Recruiters, your Job Board is going to eat you!

Greg Savage
Greg Savage


I have verbalised strong views on job boards over the years. An important part of the candidate acquisition mix, sure, but also increasingly becoming ineffective, geared only to active job-seekers, and in some cases price-gouging the very recruitment fraternity that allowed them to thrive in the first place. In Australia, Seek came onto the scene 17 years ago and I was one of their very first customers (when running Recruitment Solutions) in an era when many believed the internet was a fad, let alone online recruiting! But I have criticised Seek since, mostly as a result of some of their actions born out of their own success, and the near monopoly that created.

Indeed, at one RCSA Conference, in a moment of high excitability during my presentation, I suggested Seek ‘get stuffed’*, a phrase that was out of order, and I actually now very much regret.

Being a classy outfit, Seek have since responded by supporting my speaking roadshows around Australia and New Zealand, and then recently, inviting me to lunch!

So it was my pleasure to join senior executives at the Melbourne head office of Seek, Australia’s dominant job-board, (and now a global job-board player), to understand their new vision.

The people at Seek are no fools. They don’t need me to warn them of the threats to a traditional job board business model, so I was expecting to hear something new.

And I did.

Recruiters need to be better marketers, users of CRM, automated marketing, big data and predictive analytics. I have been saying this for some time. It turns out Seek have been thinking the same thing for at least as long, and are now acting on these needs.

Advertising jobs will only be one of several key Seek services. Talent Search for example pulls on a database of 4 million searchable profiles that Seek has collected, growing by 150,000 a month, so they say.

But what I like about the ‘new’ Seek is the use of big data and analytics. Seek collects extensive information on candidates in their database, including their history on Seek, and the roles they show an interest in, for example. Candidates are pushed relevant notifications via automated technology, converting them to active job seekers or pre-selecting roles for them to look at that they are more likely to apply for.

For recruiters, big data is allowing Seek to identify candidates that are more likely to be open to an approach (because they have applied for jobs recently, or because they are active looking at certain roles) and they have the capacity to automatically match candidates with roles via tracking of candidate behavior. This will allow Seek to recommend appropriate candidates to recruiters.

Seek will actually ‘pre-match’ candidates, based not only on qualifications and skills, but also on job search behavior!

This is a key development. The future of agency recruitment is about finding candidates our clients cannot. Traditional job boards are not going to provide those candidates. That means that Seek and other job boards risk becoming irrelevant unless they can offer solutions based on the same premise. It seems Seek are well on the road to doing that.


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