The final two months of 2008 resulted in a precipitous decline in job posting activity on our site as the economy began to tumble off the cliff, to paraphrase Warren Buffett's sentiments. Since the beginning of 2009, I've been focusing my attention on identifying and developing new programs and services that will add value to the users of our company's web service- namely HR professionals, small business owners and managers, recruiters, and job seekers- in order to stay relevant and viable.
Regardless of which rocks I look under, the hard fact is that anything which we develop will be related to a job market that is a shadow of what it was 2 years ago. Indeed, when the market was booming, it was easy street in the employment advertising sector- between 2004 and 2008 the number of online job boards increased from around 30,000 to over 100,000 due to the huge demand and growing value of web-based advertising platforms. Everyone with a dream of making it rich in e-commerce, it seemed, was staking a claim in this vast space, with our without strong business plans or depth of knowledge in this market.
It makes me think of the San Francisco Gold Rush of the 1850's. Back then, plain folk from all over the country (and even from overseas) packed up all their worldly belongings and set out to find gold and strike it rich. Very few of these "miners" had the knowledge or know-how to mine effectively; many, in fact, failed to even make the distinction between real gold and other, less precious minerals. At the time, though, the feeling was that it didn't matter what you knew- anyone could do it. All you had to do was dig around, sift through some riverbeds, and one day, your time and effort will pay off.
Today, anyone who can put together a little HTML and set up PayPal and Google Adsense accounts seems to have packed up their belongings and hitched their wagon to the job posting rush of the mid 2000's. And similar to the Gold Rush, very few possess the depth or breadth of knowledge that is vital to providing a lasting and reliable resource in this market.
Personally, it's sad to see all these new job posting sites popping up that simply scrape postings from other sites, ensure they are search engine optimized, and hope for some free money from the Google ad links that they paste all over the place. They're trying to get rich off the backs of real businesses who are working tirelessly to help employers find the best candidates available, and help job seekers access real, legitimate job opportunities.
Which takes me back to my focus of 2009, and some recent developments that may be coming down the line. In addition to an increased curriculum for our HRCI Certified webinars and seminars, we are working to find new ways to help the users of our site be more successful- whether that be by finding great candidates, or landing the job of their dreams. We've already added CareerTV, a very well produced service that provides tips and advice to help job seekers improve their resumes, interview success, and other career search activities. We've also partnered with Kennedy Information to deliver premier level services to job seekers willing to work with placement professionals.
Next on the horizon, we're looking at adding some punch to our Company Spotlights by perhaps adding some audio. The thinking here is that this will give employers a second dimension to engage job seekers, and really allow the personality of the company to shine. We're also exploring outlets to share the labor market data we accumulate in a format that will help job seekers better evaluate the employment landscape.
Now I'm beginning to feel like a blowhard. Really what I'm trying to convey is that good business is based on increasing the value you present, not on merely making a better package. I'm a firm believer that by doing good, we can all do well. In our industry, doing good means helping people and employers be successful.
When it comes down to it, the value of any business is most accurately measured by the trust of its customers. Sometimes I feel like an old fashioned fuddy-duddy, still clinging to basic business principles of a bygone era, while the youngin's wrap empty solutions in slick online marketing, and reap short term gains. Then, I remember that despite the speed of development and information sharing, long term business success must be viewed as a marathon, and not a sprint.
We have moved to Wordpress! Posted by Jason Links to this post The Recruiting Front Lines has evolved. At the beginning of the year, I changed jobs within my company, moving away from Outreach and Education, and into my new role as Director of Business Development. While I remain closely involved with our field activity, I am now more focused on strategic partnerships, social media, and the world of internet recruitment resources. As I have made this change, the focus of my blog content has also changed. Recently, I began to feel that many of the ideas I had for blog posts would not fit within the framework of The Recruiting Front Lines. This was a cause of some frustration, as I felt that I was either misrepresenting my content with the title of my blog, or that I was stifling my writing because I felt it didn't fit. To rectify this situation, I have created a new blog home, now on WordPress. I am still ironing out the wrinkles, but feel that it is far enough along that I can move all my past content, and begin posting all new content, at the new address. I would like to formally welcome everyone to come check out my new home at jasonblais.com. I can't wait to hear what you think! Best Regards, and Thank you for your time and attention over the past 18 months. Jason