Where does AI belong in recruiting?

Where does AI belong in recruiting?

Previously on the blog we’ve talked about whether we are all doomed to be replaced by robots and how the prevalence of automation may impact jobs and the recruiting industry.

 

As these technologies continue to be developed, experts are still debating what the full impact that automation and artificial intelligence will be on jobs and economies around the world. Without a crystal ball in hand, we can at least begin to think about how AI may be used in recruiting.

 

One area ripe for artificial intelligence-powered automation is the more routine work and tasks that recruiters perform, which they are sometimes guilty of neglecting. Writing for HRtechnologist.com, Rhucha Kulkarni suggests AI could help improve the candidate experience:

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Everybody's Talking About Google Jobs

What Everybody’s Talking About: Google Jobs

 

While the impact of recruiting technology is widespread, it’s still something of a niche when it comes to mainstream news headlines. But that’s not the case when big companies with household names make a move in the recruiting tech arena.

 

Google recently released more details on its Google Jobs initiative, and it has everyone in the recruiting industry talking. TechCrunch has a good summary of what it’s all about:

 

In a few weeks, Google will begin to recognize when U.S. users are typing job search queries into Google Search, and will then highlight jobs that match the query. However, Google is not necessarily taking on traditional job search service providers with this launch – instead, it’s partnering with them.

[…]

What makes the service interesting is that it’s leveraging Google’s machine learning smarts to understand how job titles are related and cluster them together.

 

So what does it all mean? And what does it mean for recruiting and job boards?

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Retaining Homegrown Talent with Community Job Boards

Retaining Homegrown Talent with Community Job Boards

Recently, we talked about the challenges that smaller towns and cities face, along with their chambers of commerce and local governments, when it comes to attracting and retaining a skilled workforce.

 

Many municipalities, their leaders, and businesses are working hard to make their communities great places to live and work, and are proud to see their youth achieve success in school and work. But they still struggle with being able to effectively connect those young people with the kinds of opportunities that will allow them to stay there and help grow the businesses that employ them.

 

So how can a community job board run by a chamber of commerce or municipal government help retain their young, homegrown talent?

 

To answer that question, we need to look at some key factors that make a community job board successful:

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Local SEO for Regional Job Boards

Local SEO for Regional Job Boards

Something many businesses that serve a particular geographic region take advantage of when it comes to their Search Engine Optimization is local SEO.

 

If you live in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan and search for “pizza”, it’s not very helpful if the results you get are for restaurants in New York. That’s why search engines try to deliver results that are relevant to your location as well as your search terms.

 

So, if you make great pizza in Moosejaw, how do you reach local potential customers? Okay, I know if you’re reading a blog on a job board software provider’s website, there’s a chance you run a job board or a recruiting business and are not in the business of making delicious pizza. (That said, if you’ve found a market for pizza-related employment and you’re thinking of starting a job board…call us!)

 

Below I’ve gathered some tips and resources for bolstering your local SEO and ideas on how to handle some of the challenges that online businesses may face.

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Municipal and Regional Job Boards for Economic Development

Municipal Job Boards for Regional Economic Development

Cities both big and small find themselves focusing on economic development to improve the lives of their citizens, help local businesses, and their local economy. One challenge that cities and local employers face is both attracting new talent to their region and retaining their local workforce.

 

Katherine Risley, writing on the website of recruiting company Meridia, talks about the challenges employers face in hiring local talent and relocating new employees:

 

“Firstly, organizations struggle to capture the attention of potential candidates. Once an applicant does materialize the second challenge is assessing the applicant’s motivations. Employers often fear that a candidate may be considering the job because they are desperate for work or that the candidate hasn’t truly considered the lifestyle impact of a move to a rural area.”

 

Cities, counties, and other types of municipal regions can play a big role in helping local employers with these challenges through a regional job board, career portal, or recruiting platform. Whatever you want to call it, the following list outlines ways that a municipal job board can significantly help local economic development:

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niche job boards - are you niche enough?

Are you niche enough?

The online recruiting industry is a big and bustling place, full of competition, but small job boards that are niche have a lot going for them.

 

Writing for the Society of Human Resource Management, Roy Maurer describes the advantages of niche job boards in recruiting:

“Niche boards may not boast the traffic of mammoths like CareerBuilder and Indeed, but their use often leads to lower cost-to-hire and higher quality-of-hire metrics because they are more likely to attract highly coveted candidates with specialized skills and relevant experience, experts say.”

 

Many new job boards can find themselves struggling to stand apart from both older, more established job boards and those mammoth-sized, generalist platforms. One of the questions we encourage job board entrepreneurs to ask themselves is, “Am I niche enough?”

 

This blog post will outline how new job boards can think about being niche, explore ways to further specialize, and highlight a few helpful tools that may help.

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Data Ownership in the Cloud

Understanding Cloud-Based Job Board Software

 

“It’s in the cloud!” is a phrase that doesn’t really tell you much, if you’re not already familiar with modern hosted software infrastructure.

 

One of the most commonly used cloud-based services is probably email. Web-based email providers from Hotmail to Gmail don’t require you to physically store your email data on your own hard drive or on your own server. Instead, you can access it on a website through your browser, where you can login and access your email. The email data is retrieved from where your email service provider stores it. In the cloud. Hmm. Still confused?

 

Let’s back up a bit.

 

Just where the heck are these clouds, anyways? Why are they so special? Part of why cloud computing has become so popular over the last couple decades is that it pools together processing power and other resources, which makes it easier for software providers to deliver their services more quickly and efficiently.

 

This is particularly useful when the software needs to use large sets of data and run searches and complex queries on it. It’s also why some cheap-and-cheerful solutions for job board software out there can run into trouble as their database grows. Data processing power is not equal on every server or hosting service provider.

 

Software as a Service Models

 

Software-as-a-Service (or “SaaS” for short), is software that is delivered to you as a (surprise!) service, as opposed to a package that you purchase, download, run, and host yourself. Gmail is a commonplace example. Social media management tool Hootsuite, personal finance tool Mint.com, and online storage solution Dropbox are all SaaS products.

 

SaaS products often sell on a “freemium” model, where they have a free version of their software with limits on features or usage, and offer paid, premium options that unlock more features or provide more use in the form of things like their number of users or amount of data.

 

Most SaaS products tend to be accessible by all customers from the same website by logging into their individual accounts. All of their customer data is stored together, with each customer’s data partitioned from each other. For some SaaS solutions (including Careerleaf) the set up is a bit different. With each job board existing on its own domain, each job board’s data is separate, and our customers maintain ownership over their data.

 

Owning Recruiting Data with SaaS

 

In the recruiting industry, the intersection of SaaS products and data is particularly interesting when it comes to how it’s used and who may profit from it. Sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor all offer products and services delivered through a SaaS model. Recruiters can post jobs and connect with candidates, but those interactions, and the data that candidates submit to recruiters and employers, is “owned” by the SaaS platform.

 

A couple weeks ago I wrote the following about data ownership for recruiters as part of a news round-up:

 

To me, it emphasizes how important it is for both job boards and recruiting companies to avoid heavy reliance on providers of technology, traffic, and/or candidates who can claim ownership over candidate and employer data. If all your candidates pass through and register on Indeed or LinkedIn, it adds to the coffers of those companies, not yours. And if or when they decide it’s no longer in their interest to be helpful to you, they can take their toys and go home.

 

Of course, there are also other cases of data insecurity in SaaS products that have resulted in data bleeds, leaks, or otherwise compromising on the promise of keeping customer data secure:

 

Data ownership and security has consistently been voiced as a top priority for our clients – and we totally get it, because we see corners being cut. From our experience, we’ve seen cases where one database was used to store multiple customers’ data, and due to negligence, was inadvertently leaked and was accessible to different clients.

 

Data security and ownership is a topic we don’t see getting enough attention in recruiting and in the realm of job board businesses.

 

Data on Your Own Platform

 

When recruiting on your own platform, you have the advantage of connecting directly with candidates and (depending on your business model) with your customers.

 

It’s not about secluding yourself from wider networks or spurning the use of tools they offer, but instead it’s about building value you can rely on in the form of data. If you recruit talent through your own platform where candidates can register and update their information, without fear of your service provider transforming into a competitor and poaching them.

 

One way in which Careerleaf stands apart from its competitors is its ability to deliver white-labelled job board platform to each of our customers, each on its own secure instance. “Data” is a deceptively simple term for what helps make online recruiting and job board businesses so valuable and profitable, which is why it’s important to us to deliver a great SaaS solution for job boards that lets our customers retain ownership of their data while keeping it secure.

Recruitment Marketing Platforms: Dead or Thriving?

A couple weeks ago ERE published two articles on the same day, with each article’s premise opposing the other:

  1. 10 Reasons Why Recruitment Marketing Platforms Are Dead By Tom Steele
  2. Recruitment Marketing Platforms Are Not Dead. Here’s Why By Chris Forman

 

Both articles raise interesting questions about what problems need solving in recruiting and how different technologies have tried to solve them. Below I’ll dig into both perspectives and sum up the broader questions that recruiters need to ask about not just recruitment marketing platforms, but about their whole process and all the tools involved.

 

Steele’s contention is that most solutions calling themselves “Recruitment Marketing Platforms” come with a series of inherent flaws which will determine their demise. In his experience, a recruitment marketing platform adds unnecessarily to a recruiter’s tech stack, and doesn’t solve the fundamental problems like candidate experience, which continue to plague recruiting:

“Yes, I’ve heard you all say your career site is mobile optimized. But after your 35-step application process on my mobile device, I have to disagree. Maybe the front of your career site is mobile optimized, but not certainly the application.”

It’s a fair point, considering how many job applicants still face the situation described above. Recruitment marketing in and of itself does not fix a problem caused by employers and recruiting agencies who still use tools and processes that are suited to their own bureaucracy instead of a positive candidate experience, which in turn positively impacts hiring. So if recruitment marketing platforms are simply a glossy veneer designed to lure candidates in without the infrastructure to capture and retain them, as the picture Steele clearly paints, it does sound like they’re a dead-end.

 

But that’s not the whole story.

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Pricing Your Job Board Services

Pricing Your Job Board Services

If you’re starting a new job board, you’ve hopefully been making use of Careerleaf’s resources for job boards, and now you’re starting to think about how you’ll price your services.

 

To do this, you’ll need to know your overall costs and your business model, including what products or services you’re selling, and any other sources of revenue.

 

Revenue Goals

Many entrepreneurs may start off with dollar signs in their eyes, dreaming of all the cash they’ll have once they get their new business off the ground. The reality is many businesses take the time to become really profitable, so it’s important to set milestone goals for you to meet along your journey.

 

  1. Your First Sale – The first goal is proving out your business idea by making a sale, or a few initial sales, and learning from those early customers. Was the price right? Did they get what they wanted? Will they recommend your services to other people? You might experiment a little during this early stage to find the prices that match the value your customers expect and experience.
  2. Break Even – The second milestone is making enough money to cover your costs. How much do you spend to operate your job board in the first place? What do your monthly costs for software, hosting, marketing tools, and hours of labour (yours or that of an employee or contractor) add up to?
  3. Make a Profit – The third goal is generating enough revenue to cover your operating costs and make a profit. Once you’re profitable, you may invest that profit into growing the business further.

 

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