Google for Jobs’ Impact on Job Boards

Is Google for Jobs the end of the job board? Although it’s not launched in most European countries yet, the major European job boards seem to think so. And they argue that Google is abusing its power by entering the jobs market. Twenty-three major boards have launched a request for an anti-trust inquiry by the European Commission against Google for Jobs.

Current State in Europe

Currently, Google for Jobs is active in Germany, France, Spain, and the UK … basically the four major European markets. The boards state that Google for Jobs instantly became visible as a market leader. Not surprising since it is and has been for ages, it’s just that in the past it moved its traffic on to other sites. 

Traffic

I assume the boards are seeing massive drops in traffic. So I reached out to an American board which has been dealing with Google for Jobs since June of 2017 and was willing to share its data: College Recruiter. 

Steven Rothberg, the president and founder, shared its Google traffic with me starting June 2017 at the moment Google for Jobs was introduced until now. Basically, what College Recruiter saw was an initial drop in traffic, since its had no advance warning about the markup Google wanted for the vacancies — the manner in which jobs should be posted, basically. After changing this and implementing the new markup, traffic is back at normal levels. 

 College recruiter’s traffic findings from Google June 2017 – July 2019

  • Traffic was down 4.5 percent from June to July 2017.
  • Traffic was down 5.4 percent from July to August 2017.
  • Traffic took a big hit from August to September 2017, down 21,7 percent
  • The low point was December 2017 when College Recruiter was down 65.3 percent from June 2017.
  • After implementing a number of improvements, by January of 2019 traffic was pretty much back at June 2017 levels. 

My 2 Cents

These (general) job boards are fighting an uphill battle. A losing battle. Google has been the starting point of most job searches and Google is now helping candidates finding the jobs they are looking for.

Generalist job boards will lose out, since their value to the candidate is very limited and they target the same job seekers that already use Google: the active ones. 

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Niche job boards however will continue to add value. I used to run a marketing job board that had jobs next to great marketing content. People didn’t visit for the jobs. They came for the content, and some of the ads were jobs. Niche job boards that run the job sections of content organizations, still have a great future. 

For now the generalist job board is safe, and as College Recruiter’s data shows, you don’t have to lose out. But unless you reach people you are not reaching from Google traffic, why should anyone advertise with you?

The Anti-trust Inquiry

Does this mean the anti-trust inquiry has no merit? Well, honestly, I have never understood the reasoning of people who approve mergers that for me are clearly anti-trust situations, and yet I’ve seen them crack down on Google and Microsoft for doing what any organization would do — use their strength to expand. 

So I don’t know what will happen. I do know that the tactic of complaining about unfair treatment is usually the last straw and a losing battle. Using energy and time to create something usually has a lot more positive effects than using your energy and time to try and impose laws that were never really made for this day and age. 

Bas van de Haterd is a strategic recruitment consultant who helps companies recruit smarter. He's an international speaker on recruitment innovation. He is passionate about HR technology and how it can improve hiring processes and make them less biased. In the Netherlands, he runs research and an event called Digitaal-Werven that focuses on the candidate experience, and he is also the co-organizer of the European Recruitment Innovation event: Talent Acquisition Live. Follow Bas on Twitter @bvdhaterd or on LinkedIn.
 

 

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