10 Earth-shattering, Mind-blowing Things That Happened in Online Recruiting During 2011

Dec 20, 2011
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

As another year draws to a close, it’s time to take a look back at the year that 2011 was (man, that was truly an awkward construction, eh?).

As usual, there was much sturm und drang about social media, the lingering recession, and the Iowa caucuses — no, wait, that’s another post.

At any rate, here are the things I thought were most notable:

Job boards did not die: Yes, the combined power of thousands of bloggers and SM evangelists simply could not bring down the 100K+ or so job boards around the world. In fact, the publicly held boards seemed to recover nicely as the year progressed (er, maybe not Monster’s stock). Well, hope springs eternal, right? Maybe in 2012?

LinkedIn got serious about making money: Nothing like an IPO to focus a company’s attention. LI settled down to creating more recruitment products for its audience of employers and recruiters to buy, and it continued working on the 1-5% of its users who actually visit the site monthly to pay for that privilege. LI is not going away, folks — and that means you, job boards.

Monster fought back: The job-board monolith made several key moves in 2011 that kept it in the game and growing. First, it launched a Facebook offensive via its BeKnown app (tens of thousands of users and climbing). Next, it introduced SeeMore, a database-bridging search tool aimed directly at the LinkedIn threat. I expect to see more initiatives in 2012 (once it gets past that stock thing, that is).

Matching sites proliferated: Taking their place alongside well-established job-matching sites such as RealMatch and JobFox were new entrants: VentuRocket, Grex, Direct Approach Solutions, JobHat, Geekfinder — the list goes on and on. Have any of them solved the precision issues that have historically plagued matching sites? Stay tuned.

Mobile kept growing: It was no surprise that mobile continued to make significant inroads into the online recruiting space. According to Beyond, 77% of job seekers were using mobile in 2011. Is your site “mobilized”?

The .jobs universe fizzled: 2011 should have been the year that the .jobs universe grew. Perhaps it did, but the adoption rate among companies I surveyed was still below 15%. Legal issues may make this a shrinking universe.

Money started moving: As John Sumser pointed out in a recent post, acquisitions increased in the online recruiting space  — and that shouldn’t change in 2012. As we inch our way out of the recession, a combustible combination of pent-up demand, smart use of technology, and pre-emptive strikes against competitors will keep the pipes full.

Temps became the new perms: The recession left considerably fewer jobs in its wake — and more of those left were filled by temps. This drove up business for staffing firms and freelance sites such as oDesk and eLance, and changed hiring cycle patterns throughout the industry.

TheLadders said “adios” to $100K only: In a move that probably surprised no one, TheLadders moved away from its long-held position and embraced jobs under the $100K mark. But it’s still not a job board, right? At least, that’s what its ads say …

Indeed targeted employers: After years of saying it worked with job boards rather than against them, Indeed began directly competing for employer dollars. Monster was not amused.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.