November 1, 2005   view past issues

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Feature: A Trade Organization for Employment Web Sites

Feature: A Trade Organization for Employment Web Sites

As many of you know, earlier this year, we at WEDDLE’s released the results of our first Source of Employment Survey. We initiated this quarterly poll because traditional “source of hire” surveys often miss the mark.

For example, if a person applies for a job through the Career area on an organization’s Web-site, the recruiter would identify the source of hire as that site. The reality, however, could have been (and, in fact, probably was) quite different. The person may have learned about the organization through a job ad or a brand banner posted on your site and would never otherwise have even visited the organization’s site. The true source of employment, therefore, is your site, not the corporate site.

So, what did we find in our first survey? With over 3,000 job seeker respondents, we learned that the largest single source of employment was a job board. Not a corporate career site. Not networking. Not the employee referral program. A job board. That job board may have been operated by a stand alone enterprise, a newspaper, an association, or even an affinity group, but from the job seeker’s perspective, it was the single best source of success. More than one-third (34%) of the respondents said they found their last job on an employment Web-site. That was three times greater than the second most prevalent source of employment (a call from a headhunter) at 10%.

Does this mean that job seekers should abandon all the other, traditional methods of job search? Of course not. It does, however, refute-and refute emphatically-the view that employment sites don’t work. In fact, according to the people who know best, they do.

Despite this reality, however, the online employment industry has taken it on the chin over the past 4-6 months. The usefulness, credibility and even the ethics of job boards and career portals have been called into question time and again by published articles that get only half the story and by commentary from those with clearly competing agendas. They opine that:

  • Google,
  • vertical search,
  • corporate career sites,
  • social networking, or
  • insert your own hot button of the moment
  • will put employment sites out of business, and that view gets traction because there has been no meaningful presentation of the industry’s perspective.

    Although job boards have been in operation for at least a decade, they have not established a trade organization to speak on their collective behalf. As a result, there has been no authoritative and positive voice to respond to questions and issues when they come up. There has been no organization focused on educating and informing the public and the media about the important role that employment Web-sites play and the genuine contributions that they make. These inaccurate and incomplete characterizations undermine the prospects of each and every employment Web-site. While rebuttals by individual sites are helpful, they do not have the impact of the industry’s collective voice.

    No less important, this lack of a trade organization has prevented the development and promotion of industry standards and best practices. As a consequence, job seekers and recruiters alike have often found it difficult to differentiate between sites that are operated and led responsibly and those that are not. This uncertainty further undermines the credibility and, ultimately, the prospects of the industry as a whole and every individual employment site within it.

    For all of these reasons, I am pleased to announce the formation of the International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS), a trade organization for job boards and career portals. This organization is open to any employment site, whether operated by a:

  • commercial enterprise,
  • newspaper,
  • professional and technical association,
  • alumni organization, or
  • affinity group.
  • It is open, as well, to the companies that provide products and services to and in support of employment Web-sites.

    This association has a single mission: to serve the interests and promote the success of the employment Web-site industry. It seeks to recognize and promote these sites for what they are-The Sources of Success(tm).

    I recognize that every employment site has a myriad of competing investments to consider. Nevertheless, I urge you to join the IAEWS and to do so right away. Other than your own organization, it is the only entity that will work 100% of the time to contribute to your site’s success.

    For more information about the Association and to download membership materials, please visit its new Web-site,

    Thanks for reading,


    P.S. This WEDDLE’s newsletter is a free, periodic publication written for the owners, managers and staff of employment sites and those vendors that provide products and services to those sites. Subscription is open to any and everyone employed by these organizations. So, please … tell a friend or colleague about the newsletter and encourage them to sign up. All they have to do is e-mail their name, title, Web-site URL and e-mail address to

    Industry In-Site: Research & News for Employment Web Sites

    WEDDLE’s Research Factoid In a survey with 22,569 respondents, conducted between January 1, 2005 and September 30, 2005, we asked the following question: How many different job boards and career portals do you use for job posting and/or resume search? We found the:

  • #1 response was 2-5 sites,
  • #2 response was a tie between 6-10 sites and 1 site, and
  • #3 response was 5-8 sites.
  • Crystal Ball Gazing Jobs For the Future (JFF) released a report assessing the risk that offshoring and technological developments present to select occupations. Said another way, its report predicts where job postings are likely to decline because employers will be using alternative sources for the labor that is now being recruited in these fields. Where will these shifts occur?

  • Computer support specialists-high risk of offshoring and technology replacement;
  • Customer service representatives-medium-high risk of offshoring and medium risk of technology replacement;
  • Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks-medium risk of offshoring and technology replacement; and
  • Sales representatives, other than wholesale and manufacturing–medium risk of offshoring and technology replacement.
  • Bottom line: if you’re doing a lot of business with employers that are posting ads in these areas, you might want to start looking for a new set of customers.

    Something You Can Teach Your Salespeople Seems people lie (or fib, depending on your perspective) at different rates in different media. A study by a Cornell University professor cited in The Virtual Handshake, a new book by David Teten and Scott Allen, has found the following:

  • telephone (unrecorded): 37% of people don’t always tell the truth,
  • face-to-face meetings: 27% of people will be less than completely honest,
  • instant messaging: 21% of people will tell a lie/fib, and
  • e-mail: 14% of people will make a dishonest statement.
  • Why the higher rates of less than fully honest responses in telephone calls and face-to-face meetings? There are two reasons according to the professor: instant messaging and e-mails create a record of communications (which, as we know from the news, can come back to haunt you) and telephone calls and meetings sometimes require people to do things most of us hate to do … like deliver bad news in person. So, what happens? A prospective client will tell your sales reps that they haven’t yet decided whether or not to buy a posting subscription from your site when in fact they have … if the news is bad and the rep makes their inquiry by phone or in a meeting. If the rep poses the question by IM or e-mail, however, they’re more likely to get the news straight and avoid wasting time and effort on additional communications.

    The Indusphere: News From the Online Employment Industry

    New Launches

    SkillAid launched a site specializing in the field of Axapta or what Microsoft now refers to as MS Dynamics AX. Called, the site offers both a job board and a resume database.

    Buena Chamba announced its launch and its intention to become the “Hispanic craigslist.” Currently, however, the site serves only the Hispanic community in New York City. Postings are free and automatically translated into Spanish.

    The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers launced its Career Center online. Employers can now use the Center to reach individuals working in the fields of engineering and technology for biological, food, and agricultural systems, including the Association’s 9,000 members.

    The Independent News & Media (INM), launched an all-Ireland recruitment Web-site called Ads are drawn from INM’s newspapers in Northern Ireland and the Republic: the Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Life, Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, and Evening Herald.

    Mkt10 launched in the Washington, D.C. market, using “a matching paradigm rather than a search paradigm.” Job seekers fill out a profile that enables the site to identify the jobs listed by companies that most closely match their employment credentials and that, in turn, provides candidates who better fit the employer and its opportunity. At the helm of the new enterprise is Rob McGovern, former CEO of

    The National Association of Hispanic Publications launched an online career center, powered by The Association’s membership includes 200 print publications that have a combined circulation of over 10 million and reach more than 50% of the Hispanic households in 55 U.S. markets every week.

    PennWell Corporation, a publisher and conference organizer in the petroleum, power and utilities industries, introduced a new online employment service called Postings are listed for both domestic U.S. and international openings and cover such fields as architecture, construction, engineering, operations, geology and geophysics, project management, safety, science, service, and transportation.

    New Products, Features, Services, Names

    CareerSite, the recruitment site operated by PowerOne Media, announced a new name for itself. It’s called NowHiring. As before, the company will seek partners with which to launch local niche sites, but those partners will now be able to recombine their postings into verticals focused on a specific field (e.g., NowHiringTruckDrivers, NowHiringTeachers).

    The Interview Exchange announced the introduction of ReferredHire(tm), an employee referral and networking portal. The new feature is a complement to the company’s suite of talent management solutions, but can also be used as a stand-alone HRIS module or as an add-on to a preexisting talent management system.

    Acquisitions & Investments was acquired by Quadrangle Capital Partners and General Atlantic LLC for approximately $200 million. The investors’ previous online ventures include and E*Trade Financial Corporation. Specializing in information technology and engineering recruitment, Dice also owns and, a site for technical training and certification. acquired to complement its extant holdings in the south central region of the U.S., including,,, and

    The New York Times announced its purchase of a minority stake in the vertical search company,, for $5 million.

    Trinity Mirror plc, the United Kingdom’s largest newspaper publisher, acquired Financial Jobs Online Ltd, owner of, a recruitment site in the fields of accounting and finance.

    A Final Word

    Finally, just a friendly reminder: Please make sure that your on-staff PR person and/or your agency includes WEDDLE’s on the distribution list for all of your public announcements. My bi-weekly newsletter goes out to 100,000+ recruiters and HR professionals, and each issue includes a number of site news briefs. It’s our effort to help you build your brand and explain your value proposition to the HR community, and best of all, it’s free.

    Look for my next Newsletter for Employment Sites in December.

    And don’t forget to visit the International Association of Employment Web Sites. It’s your trade association, and I urge you to become a member.