It didn’t exactly set the recruiting blogosphere on fire, but there was big news from Mattel recently that offered an important lesson for job boards. The company reported that Barbie sales surged 23 percent in the second quarter of this year thanks to its introduction of a more diverse and distinctive set of figures. In other words, having more options, especially those that are clearly differentiated, can actually increase the size of a market, a phenomenon that deserves to be called the “Barbie effect.”
Yes, I realize that there could be other factors at work. Mattel, however, clearly believes that it’s good for business to give buyers more alternatives from which they can pick the one that most closely fits them. The old axiom that “a rising tide lifts all boats” appears to have a corollary: “a growing number of boats raises the tide for all.”
There’s no doubt that new job boards continue to enter the market at a healthy clip. As they have since the rise of niche sites over fifteen years ago, most of these new players address specific segments of either the workforce or the workplace. As a result, they provide employers and job seekers with more alternatives from which to source talent and find employment. The net effect, therefore, should be to lift the market to a higher level for everyone. And, that hasn’t happened.
Depending on whose numbers you accept, the online recruitment market currently totals between $3-5 billion annually. That’s down considerably from the turn of the century, when it was reported to be in the $10-12 billion range. So, why hasn’t the job board industry felt the Barbie effect? Because too many job boards do not provide a clearly differentiated alternative to either employers or job seekers.
Offering a Difference That Matters
There are two ways to set a job board apart: the site’s visual appearance and its value proposition for visitors. The first is widely recognized and addressed. Although it is not universal, most job boards today – even those built from a box – try to establish a distinguishing look and feel. It’s a necessary factor in building a successful business, but it’s not sufficient.
The other factor – a site’s value proposition for both employers and job seekers – is equally if not more important, and yet too many job boards are satisfied with being look-alikes.
How is that value proposition created?
• For employers, it’s access to talent they cannot reach elsewhere. Unfortunately, however, traffic arbitrage has made the talent on many sites look just like the talent everywhere else. So, what happens? An employer that can connect with the same job seekers on a nationally advertised and well branded site will not bother to invest the time and money to use a smaller and less well known site. The Barbie effect is negated, and the market not only stays static or shrinks, but the larger and better known site grabs a growing share of it.
• For talent, it’s access to information that will help them succeed in their career as well as in the job market. Unfortunately, most job boards provide content that’s of interest only to active job seekers, a group that represents less than one-fifth of the workforce. So, what happens? An employer will try to reach the coveted passive population by using a nationally advertised and well branded social media site rather than invest the time and money to use a smaller and less well known job board. The Barbie effect is negated, and the market not only stays static or shrinks, but the larger and better known social media site grabs a growing share of it.
What’s the bottom line? Be like today’s distinctive Barbies – be very different from everyone else – if you want your job board to cash in on a larger online recruitment marketplace.
Food for thought,
The Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle is brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.
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This Week on Jobboarders
This week, Jobboarders features:
How to Keep Your Email IP Clean. To keep a clean IP, Haley Gong, International Marketing Executive at Webpower offers best practices that can be separated into two parts: technical and content.
Global Recognition in 3 Minutes. It takes just 3 minutes to complete the application form for the Recruiting Service Innovation Awards (the ReSIs), but the recognition from winning lasts forever! Sign up now, so your customers can give your site the visibility and stature it deserves.
Who’s Coming to the TAtech Conference & Expo? Tons of employers have already registered for the TAtech Conference & Expo on September 19-21, 2016 in Las Vegas. We’ve listed some hints to help you identify several of them. Can you guess who they are?
Jobboarders Book of the Month: The Sourcing and Recruitment Handbook by Shally Steckerl. The Cybersleuth’s secrets to sourcing better, smarter, faster and cheaper than the competition. At almost 450 pages, the book covers every aspect of talent sourcing from keyword searches and search engines to probing online communities and the use of IM and text messaging. As one recruiter put it, “Shally is a legend. A true guru who brings together technology, the Internet and sound recruiting practices.” Get it in the TAtech Bookstore.
So visit Jobboarders today and ready your business for a successful tomorrow.