How Google could be changing the landscape of job boards in the UK
“Recruitment is a dinosaur,” says Matt Colley, Digital Marketing Manager at recruitment agency PRS, and he doesn’t pull any punches. Having made the switch to recruitment from the gambling industry, he can see the chasm in the technologies underpinning the respective industries, but that could be set to change.
Google recently released its new job board site, Google for Jobs, in the UK which aggregates listings from job boards and careers sites and displays them prominently in Google Search, making the theory of a job search easier for candidates.
Heralding a changing landscape within recruitment advertising that has remained stagnant for many years, CONNECT speaks to Colley about how Google for Jobs will reshape recruitment, who will benefit, and whether the traditional job board will one day become extinct.
Searching for a job can be a laborious task. Manually searching for keywords that are related to your ideal job role can be a slow process as you sift through listings with a matching keyword from an unrelated industry. Or, that was the case until Google entered the fray.
By collecting, organising and displaying job listings from various job boards and careers pages without any additional action required from you, Google for Jobs allows job seekers to view open jobs with a quick Google search. It also means that employers can expand their reach to a larger audience, and it’s about time, apparently.
“Recruitment is behind every other industry,” explains Colley. “I came from the gambling industry and I recently had a conversation with someone who was discussing something that gambling’s been doing for ten years but recruitment has yet to latch onto. By learning from other industries you’re able to turn things on their head and really make a strategy from it.
“Recruitment is a dinosaur. Recruitment has decided to just look at performance, but by just looking at performance it means as an industry it’s backward.”
Despite this, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) annual Recruitment Industry Trends report for 2017/18 showed that the total industry turnover from job board placements, and other HR services, reached £35.7 billion, an increase of 11% on the previous year.
And, with recruiters and associated HR services placing over 1.1 million people into permanent jobs in 2017/18 according to data published by the REC, there’s evidence that the industry is in boisterous health. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Google.
“Google for Jobs is very good, especially for recruiters, as research shows that a third of all search traffic in Google is job related,” said Colley.
“The great thing about Google is algorithms are related to search criteria and search analysis as it means that if you search for a waiter role, it will also bring up results for waitress, server etc.
“Someone searching for the same role on a job board wouldn’t see the same results because it doesn’t match with the keyword specifically. Unless you look outside the keyword then you’re not going to be able to attract all the candidates that would be interested in that job. And, that’s all down to how people portray or describe that vacancy.”
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
Google differentiates itself from LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed and other online job boards by using machine learning and AI which it says will help job seekers find roles that are specifically tailored to their needs.
And the arrival of one of the biggest companies in the world and one of the big four tech companies into the industry with a free product is not only a boon for applicants with specific job keywords, but it also brings with it the potential to level the playing field.
“Google for Jobs is fantastic for little recruiters,” explains Colley. “Google for Jobs is there to be a job aggregator.
“It’s a step forward as it’s something that enables the small recruitment agencies to show in the top listings within the big job boards and aggregators. If you look at some companies’s search traffic, they’ve increased by 30 to 50 or even 200% and that’s because of Google for Jobs.”
In fact, the number of recruitment agencies is growing by almost 10% (totalling 30,430) in the year to March 2018 according to the REC, despite the increasing competition. Google for Jobs has created space for organisations through its arrival, allowing smaller companies to flourish as the bigger competitors battle it out for the single space on top of the podium.
One company that is set to lose out on its market share is Indeed, which won’t feature on Google for Jobs as it has refused to share its data.
“Has Indeed been hit by Google for Jobs? Absolutely,” says Colley. “Now Google for Jobs adopts the first search boxes above the organic listings, so where has that traffic gone? It’s gone to companies who are aggregating on google for jobs. It’s led to a redistribution of traffic and enables the smaller companies to compete.”