2.0 Job boards and why Techcrunch and GigaOM don’t get it.

Michael Arrington over at Techcrunch and Crunchnotes has started a job-board. Why not, one may ask? He is an a-list blogger, presides over much of the what is cool and uncool in the Web 2.0 space, is a very interesting read and gets stacks of traffic of the sort that look for tech jobs. OM Malik has done the same, and Michael is a bit put out that they didn’t do it in partnership. He levels the lowest of 2.0 insults, the 1.0 thinking label, shudder, with the wall building double whammy blow. thump…

 I decided to have a look at the techcrunch offering first. There are several rather nice jobs advertised already, including one at Microsoft. (note to my employer I’m not looking for another job, this was merely professional curiosity) Michael has posted on the stats here.

Working in HR software for the last 15 years or so, and being foolish enough to attempt an HR related startup in 2000 (in this very space) I was intrigued to see what the high priests of 2.0 would provide as a job board. Me being all enterprisey and 1.0 I was expecting to be wowed by all sorts of web 2.0 stuff.

I was hoping for.

1.Feeds to enable posting from corporate and other boards. (HR-XML based), maybe even automated payment methods, price by click through options and micropayments

2. A simple application form tool, allowing applicants to easily enter CVs -resumes and speed routing to the correct recruiter. Maybe even with options to include your linkedin profile, your blog, myspace, or your opensource contributions. (perhaps exploiting some of the technologies developed for dating services?) Search widgets

3. A solid privacy policy, maybe with some neat anonymization features. (So that you dont find your current employer knowing that you are looking, or your data sold on who knows where.)

4. Reporting to show the value of 200 dollars a month. (number of reads, applicants etc)  perhaps real-time,  and open so I can drop the results into my recruitment system or financial application?

5. a cool and wacky 2.0 why didn’t I think of that thing “you enterprisey fossil?” moment

I didn’t see any of these. All I saw was rudimentary posting form, with the same old same old mail your CV to the recruiter, or worse head over to xyz.careers.com to apply.

Simply put it is very 1.0 circa 1997.

Michael commented, “I imagined an API for entering jobs, and an API for outputting jobs, that could be displayed anywhere” and also “Job boards are trivially easy to build”

If Michael had done just a  teeny weeny bit of research first, he would have seen that the open-apis that he wants are right there, ready and waiting.

There is a lot of work going on with open apis for job board posting, as most  in the HR space know. Check out HR-XML for details. There has been a XML standard available since 2000. This is used by many of the job boards and the recruitment applications to communicate between their applications. HR-XML is involved with the WS-I, the web-services interoperability organization.

There is much that can be improved in the recruitment process chain. After all finding a job is a pretty important thing when you don’t have one, or are unhappy in your current one. It costs employers a big wedge too. It isn’t trivial, otherwise it would be a whole lot better than it is.

I believe that web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 offer the potential to fundamentally reshape the recruitment space. How about resumes expressed in atom feeds, with maybe a soundbite or even video, embedded privacy policies perhaps leveraging DRM, pay on results….

This isn’t a 2.0 recruiting play. Pity, it could have been.

A simple job post board is easy to build, but the world doesn’t need another one. 

Michael would have been better served in partnering with a promising HR development crowd who understand the space,  or at least checked out a couple of cool recruiting related blogs like Cheezhead. 

I’ve recently discovered  indeed.com  and they have some v cool apis and widgets, firefox plugins, jobs by IM and trending.  they have an affiliate revenue stream. This is a pic of their typepad widget. From it you can search jobs on many boards.


How about looking up Jim over at Microsoft? He blogs up a storm on recruitment and really knows his stuff.

I had a look at OM Maliks site too, and much the same criticisms apply there. He mentions Linked in integration, but I’d expected more.

I look forward to the 2.0 versions, without walls. Leveraging your blogs to target recruitment is a clever play, but not in the way you have gone about it. Why not partner with an innovator like indeed or Jobster, instead.

It seems I’m not the only one who has doubts..


Job boardgasm


23 thoughts on “2.0 Job boards and why Techcrunch and GigaOM don’t get it.

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  3. Thomas

    Intersting post. The job boards are laggards as far as web 2.0 is concerned but so are the ATS vendors. As fas as HR-XML is concerned, whilst it is a great concept too few software vendors take it very seriously. HR-XML compliance is lauded by the sales people but when you check the HR-XML site and see what they are really accredited for it is very different.

    We have just gone through a painful job feed integration with a US ATS vendor and had to explain to them what it is that they had ‘built’. We adopted the HR-XML standards possibly first in the UK and tried to work with Oracle – hmmmmm.

    The real opportunity is with the employer to make their career site web 2.0 rather than rely on the job boards; this way they can beat the job boards on SEO, SMO etc.

    Feel free to get in touch sometime as even SAP don’t have their e-recruitment module sorted!!

    Keep on biking; you can just point downhill and hang on with a fancy bike :>)


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