ASA Central Network

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  • 1.  Are job boards truly FRIEND or FOE?

    Posted 08-21-2020 17:14
    Edited by Brian Bowman 08-29-2020 11:52

    Hi All,

    As I wind down the week i've had some time to reflect on a very interesting conversation that I had with a staffing client of ours around the subject of INDEED....and are they friend or foe.

    You know INDEED, the largest job board on the planet.  I'm pretty certain you know how they got that way too - by aggregating job postings from companies AND staffing firms (and yesteryear from other job boards).  This was a great strategy out of the gate because it quickly helped them to acquire ALOT of content fast.  Content that they have since monetized with job seeker traffic.

    Here is irony - once they got big enough and the timing was right - they booted staffing firms from free job post inclusion.  Unless you pay, a staffing firm can no longer have their jobs organically show up on their website.  No show = no traffic.  Funny thing is....they did exactly this same thing to us job board operators.  When they didn't need us any longer - we got the boot.  NOT GOOD.

    Here's my point - I was talking with a staffing client today and she was completely incensed that in talking with one of her customers, that customer mentioned that INDEED HIRE had approached them with direct hire services for only a 10% fill rate.  WOW - now that was a gut punch.  They are DIRECTLY COMPETING now against her direct hire services - and negotiating on rate.  Furthermore - she felt she was FUNDING this new venture with her PAID ADS.  Now let that sink in...you pay them for sponsored ads for a certain type of candidate.  They attracted the candidate from YOUR CONTENT (the job), they then capture that candidate's credentials...and then SELL AGAINST YOU in your backyard competing services.  Again, while using prospectively - very likely - the very candidates your ad brought them.  She was NOT happy.

    So I ask the question to you all - INDEED - friend or foe?

    I did some deep research on INDEED today and was absolutely STUNNED to really understand the organizational make-up of Japan's RECRUIT HOLDINGS Ltd.  Did you know that this company owns RGF STAFFING, a holding company with well over 400 staffing offices in the USA under a different name?  And that THOSE offices ALSO compete against your temporary assignment contracts.  YESH - they are brilliant! (view the visuals on competition on this version of the article on LinkedIn).

    Here is the real kicker - MONSTER sold to Randstad. And of course, Randstad competes in the staffing space.  With a lower cost for talent acquisition hitting their P&L - I would suggest that they, like the RGF STAFFING's local staffing offices - have a potentially significant cost structure advantage over staffing firms not a part of a job board.  NOT GOOD....as this surely drives down margins for you in order to compete.

    I'm not a prophet, but here is a thought. Following this same modus operandi:  LinkedIn sold to Microsoft in mid 2016 for $26.2B - that is ALOT of money - the LARGEST acquisition ever made by Microsoft to date.  You have to ask, why did they do this?  Was it because like RECRUIT HOLDINGS (owner of INDEED) and Randstad - they too saw an opportunity for the synergy to perhaps enter into the staffing space someday?  It's not too far fetched...they have the Microsoft technology with Office Teams (and its' wonderful video conferencing capabilities), they now own the largest professional networking site with over 500 million profiles.  All that's needed is to open up that $130B cash war chest and buy out a few national staffing organizations (such as an Express Employment, or AtWork)....a few of these owners may be up for a huge payout with that purchase.  Suddenly your staffing agency in a local market is competing with the likes of LINKSTAFF (made up name)....comprised of the deep pockets and technology and candidates to make your business feel the pain.

    That was an EYE OPENER for me.  So I ask....are staffing firms today by doing business with the large national job boards, who have corporate ownership that own USA staffing offices, literally feeding the beasts that will devour them in the future?

    I wrote this article because I want to get some insight on how many knew this....and looked at it this way.  Makes you really wonder, are you partnered up with a friend OR foe.  If you found this interesting - take a look at our slide deck on the subject.

    Have a great weekend.



    ------------------------------
    Sincerely,

    Brian Bowman
    President / CEO
    LocalJobs.com, LLC
    (828) 209-1010
    brianbowman@localjobs.com
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  • 2.  RE: Are job boards truly FRIEND or FOE?

    Posted 08-24-2020 08:14
    Indeed has always followed the playbook that Google wrote. Provide quality search results fast and free, and then monetize, monetize, monetize. With Google for Jobs entering the mix, too, the marketplace is only getting more complicated. 

    But I'll offer this challenge to any board or staffing company. What are we all doing to make the experience easier and better for the applicant? The way that many of these platforms grew so fast is by making it as easy as possible for the job seeker. Search results are fast and accurate, and now, the platforms are devaluing postings with a low view-to-apply or apply-to-hire conversion. Indeed's justification for denying organic inclusion to staffing companies was that staffing companies were known for duplicate postings, poor quality job content, and posting in places where they had no jobs just to pipeline candidates. Indeed basically said that they'd allow you to create a bad experience, but you have to pay for it.

    If Google, Indeed, and whoever is next to grow in the market gets to a position of dominance by providing a better experience for the applicant, the job seeker will go there first. And we, as employers, will have to go where the people are. Many of those platforms now assume that applicants want to apply with direct employers wherever possible instead of with staffing companies. So what is our value proposition to combat that?

    Do we help people get started in a new career by having relationships with hiring managers? Do we help people find a good employer fit because we're leveraging historic hire data to match employers and employees? Are our recruiters knowledgeable about the market and roles that we fill so they can be subject matter experts for job seekers on what expectations they should have? Do we communicate more frequently and honestly than overstaffed internal HR teams and provide a better experience to the job seeker? And do job boards or job search tools help job seekers understand who a company is instead of just what jobs are posted?

    I'm all for bashing on the big guys when they manipulate the market for profit. But I also see a lot of vendors and staffing companies who are bitter because Indeed/Google/Facebook's new rules mean that a bad experience or dishonest practice has to be rethought. The number of sources that a job seeker consults, how often they search, the device they search on, and their expectations for the hiring experience have all changed, and these big guys have been leading the way. 

    We need to figure out how to be better instead of just opposed. This isn't a comment on localjobs.com at all, but I do think there's a danger in just saying that the big guys are bad by virtue of being a big guy, without considering why they have all the job seeker traffic in the first place.

    ------------------------------
    Alex Acton
    Director of Talent Attraction
    Supplemental Health Care
    Atlanta GA
    (770) 225-8453
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  • 3.  RE: Are job boards truly FRIEND or FOE?

    Posted 08-24-2020 10:36
    Hi Alex,

    You make a number of good points.  Primarily, the need to provide VALUE for the job seeker experience.  100% agree.

    That said - I think you missed the key point I'm making.  I'm saying that staffing firms are FUNDING THEIR FUTURE COMPETITION today because the BIG GUYS are moving heavy into staffing.  Indeed --> launching INDEED HIRE and their parent company buying multiple staffing firms in the USA.  Clearly, they are now in the same space.  Ditto with Randstad buying MONSTER.

    THAT is the key point.  How they got their  is my other key point - they did so with YOUR jobs content.

    As for candidate experience, the proliferation of ATS for companies / staffing firms of all sizes has universally been in my opinion a total bust as for job seeker experience.  In the notion of making life easier and faster for the recruiter - ATS systems have in my humble opinion been the stumbling block to candidate traffic and complete exasperation.  It's no wonder - if you are actively seeking a job and you have to complete a full profile account for EVERY company you apply to.....YESH, no thanks (hint: great selling point for staffing firms who make the introduction!!!)  Perhaps, it would be worth while to remove the ATS approach all together and hire lower level employees at the staffing firm to do the manual filtering - or only invest in an ATS that can do a really go job of parsing and importing WORD or PDF docs when sent in by candidates.  Just saying.....(I don't see this happening though as ATS now seems universal).  

    So, in summary - I don't have a problem with 'big guys' being big.  I have a problem with big guys who I PAY...and who then turn around and directly COMPETE AGAINST ME.  I personally will not spend another cent on Indeed, LI or Monster (I also own a direct hire firm, www.bigfishrecruiting.com ) for the very reasons I previously outlined in my article.

    My two sense....bb

    ------------------------------
    Sincerely,

    Brian Bowman
    President / CEO
    LocalJobs.com, LLC
    (828) 209-1010
    brianbowman@localjobs.com
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  • 4.  RE: Are job boards truly FRIEND or FOE?

    Posted 08-25-2020 17:52
    Edited by Heidi Swann 08-25-2020 17:52
    Hello Brian, 

    I think you raised a lot of great points. Indeed's parent company creates the same problem that I think a lot of smaller staffing firms experience in working with a VMS, working with the competition. On their website they advertise the turnaround time for both applicants and employers which I think will work to their benefit and against staffing firms that lack that level of transparency.
    When we interview candidates for our clients, how often are we able to give them realistic turnaround times?
    Do our Business Development Managers and Account Managers have great relationships with our clients to know when they have needs and how long it takes for them to accept our candidates?

    I think having an ATS that can do parsing and importing of WORD or PDF documents would be the best way to go for any staffing firm. I think the financial savings of paying for a system with the feature will be better than paying for another non-revenue producing employee. Without the parsing feature or an employee to do the manual filtering, loss in candidates due to a poor experience could cost staffing companies potentially thousands in lost revenue from potential placements. 

    Whether Indeed is a friend or foe to a staffing company depends on several factors - the market, type of placement, and ROI. If this a position that is a new market for the company and thus the recruiters do not have a pipeline of candidates ready to be placed there, then Indeed might be a friend. Is this also a job that other staffing agencies are recruiting for or is this position for a loyal client? Lastly, despite the competition, are we getting placements from the ads that we are paying for?

    I think in answering these questions, it will help staffing companies to determine if Indeed is a friend or foe. It may switch day to day depending on the position. But, we definitely need to be wiser about what we are posting and how we are recruiting. The competition is only going to get thicker.

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    Heidi Swann
    Provenir LLC
    San Antonio TX
    (210) 479-3444
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  • 5.  RE: Are job boards truly FRIEND or FOE?

    Posted 08-26-2020 13:03
    Edited by Alison Donato 08-26-2020 21:43

    Hi Heidi,

    My thoughts on your feedback....

    You stated: 

    I think having an ATS that can do parsing and importing of WORD or PDF documents would be the best way to go for any staffing firm. I think the financial savings of paying for a system with the feature will be better than paying for another non-revenue producing employee. Without the parsing feature or an employee to do the manual filtering, loss in candidates due to a poor experience could cost staffing companies potentially thousands in lost revenue from potential placements.

    I wholeheartedly agree - having a basic ATS that allows the candidate to just provide a name, email and phone and then attach a resume and cover letter is EASIEST for the candidate.  Problem is MANY ATS systems - be they at a client website, or at a staffing firm - require a FULL PROFILE to be created (essentially re-creating a resume all over again so that the data can be aggregated for internal CRM purposes.  Great information for the owner of the ATS, but totally crappy experience for job seekers).

    You stated:

    Whether Indeed is a friend or foe to a staffing company depends on several factors - the market, type of placement, and ROI. If this a position that is a new market for the company and thus the recruiters do not have a pipeline of candidates ready to be placed there, then Indeed might be a friend. Is this also a job that other staffing agencies are recruiting for or is this position for a loyal client? Lastly, despite the competition, are we getting placements from the ads that we are paying for?

    All great points - and valid....short term.  Long term - you are feeding profit to your current or soon-to-be future direct competitor.  I"m not certain that you would move forward with INDEED if their local staffing firm were say EXPRESSPROS or other national powerhouse...and they were in your backyard.  There would be STRONG motivations to look for alternate sources of advertising if that were the case.  And, it WILL be the case - if not today, someday soon.  So - yes, they work fine today...and you many not be feeling the pain - but if your share of local market staffing services....and/or your margins shink substantially - it will be a whole new ballgame.


    Have a great day Heidi.



    ------------------------------
    Sincerely,

    Brian Bowman
    President / CEO
    LocalJobs.com, LLC
    (828) 209-1010
    brianbowman@localjobs.com
    ------------------------------

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