Ever wonder what makes a job board different from an aggregator or exchange? We did too, and we found that there isn’t a lot of literature that defines differences in functionality clearly for the common user. In this post, we’ve compiled a brief summary of four types of online labor exchanges and how applications, social media, and recruitment technology interact with them. We hope that it helps to clarify some of the strengths and weaknesses of these different kinds of platforms.
An online job board (or job bank) is a site on which an employer may post a job opening directly to be seen by active job-seekers. The exchange occurs as jobs are advertised (jobs go out) and candidates apply for openings (applications come in). These sites may require payment per job post, by subscription, or access to a candidate database, although some are free of charge to employers (in many cases obtaining revenue from the sale of advertisements). Some companies are experimenting with fully app-based job boards that operate on a swipe left-right basis.
Some job boards are password protected and hidden from public view, as is the case with many professional associations, colleges, universities, and unions. By restricting access to a membership group that pays for the service in the form of tuition or membership fees, these organizations focus on providing a high value to their job-seeking constituents. Although this exclusivity can be a drawback to employers who wish to reach a large audience, value can be demonstrated if the quality of candidates is consistently higher than from the general population.
Examples: CareerBuilder, Craigslist, Jobr, University of Minnesota Student Job Portal
Job Search Engines
Also called aggregators, job search engines have many of the same visual and functional characteristics as job boards, but instead of receiving direct postings from employers they “scrape” jobs from multiple job boards, corporate sites, and other sources. Job search engines are more likely than job boards to sell ads through a pay-per-click model rather than requiring employers to subscribe or pay for job posts, although some do follow this model. Job search engines were first developed in 2005 and although they are in one sense competitors to job boards, they are also another means of attracting high traffic to job boards and corporate sites. A large proportion of jobs on search engines come from job boards, meaning that the two overlapping systems have become somewhat symbiotic.
In 2011, Indeed surpassed the job board Monster as the most visited job site online, although consumer studies suggest that job-seekers are often frustrated by the user experience of bouncing between different sites. Standard search engines, such as Google are now providing similar services. This report does not include research done on job search engines.
Examples: Indeed, SimplyHired
Classic Online Labor Exchanges
RealTime Talent has identified “classic online labor exchanges” as job boards that have added functionality to match talent to opportunities going beyond keyword searches. For example, these systems may scan candidate profiles or resumes for education, skills, and experience and pull job postings that make reference to the same. They almost always offer other services to employers such as applicant tracking systems (ATS) or “push out” postings to job aggregators. They may also offer career planning tools for job-seekers, back-end access for career counselors and workforce centers, or data dashboards that can be used in labor force analysis. Like job boards, most sites require payment from employers, however statewide labor exchanges, customized and launched by government bodies, often establish a no-fee system to encourage employers to use their site.
Examples: MinnesotaWorks, Monster
Advanced Matching Platforms
A new brand of online labor exchange has surfaced in the past five years that uses complex algorithms to customize the job search results to individual candidates. Catering to passive candidates and those working on developing a long-term career goal, these platforms reduce the noise in the job market by filtering for only those candidates that have the optimal match of interests, hard skills, soft skills, experience, and educational background for a position. Their algorithms go far beyond the resume or keyword searches to understand subtle differences between candidates that make for stronger matches and more valuable employees. In some cases, they factor in preferred work environments, office culture, and schedule. Advanced matching platforms level the playing field between job seekers and employers, allowing either party to initiate the selection process once a match has been determined by the platform. This approach is successful in overcoming common hiring biases, removing from the process the candidate’s name, gender, address, or other traits that can be deduced from a resume or cover letter.
However, this unique approach may be frustrating to some active job-seekers accustomed to sifting through traditional job boards. Most advanced matching platforms require the completion of a questionnaire to match to positions, ranging in time commitments from 5 minutes to 45 minutes to complete – depending on the platform. Upon completion, few or even no matches may be presented if the answers do not match a currently open position.
Examples: Anthology, Elevated Careers, WhiteTruffle, WorkFountain
Applications and Social Media Technology
Social networking and app-based labor exchanges function as job boards, classic exchanges, or include some degree of advanced matching. However, they are typically highly simplified for a mobile environment and often do not operate well on desktop systems. Not a discreet category in and of themselves, and because functionality in both a desktop and mobile environment is critical for this pilot, sites that solely operate in a mobile environment were excluded from this study. LinkedIn Talent Solutions was reviewed, however, as it operates like a classic labor exchange that is able to leverage the data and connectivity of professional networks in the job search.
Examples: Jobr, JobandTalent, LinkedIn Talent Solutions
Recruitment technology assists employers with passive recruitment of top candidates, sometimes serving the role that staffing firms and temporary agencies fulfill in larger companies. These technologies use marketing and communications as a means for “selling” positions to candidates directly. There is almost always a subscription fee for service paid by employers. The platforms are almost always candidate-facing, with recruitment companies performing all of the recruitment needs for a company including advertising jobs, researching passive candidates, reviewing applications, and screening potential hires. These systems feature large candidate databases with advanced capacities for searching, evaluating, and contacting them directly. They may connect to an ATS, or provide tracking services themselves. As these are not true labor exchanges and did not fit the functional needs of this pilot, recruitment technology were not evaluated beyond Phase 1.
Examples: Vettery, JobVite