Job Aggregator Sites and Job Search Engines: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly! 28 Comments

Even though job aggregator sites and  job search engines have been around for years now, they have a significant number of challenges that come along with the benefits.  The irony is… almost all claim to be the largest, the first, have the most jobs, etc.  We’d expect that, right?

What you might not expect is what you find when you take a closer look at what’s happening.

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The Good:

  • For candidates, you get to go to one site and search jobs that are online everywhere, from job boards and search firms, to corporate career sites.
  • For recruiters, there is an opportunity to beat out the competition with the bidding model (pay-per-click) which is fairly common.  In addition to that, you can typically send these sites a XML feed of your jobs so you don’t need to post them, saving you time.  You also get candidates directly to your site, bypassing the rest of the garbage (explained further below).

The Bad:

  • For candidates, there is a lot of duplication on these sites where the same job is posted from multiple sites and job boards.  If you find one through a job board (or any source other than from the employer directly), you may have to register on that site and some even have a price tag to join.  With these non direct sources, you also get to see a lot of spam and advertisements.
  • For recruiters, with a majority of the sites out there that fall into a search engine or aggregator, most accept postings, bids, and sponsorships from job boards too meaning you could be competing with yourself.  If you pay for a position posted on a board and you bid on an aggregator site, you could be bidding against a job boards with the same posting.  Their goal is to get traffic to their site and increase the number of candidates registered, in addition to charging you to post a job or search their database.  Some that claim to host jobs solely from employers even have partnerships or ads on their sites to the larger aggregators.

The Ugly:

  • The candidate experience.  Keep reading…
  • I entered a search on indeed.com, searching only the company name of Microsoft for jobs in the U.S.  The result = 4,043 jobs.  I searched all jobs on their career site with no parameters and came up with 616 openings.  Given that, I took a look at the various sites with Microsoft jobs posted on indeed.  The result = TheLadders.com, ColorsCareers, NewScientistJobs.com, LinkedIn, Advertising Age, CollegeRecruiter.com, EdAdvisor, ComputerJobs.com, Black Enterprise, Jobster.com, ExpatITjobs.com, Monster.com, SeattleRecruiter.com, Vitruva, SuperJobPost.com, JobServe USA, JobThread, HotJobs, CareerBuilder, IEEE, Dice, TalentZoo.com, HireDiversity, AILA, Gamasutra, LatPro, telecomcareers, 6figurejobs.com, job.com, and more…  You get the point (I hope).
  • I clicked on a few jobs not posted from Microsoft directly.  In almost all cases, you are told you need to register with that site.  The Ladders wants you to pay (which you can apply directly to Microsoft for free) on the same job I clicked on.  Snagajob.com even gave me a pop-up ad for my chance at $10 million (in case you don’t get the job I guess).

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  • Probably the ugliest example is a job that takes you from the aggregator to werkboard.com (spelled correctly), and jobcircle.com.  Guess what, when you try to get far enough in the application process the site tries selling you RezRocket where you can get your Resume blasted to over 18,000 recruiters.

Just so we’re clear, we’re all benefiting the aggregators financially and the other sites that require candidates to register (including the big job boards).  So, we have to pay to post to a board, pay an aggregator (for top exposure – bidding), and pay to access the resume database of job boards when we’re helping them populate them by the aggregator allowing our postings from the boards (which most require registration)? Huh?!

It seems as though aggregators are using brand names to create vast networks of SEO pages.  In turn, they are attempting to resell candidates on a pay-per-click model.  Again, this is based on the duplication of multiple jobs, and the high number of SEO landing pages created without you knowing.

If you are interested and concerned with the candidate experience, in addition to having your jobs directly come up in the search engines, getting candidates directly, and not engaging in the pass-the-bags-of-money charade between some job boards, resume databases, and aggregator sites, here are a few suggestions:

  • Work with the aggregator sites to get duplicate jobs removed. My experience with indeed.com has been positive in making this happen in the past.  Remember, they are in business for a reason too.  I would recommend sponsoring hard-to-fill type positions, and again have had some success with this in the past.
  • Do your own SEO for jobs, or partner with top vendors in this space. Be careful though, everyone is claiming to be a SEO expert these days.  If you want some ideas on this and what questions to ask, please contact me.
  • Do not allow job boards (or any online service) to re-advertise your jobs beyond their website. Work with your procurement or legal team and append your contract with specific language stating that your jobs will not be re-advertised on any site other than the specific contracted site your are partnering with.  This could take care of part of the issue and puts the burden on a job board to monitor other sites stealing there postings and job content to promote their services downstream.  It would also keep the bids down when you partner with the aggregator sites.

Let me end this post by saying there could and likely will be a lot of finger pointing with some of the issues raised.  The accountability is beyond the aggregator sites and I think the value the aggregator sites offer candidates is amazing and has a lot of potential long-term.  Before more and more of these sites launch, I would like to think the industry can work together and take care of the problems and take a stance.

Before that can happen, aggregators and other sites need to iron out some kinks in their business model and answer the big question:  “Who are we in business for?”  The model would likely change if the answer was either for the candidate, a company, a recruiter, or job boards.

About Jason Buss

Talent HQ’s creator and editor is Recruiting & Diversity Leader, Jason Buss. Talent HQ is a premier online news and information channel for the Recruiting and Human Resources community.

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  • Posted on: Sunday, May 3rd, 2009