Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Go Cheap or Go Brand

David Monreal posted an interesting comment on my blog asking, “why spend X in Monster or any other big job board if I can use a cheaper small one and get also listed in Indeed, WorkZoo or Hotjobs.”

First, this is a great question David, and I have an answer for you. The answer is brand recognition. This is still one of the most important factors driving traffic to a site. Most of the job boards, job search and other job tools out there are not genius technology. The reality is you can hire a web developer and build a crummy job board in no time. The true genius comes from the ability to get your brand through the massive clutter.

Here is a simple exercise to test this theory. Go find a few of your top performers—not including recruiting or HR. Then ask them if they have ever heard of Indeed or WorkZoo (Jobster is a different story because they actually are making huge strides in brand strength, but still have a long way to go). Now go ask them if they heard of Monster? What do you think the answer will be?

As recruiters we have to be careful not to underestimate the brand of the top job boards. We live in the recruiting world and read about all the new tools out there—but does the average person? You can post to some cheap job board and have it picked up on Indeed but do you think there are more people looking for jobs on Indeed or Monster? Just because there are thousands of jobs posted there doesn’t mean the people you need are there.

Hotjobs has an interesting model—they say you can search the web for jobs. Have you ever conducted a test search on their site? Try it and see what comes up. Hotjobs postings come up first—several pages before you get to general web postings. Then the kicker is that their search algorithm excludes their competitors—you don’t see Monster postings popping up. So the reality is that it’s not a true web search.

The one job board that seems to consistently fly under the radar that in my opinion should have competitors worried is Craig’s List. Their brand is viral and their traffic is very strong. In my opinion they are the Linux of the on-line job advertisement world. Until the Indeed’s, WorkZoo’s and SimplyHired’s of the world increase the brand strength I wouldn’t put my money on the cheap job boards. But hey, throw your jobs up on the free boards and on your blog and let these sites spider them. There’s no harm in this.

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David Monreal said...

Thanks for your answer, Steve.

I'm based in Barcelona (Spain) and these huge battles are still far away from us... but the concepts you mention ("brand" and "where the candidates are") are universal.

All the best!


D.

ralph-pagebites said...

Hi Steve,

Interesting post. I just thought you might want to check out PageBites.com, http://www.pagebites.com/. We aggregate jobs like indeed and simplyhired, and we also crawl the web for resumes. One thing people don't realize is that Monster.com charges employers a lot of money to search their resume database. The problem with that is the smaller companies are never going to see your resume because they just don't have the financial resources to pay Monster for access to their database. You should check out our blog, http://www.pagebites.com/blog/, we have an entry on why Monster.com could be better.

Obi Igbokwe said...

Nice post and I agree with you, branding is the key to making it in the recruiting world. Recuiters and jobseekers will still be attracted to better known sites not becuase they offer better services but becuase they have more brand recognition. I should know as I have developed a jobboard myself and have added some cool tools on it still work hard every day on increasing its brand recognition. The site Biohealthmatics sepcialises in aggregating biotechnology and health IT jobs.

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JDGOJobs said...

Steve,
I think the answer to Dave's question goes beyond "branding" by big job boards, it is simply a result of the number of jobseeker they get to their websites, and their ability to convert those users into "active" job seekers, who apply to jobs.

Monster, CareerBuilder, and HotJobs, all get a lot more traffic to their websites than Indeed, SimplyHired, WorkZoo, and all the rest of the vertical search engines, combined.

My guess is, you could add up all the monthly unique visitors of all other 20,000+ other job boards and you would still not equal the monthly unique visitors of either Monster or CareerBuilder.

Additionally, traffic alone is not what makes a job board successful. A job board must be able to convert unique visitors to candidates that either submit a resume or apply to jobs. The true value of a job board is the number of qualified candidates they submit to a client, and if the client hires those candidates.

All of the major job boards have extensive search and matching technology, job agents, job seeker newsletters, and other tools to convert their job seeker traffic into "applicants" or "resumes". Monster and CareerBuilder are continuously investing significant dollars in improving their conversion ratios.

Most free / cheap websites are not as good as the Big 3, as far as converting unique visitors to job seekers. None of the vertical search engines do any of this effectively. As a result, they might get traffic to their site, but they aren’t doing a good job of either getting the candidates to come back to the site on a regular basis, or the visitors aren’t converting to applications.

We are still in the early stage of a fast changing industry. Most job boards and their clients still, after 10 years, have no idea what value they are providing. Monster can't tell how many people get hired from their website. And sadly, most employers have no reliable tracking systems to understand where their hires came from.

To answer Dave's question more specifically, the reason you can't just use cheap sites, is because you aren't going to get the number of responses you need to fill the position.

For instance, the average response rate of a posting on one of the big boards, (avg across all industries, and all positions, which is very "average") is somewhere between 25-40 response per job posting in a 30 day period.
On average, most niche job boards provide less than 7-10 responses per job posting, in a 30 day period.
Most low-cost / free sites, produce 0-7 responses per job posting, in a 30 Day period. (This includes Indeed, SimplyHire, WorkZoo, America's Job Bank, and any of the 2,000 newsgroups)

So, if you have all the time in the world to find Free or cheap job boards, you can track the inbound responses from these job boards, and you have all the time to post to these free/ cheap sites, sure, at some point you will be able to get more qualified responses than Monster. But, if you value your time and the simplicity of paying one or two vendors, who can provide the same service, why wouldn't you use the simple solution?

There are lots of answers to this question, but most of those answers relate back to the quality of the candidates, and neither free, cheap, or Big nation-wide job boards can target qualified candidates better than the right niche job boards.

Great job on the blog...
Jonathan Duarte
www.gojobs.com

JDGOJobs said...

Steve,
I think the answer to Dave's question goes beyond "branding" by big job boards, it is simply a result of the number of jobseeker they get to their websites, and their ability to convert those users into "active" job seekers, who apply to jobs.

Monster, CareerBuilder, and HotJobs, all get a lot more traffic to their websites than Indeed, SimplyHired, WorkZoo, and all the rest of the vertical search engines, combined.

My guess is, you could add up all the monthly unique visitors of all other 20,000+ other job boards and you would still not equal the monthly unique visitors of either Monster or CareerBuilder.

Additionally, traffic alone is not what makes a job board successful. A job board must be able to convert unique visitors to candidates that either submit a resume or apply to jobs. The true value of a job board is the number of qualified candidates they submit to a client, and if the client hires those candidates.

All of the major job boards have extensive search and matching technology, job agents, job seeker newsletters, and other tools to convert their job seeker traffic into "applicants" or "resumes". Monster and CareerBuilder are continuously investing significant dollars in improving their conversion ratios.

Most free / cheap websites are not as good as the Big 3, as far as converting unique visitors to job seekers. None of the vertical search engines do any of this effectively. As a result, they might get traffic to their site, but they aren’t doing a good job of either getting the candidates to come back to the site on a regular basis, or the visitors aren’t converting to applications.

We are still in the early stage of a fast changing industry. Most job boards and their clients still, after 10 years, have no idea what value they are providing. Monster can't tell how many people get hired from their website. And sadly, most employers have no reliable tracking systems to understand where their hires came from.

To answer Dave's question more specifically, the reason you can't just use cheap sites, is because you aren't going to get the number of responses you need to fill the position.

For instance, the average response rate of a posting on one of the big boards, (avg across all industries, and all positions, which is very "average") is somewhere between 25-40 response per job posting in a 30 day period.
On average, most niche job boards provide less than 7-10 responses per job posting, in a 30 day period.
Most low-cost / free sites, produce 0-7 responses per job posting, in a 30 Day period. (This includes Indeed, SimplyHire, WorkZoo, America's Job Bank, and any of the 2,000 newsgroups)

So, if you have all the time in the world to find Free or cheap job boards, you can track the inbound responses from these job boards, and you have all the time to post to these free/ cheap sites, sure, at some point you will be able to get more qualified responses than Monster. But, if you value your time and the simplicity of paying one or two vendors, who can provide the same service, why wouldn't you use the simple solution?

There are lots of answers to this question, but most of those answers relate back to the quality of the candidates, and neither free, cheap, or Big nation-wide job boards can target qualified candidates better than the right niche job boards.

Great job on the blog...
Jonathan Duarte
www.gojobs.com

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David Monreal said...

I think no Company will ever share the information about how many people they have hired though a job board. They would lose the power of negotiation!

Thanks for your comments on my former question to Steve!


D.

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