December Job Board & Recruiting News: Monetization, Legal Battles, and Data Scraping

December Recruiting & Job Board News

Lots of things going on in the world of recruiting and job boards, and it’s kind of tough to boil it all down in a meaningful way, so I’ll highlight a few big stories that are worth your attention right now.

Indeed to Monetize Resume Database

Indeed has announced a change to its services for employers and recruiters. For some time now, you were able to search through their substantial resume database to reach candidates. The ability to make contact with candidates will soon only be accessible through a paid subscription service.

 

Writing for AimGroup, Tariq Ahmed Saeedi summarizes the new subscription service:

“There are two levels of subscription: a standard sub and a professional sub. Employers and recruiters signing up for the standard subscription will have access to 30 new contacts in a month for $100 U.S.. With the professional subscription, they will get up to 100 contacts in a month for $250 U.S.”

 

This bit of news isn’t just about a big company finding another way to make money off of its existing customer base, it’s a strategy that many niche job boards could benefit from emulating.

 

Understand that Indeed wasn’t able to do this overnight – a number of things had to happen in order to make their resume database a viable revenue channel. After convincing employers to post jobs on their site, they had to get them to use Indeed’s system for receiving job applications. The consequence of this was having a lot of job seekers building out their Indeed profiles.

 

As a niche job board owner, you can do the same thing by getting employers to use your system for receiving job applications and building out your candidates’ profiles – which are exclusively relevant to the jobs your customers are trying to fill. Then you have a solid offering in the form of a candidate database that you can charge employers to access.

 

ZipRecruiter Acquires JobBoard.io

ZipRecruiter, a company with services and products that include job distribution, job backfills, job search, and application tracking, has acquired job board software company JobBoard.io. Chris Russell on JobBoardSecrets.com and Joel Cheesman on ERE.net report that JobBoard.io’s customers were informed via email last week, and they can look forward to new ZipRecruiter features and options.

 

ZipRecruiter is an interesting player in the recruiting and job board space. They’re not at the same level of global name recognition as Indeed or LinkedIn, but their distribution services have a broad reach (perhaps too broad?) and they often act as an intermediary for job boards, employers, and job seekers through their tools and integrations. Some of our customers make good use of their job backfills as a supplement to their original job content and earn click revenue.

 

I generally advise niche job board owners to maintain a balance between backfills and original job content, since jobs posted to your site directly by employers and recruiters allow you to establish direct relationships with your own customers and job seekers. Russell suggests that combined solutions from JobBoard.io and ZipRecruiter may be something akin to SimplyHired’s (now defunct) publisher program. I can’t help but wonder if that’s a good thing for niche job boards in the long run, as to my knowledge the customer and candidate data fed through a SimplyHired job board didn’t actually belong to the job board owners.

 

Cheesman mentions the commoditization of job posts, and with technology and marketplace factors constantly evolving, it seems like a job board’s data is its most reliable currency. It will be interesting to see what impact acquisition by ZipRecruiter may have on JobBoard.io customers’ level of data ownership.

 

LinkedIn vs HiQ

I know you’ve heard of LinkedIn, but what of HiQ? The self-described data science company uses public information to help employers understand and analyze their employees best-suited career path and whether or not they are “flight risks”.

 

The two companies are in an ongoing legal dispute regarding HiQ’s use of public LinkedIn profile data. LinkedIn doesn’t think other companies should profit from content on their site, and HiQ thinks publicly available data is fair game and that legally restricting its use will stifle competition and innovation.

 

That’s the very short version. I think it’s worth a deeper dive at a later time, but for now, you can read more about it in the articles I’ve linked to below. The outcome of this legal battle could have wide and potentially significant ramifications for recruiting, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

 

DHI Group and OilPro

Another legal battle you might want to know about is the one between job board Dice.com’s parent company DHI Group and a job board called OilPro. The connection between the two is David Kent, founder of RigZone, a job board focused on oil and gas industry jobs. Kent sold RigZone to DHI Group, and after parting ways with the company, he went on to found OilPro.com. I’m going to quote Joel Cheesman’s summary of what happened next here:

“Oilpro.com no longer exists, and there’s a good reason for that: Kent stole from DHI Group. In 2016, he pled guilty to stealing more than 700,000 customer accounts from Rigzone’s database, then — and here’s where it gets really stupid — trying to sell Oilpro.com to Rigzone’s parent company, DHI Group. Let that one sit for a bit.”

 

But wait – there’s more:

“Anyway, news hit mid November that Oilpro was suing DHI, “alleging that Dice Open Web, under the direction of DHI Group’s executive team, illegally scraped and mined data from rival sites,” in addition to Oilpro. Yes, the company built with stolen data from DHI is suing DHI for “stealing” data. You can cut the hypocrisy with a knife.”

 

Yikes. That’s quite the mess, isn’t it? It should be mentioned that Kent is now in jail.

 

Both the DHI Group vs OilPro and LinkedIn vs HiQ stories involve the legalities and ethics of collecting and using job board data. The subject of data scraping deserves a deeper discussion, but I think the take-home point for job board owners is to be mindful and ethical in how you procure and/or distribute candidate and customer data – and to be careful of who has access to yours.

 

As Indeed and Ziprecruiter show us, playing the long game to build up a solid candidate database with relevant and up to date resume profiles can pay off. The common theme here is that good data is valuable. As we look ahead to 2018, job board owners would do well to think about where they stand with their own data.

 

 

 

Image credit:Ian Schneider

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