean for job boards and job listing aggregators?” Interestingly, he says that this could be a boon for job boards if they play along.
Chevalier predicts that because roughly 30% of Google search results come from people conducting employment-related activities, this could potentially be another major revenue source for advertising. It’s hard to predict if larger job boards that have the money to spend on sponsored ads will see an increase in the number of jobs appearing in search, because Google for Jobs isn’t currently tied to this.
What it does right now is level the playing field for organic search based on the quality of content — an effort that Google has been focused on for years. Google for Jobs takes things up a notch. “Google is doing a better job is surfacing long tail keyword based niche jobs," Backstrom said. "The more accurate job leads are, including more unique descriptions, the easier it will be for candidates to find just what they want."
An exciting development in Google for Jobs is geographic mapping of candidate locations so they can search for jobs using the length of their commute by integrating Google Maps. Right now, the search is limited by the keywords candidates use.
Overall, Google for Jobs is already improving the candidate experience with more relevant and focused results, helping them to get in front of the right companies where they can make the most impact. So don't leave town just yet — job boards are not descending into decrepitude, but rather making way for better job searches all around.
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