Over three-quarters of job seekers typically start their job search on a search engine – usually Google – or a job search engine, such as Indeed or Adzuna. This is how they ‘discover’ jobs and employers. Job boards and recruitment marketing sites have depended on traffic from these two sources for years to drive visibility for their employers’ jobs.
Now we are entering a new age of discovery. Yes, candidates are still discovering job sites via search engines – but Google has ‘regularized’ the job posting, punishing those that don’t follow their schema, and rewarding those that do. If a job board or employer or ATS or staffing company follows Google’s guidelines, their postings are more ‘discoverable’ – in other words, they end up at the top of the search results, in Google’s distinctive ‘blue job box’. Google has rolled out what many of us call ‘Google for Jobs’ to many countries, including the U.S. and the U.K. Job boards that have participated in the Google job schema have seen significant increases in exposure and traffic.
Indeed isn’t participating in Google for Jobs. Instead, they are ‘going it alone,’ for reasons that are as yet unclear. So if an employer’s jobs are on Indeed – but nowhere else – they are less discoverable to job seekers. Indeed’s perspective is, I suspect, that ‘it doesn’t matter – our footprint is big enough to give employers all the candidates they need.’ Are they right? Only the employer will know – but I promise you that there are lots of job seekers out there that will never see their jobs.
And in case this wasn’t enough, there’s a new wrinkle in the discovery game. Facebook – which wants to be everyone’s portal to the Internet – has finally gotten serious about recruiting. It is seeking ‘partners’ to bring employer job content to Facebook – so that these job postings are ‘discoverable’ to Facebook users. Since Facebook already has relationships with millions of businesses, one can only assume that recruiting will eventually be folded into those relationships. Facebook wants to partner with job boards and recruiting sites as a means to an end. In this case, the end would be a massive sucking up of these sites’ client business into Facebook’s pockets.
As you can see, the discovery process by which job seekers find jobs and employers is in flux. Facebook and Google want to take over – or at least control – the discovery process. If you’re in recruitment marketing – or if you’re an employer that uses channels like job boards and recruitment marketing tools – I think you should be thinking hard about where and how your candidates discover you – and if you’re overly reliant on Google and Facebook, you should be looking for alternatives (just as in the past, those sites that were overly reliant on Indeed had to find other sources). What kinds of alternatives? Think about old-fashioned, offline events like career fairs. Consider user-generated content like niche-specific Q&A. Think about video. And – dare I say it? – have a good referral program in place. Make sure that candidates can find you even if they don’t see you on Indeed – or Google – or Facebook.
The bottom line? Candidates should be able to find you outside of a Google or Facebook search. If they can’t, your recruiting process may be living on borrowed time.