Jobs Board? You need Nora’s advice first!

Thursday, April 9th, 2009 - career change, career transition, job hunting, job search, jobs board, tutorial


Jobs Boards


Jobs Boards are great! Monster, Just Jobs, TopJobs: a massed plethora of whole of market and focused sector jobs boards make it so easy to find and apply for a job in any job search.

In the old days – which thanks to the BBC’s revival of “The Sweeney,” rather than being called the 80’s are now called “Ashes to Ashes” – modern technology means that you no longer need to: get up at the crack of dawn to be the first person at the newsagents to make sure you are the first to apply; getting your hands dirty with newsprint; making awkward phone calls; hacking out a CV with your awful typing on granny’s typewriter; and then having to rely on the Post Office or the bus to get your application in that day.

Now with jobs boards, you just: wake up, log in to your eMail, and hit send to the 20 new jobs that take your fancy that the nice online robot search engine has found you. And if you don’t get a phone call today form a desperate employer, you can always let the search engine find you another 20 jobs to apply for again tomorrow. Couldn’t be simpler – why did they ever call it Monster in the first place?

Looking back to the 1980’s, to find a job, the options were: the newspaper (either Thursday in most towns for the local rag, or trying to remember which day the appropriate Times or Guardian supplement for your market came out on); or your network. Most people seem these days to have forgotten their network, so lets dismiss that one? Actually, its still probably the best way of finding a job easily, but that is not the subject of this blog entry.

In the 1980’s, the criteria of “within 20miles of home in the X sector” was not just selected, it was in built. Most of the jobs in the broad sheet supplements meant moving to London and the Southeast, and were really as much as a vanity issue for those buying the supplements as those advertising in them. Most actual jobs found and fulfilled were from the local newspaper, and it is hence no surprise that as big as Job Centres were, the biggest placer of candidates were in fact Newsquest and the regional parts of Trinity Mirror group. Would it hence surprise you today that they are now also some of the largest players in the regional jobs board market?

The disadvantage of the 1980’s system was that if you fancied a job just outside the local newspapers distribution area, then you had to make a trip to the one newsagent in town who stocked the five adjoining regional newspapers – there by multiplying your costs by five fold. Hence not many job seekers did this – and not many employers either, for the same reasons. The advantage with jobs boards is that a 20mile search is as easy as a 35mile search, and hence one of the side benefits of jobs boards is that the available jobs market has become larger for candidates – as well as employers. This resultant increase in market liquidity to both parties means that there is more competition all round – and hence it should not come as a surprise that applicants spend as long looking for jobs now, as they did in the 1980’s. Further, although they can apply for more jobs, they resultantly get more application rejections. Wondering now why they called a jobs board Monster? These things bite hard!

How can candidates and applicants win back the advantage in the job boards driven modern job search?

The first thing any UK applicant should do is take the advice of NORAS – the National Online Recruitment Audience Survey. NORAS use both feedback from real candidates and their own blind-customer surveys to test out the easy and efficiency of using most of the UK’s most popular job boards, using a profile of different candidates and job vacancies. They publish these results , and give free access to anyone who may care to register – also for free. What Noras data should tell the candidate is the type of jobs available on that job board, and the type of experience they are likely to recieve using that job board. There are also commercial jobs board feedback sites, including whatjobsite.com

Why is this so important? Because much as though it is as easy for applicants to apply for jobs, employers find that although the number of applicants has risen through use of job boards, the quality of candidates they want to interview has not changed. Hence the numbers of suitable candidates to interview per job in actual fact differs little between the 1980’s and now. Ease of application has both its advantages as well as disadvantages. Employers hence have driven the market towards specialist job boards, and it is these as well as localised job boards where the greatest expansion in job board population is growing significantly.

If you are seeking a job, and plan on using job boards as part of your approach, then undertake some simple steps:

  1. Register with NORAS and see where the typical job you are seeking is to be found
  2. Register on the appropriate job boards, and see how many of the type of job you seek actually exist there right now today. No jobs listed means either all the vacancies are full, or your criteria are too tight. Try opening the search area first, before you open the jobs skills criteria
  3. If you find suitable jobs, then print out the adverts and use the highlighter pen test to see if you have the right skills – don’t just push the apply button

Jobs boards are a great development to the job seeking market. Just be aware that NORAS and some simple steps can help you greatly in taking the advantage back into your control.

Good Luck!

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