One Job Board to Rule Them All? Hint: It’s not Facebook.

Like many people in HR/recruiting, I recently read about Facebook making the jump into offering searchable jobs.

What took them so long anyway?

Apparently, Facebook is planning to launch its own job board later this summer, and the board will aggregate the job postings of third-party providers, making them available for search by Facebook users.

This comes after Facebook announced late last year that they would be entering into a partnership with the U.S. Labor Department to provide job-hunting resources to explore and develop systems where jobs can be posted and delivered “virally” through Facebook at no charge.

Some people think that Facebook offering job board functionality will positively affect the U.S. economy and job marketplace.

No offense to Facebook, but I’m happy to say we don’t need them to launch a job board to help put America to work.

I believe there is something that the United States government (or any country’s government, for that matter) can do to facilitate putting more people to work, without the help of any other site or company, let alone Facebook.

One Job Board to Rule them All

I’ve been sitting on this idea for a couple of years now – imagine if the U.S. government created their own job board.

Yes, really.

The United States government could just as easily replicate and even improve upon Indeed’s and Simplyhired’s model of job aggregation by pulling jobs from corporate career sites – a model which obviously works given that Indeed is the #1 source of external hire according to SilkRoad.

What company would not want the U.S. government to scrape and aggregate their jobs so that they could be searchable by job seekers?

What job seeker wouldn’t want to search the official U.S. government’s employment database?

While basic job aggregation could be free, the government could charge companies to sponsor/feature jobs just as you can with Indeed as well as Facebook PPC click ads.

The money earned from this job board could help reduce the federal deficit, which just happens to be in dire need of reduction, by the way. Or, even better in some respects, the money could go solely and directly to our education system.

I would envision this U.S. job board to essentially be both a general and a multi-niche board all rolled into one board – the MOAJB (Mother Of All Job Boards).

There’s no practical reason why you could not structure such a job board by role (e.g., sales reps, nurses, doctors, lawyers, software engineers, etc.), industry (e.g., financial services, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, manufacturing, etc.), and even diversity – just as there are seemingly 100′s of niche job boards for all of these today.

Do we really need 50, let alone 10 job boards for any given role, industry, ethnicity or gender?

The U.S. government could easily create one job site to rule them all.

I envision that this site/service could be free for job seekers to post their resume, professional profile, or whatever you want to call someone’s summary of skills, experience, and desires in a new career opportunity, as well as free for employers to search the database.

People could choose amongst several different job seeking statuses.

Active job seekers could list their contact information, passive job seekers could have confidential profiles without employer data and leverage an anonymous messaging capability, and people that did not want to be contacted could go “dark” and be undiscoverable until they wanted to be discovered.

People who have entered profiles – public or private, active, passive or not looking but interested in being notified if their dream job pops up somewhere – could configure agents to be notified of jobs that match their profiles and interests.

People could also voluntarily enter demographic information, including diversity classifications so they could be easily identified by employers working towards their diversity initiatives.

Endless Possibilities

Imagine if all active duty military personnel were urged to create professional profiles/resumes and kept them up to date so that if/when they entered the civilian workforce, they could be easily identified by employers looking to hire veterans.

Imagine if all college students created student/professional profiles – or even better yet, if people created student profiles before they even graduated high school?

The U.S. education system could heavily encourage students to register, and employers could start tracking prospects as early as high school, not dissimilar to how colleges and even professional sports teams scout high school athletes.

Interestingly, the very knowledge that companies could be inspecting performance in academics and activities in high school could conceivably boost student performance significantly.

I have many ideas as to how this service could be configured for people to more effectively find the right jobs as well as for employers to find the right people to hire, including the use of advanced matching algorithms in addition to advanced manual search.

This service could not only be used by companies and people actively and passively looking for the next step in their career, it could also be used more specifically to automatically match the unemployed with job opportunities they are qualified for and alert the job seeker as well as the employer of potential matches.

For anyone who did not own a computer, the entire site would be designed to be fully functional on all mobile devices, and for those who did not own a mobile device, computers or kiosks could be set up in post offices and other locations so even people without a phone or a computer could have easy access and use the service for free.

Indeed doesn’t accomplish these things, nor does LinkedIn or any site for that matter, and I am not suggesting that the government create a social networking site.

I’m talking about pure and simple job facilitation.

That doesn’t mean that what I am suggesting would not involve social media – of course it would.

Employers could post sharable video content, jobs could be shared across all of the major social sites, and people could refer others to jobs and employers via social media – this would all be remarkably easy to implement.

I think it would be interesting to see the government disrupt the traditional job board business model, help put more people to work faster, and help put a dent in the deficit and/or increase funding to our educational system, all without denting our wallets (increasing taxes).

How about you?

What do You Think?

I fear many of you will immediately dismiss this whole concept without giving it much thought.

A private company could try to pull this off at any time, so why couldn’t the government?

We applaud startups for introducing disruptive technologies and business models – who says the government can’t bring positive disruption to the jobs marketplace?

A new job board of some sort seems to spring up daily, and all each one does is add to the confusion for job seekers and put a couple of bucks in the pockets of a few people.

Why couldn’t the U.S. government create the be-all and end-all ultimate job board (the United States Employment Portal?), and while helping put more people to work, also help reduce the deficit & fund our education system?

And if anyone in the U.S. government happens to read this and would like my guidance on how to actually pull this off successfully, don’t hesitate to contact me.

I’d be happy to help!

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About Glen Cathey

Glen Cathey is a sourcing and recruiting thought leader with over 16 years of experience working in large staffing agency and global RPO environments (>1,000 recruiters and nearly 100,000 hires annually). Starting out his career as a top producing recruiter, he quickly advanced into senior management roles and now currently serves as the SVP of Strategic Talent Acquisition and Innovation for Kforce, working out of their renowned National Recruiting Center with over 300 recruiters. Often requested to speak on sourcing and recruiting best practices, trends and strategies, Glen has traveled internationally to present at many talent acquisition conferences (5X LinkedIn Talent Connect - U.S. '10, '11, '12, Toronto '12, London '12, 2X Australasian Talent Conference - Sydney & Melbourne '11, '12, 6X SourceCon, 2X TruLondon, 2X HCI) and is regularly requested to present to companies (e.g., PwC, Deloitte, Intel, Booz Allen Hamilton, Citigroup, etc.). This blog is his personal passion and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone other than himself.

  • http://twitter.com/Alconcalcia Alasdair D Murray

    I think one job board would maybe be a bit extreme, and hard to run, but I hear what you’re saying about there being too many at present. I very recently tweeted when hearing the news about FB launching a job board – “the more job vehicles there are, the more confusing it is for jobseekers. It’s like having 1000 supermarkets in the same street” – and it’s true. Time was when you knew exactly where to look for jobs relevant to you. Now there are so many choices that it must be impossible for the jobseeker to know which way to turn next. Job boards, employers own career portals, media driven job boards, recruitment agency job lists and searches, the big generalist sites, the plethora of niche boards, social media (and WHICH social media) – We’re confusing the issue, not making it simpler. And because it;s become pile it high sell it cheap on many boards, the quality of many job posts is so bad that it wouldn’t generate a decent response even if it were on 1000 boards.

  • Tom Bolt

    Well Glen, you are wrong about one thing. I don’t think many people will dismiss this idea without giving it much thought. I think the problems we face are too serious not to brainstorm every possible solution to find the answer. I know that many of your followers will consider this idea simply because you said so…and you do have a loyal following, including me, who look for guidance from things that come out of your brain. I do think your idea won’t work for several reasons.

    1. There is no “U.S. Government” that will do anything with this without politicizing the hell out of it, especially in an election year. At best we have a 50/50 split on any idea and everything seems to be deemed right or wrong with no gray areas.

    2. Personally, I don’t think it is a great idea to put the government in competition with private companies who are already working on the next generation of job board and job board replacements. If anything, the insurmountable government bureaucracy would probably be targeted to current technology and stifle individual initiative and innovation. The US Postal service is bankrupt and FedEx and UPS are thriving.

    3. In a time of funding difficulties for many social programs, I would need to see more evidence that this could be self sustaining. I don’t see companies flocking to a government job board any more than they are to the commercial boards without either an incentive to do so or some mandate that forces them to subscribe. We all know how controversial that kind of thinking would be.

    Before I hastily write an entire blog post (and I might just do that after a little more thought) in response to your blog post, I would add that part of my feelings about this, Facebook or any other job board is that we don’t need more job boards…we need jobs. Before business can market a product it has to have something to sell: Before we can advertise jobs we must have jobs to advertise.

  • http://twitter.com/wskahle Scott Kahle

    How does this differ from Indeed again? Is sounds like you want uncle same to do what indeed is doing now very well. You even want them to monetize it. What’s the government going to bring to the party?

  • http://twitter.com/Dawn_Boyer DAWN BOYER

    The USA federal government DID have a National Job Board several years ago but actually pulled it down and created 50 separate job boards (one for each state), and then handed each of the 50 individual job boards over to the states. I remember going onto the national job board database and posting all my jobs at once to enable the EEOC advertising for the mandatory 3-5 days. I was so distressed when it got pulled down because now I had multiples of jobs I had to individually post on multiple job boards for each state where I thought qualified candidates were going to come from! It was a horrible idea to abandon this national job database and resume database.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelliebh Kellie Baker Hall

    Interesting concept but I think the 1 job board to rule them all would end up replacing most major/niche boards then we run the risk of that 1 job board being the be-all and end-all, which could be dangerous, for both job seekers and employers.
    Knowing this is hypothetical anyways, but imagine if there was truly only 1 job board and all others faded away because everyone flocked to the site ran by the U.S. Government. Then there is an issue with that 1 job board…now what? Errors with data or worse a system wide shut down could send those with recruiting needs into cardiac arrest and potential candidates waiting and waiting for a call from a Recruiter that will never come. We would risk all our eggs in 1 basket, which I think they made a rule about….
    And yes, there is almost an exhaustive variety of targeted job boards that can send both job seekers and employers down a maze for information related to their search needs by locations, skill sets, industries, and not sure if in existence but since there seems to be a job board for everything, there might as well be ones by personality type (it would be an interesting read at the very least). Even with this labyrinth of job boards, competition across the job boards brings out innovation and new services to both job seekers and employers. Both CareerBuilder & Monster have evolved and expanded services over the years offering more to employers and candidates than just job postings or resume search capabilities, providing information and market research to help their respective needs. What incentive would the U.S. Government have to improve their job board services or candidate profile/resume database if, well…there are no other major job boards to compete with because they have managed to drive the other ones out of business?
    Just a few quick thoughts, but not dismissing the idea since I agree there is huge value in a centralized repository of what would be the one of the largest pools of human capital data available to employers, not to mention the benefits to job seekers only needing to check/cross-reference 1 site versus 10 job boards or merely have the jobs come directly to them. Plus, if something like this could put people to work faster and help make that perfect match while generating a little revenue it would be having the best of both worlds.

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Veteran services and recruitmentDiversity services and recruitmentEmbedded niche boardsAutomated unemployment matching and specific support to the unemployed AI job matchingActive/passive/dormant statusesFree resume search (and contact)

    Indeed hasn’t brought much to the game since they launched and they remain minimalist. Of course, they could do all of the aforementioned things, but they haven’t, and I am not sure if the ever will.

    My main point is that the U.S. government doesn’t need to partner with Facebook to make a real difference in the job marketplace – they don’t need anyone else, in fact.

    Thanks for the challenging comment Scott!

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Thanks for commenting Tom!

    Of course, you are unfortunately probably right.

    I agree with point #1 – politics and bureaucracy alone
    would prevent this from ever happening.

    Not so sure about point #2 – if the government could do
    it better than any private company, I say more power to them. Let’s not forget
    such an endeavor would create jobs in and of itself. I see your point about the
    USPS, but I could argue that there is no reason WHY the gov’t couldn’t execute
    such an effort brilliantly, even if they probably would not.

    For your #3 point – the primary reason why Indeed has
    grown into what they have is because they started off free – for both job
    aggregation and resume search & contact. Of course, now they charge for
    both. If they launched with no free services, I sincerely doubt they would be
    what they are today.

    I see a partnership between the U.S. government and
    Facebook as technically unnecessary, because the government could pull it off
    by itself if it wanted to. And Facebook is initially offering to post jobs for
    free, and that fact alone would likely draw employer attention (everyone likes
    free).

    I know you’re a regular reader, so you know while I do
    believe the U.S. government could actually pull off what I think they could *if*
    all the proper starts aligned, a large part of the reason why I write anything
    I do is to simply provoke thought.

    Which, it seems I accomplished – at least with you.

    Thanks Tom!

  • Ray H

    And this comes after there are several established facebook applications such as ‘Branch Out’? These apps offer users the ability to manage a resume and alternate self description for the applicant market. I work with company, called CultureFit, that is designing a app which allows for those who tailored technical backgrounds. Its frustrating to see that after all this time, the company has now seen how others have benefited from their platform and just now is deciding to enter that market.

  • Lora

    Both the FB job board and Govt job board seems not only ridiculous, but too … well, … big. I like Indeed and wonder why they didn’t get the partnership with the govt. FB is supposed to be a social network… separate from occupational life. I love LinkedIn because your profile is much like a resume, and the job boards are fantastic. I obtained my job ultimately through a LinkedIn posting and networking with those recruiters who could help me get that job. It was a great experience! I wonder whether we put too much trust in the govt to create jobs and not enough trust in the private sector. But given FB’s enormity, the govt-run job board might be just what the govt wants to tap into the personal lives of every american. Seems a little like a conspiracy theory, but I shudder at the thought of them having that partnership and level of access if ultimately granted. Just my after-work ranting here.

  • http://twitter.com/JennBowen Jennifer Bowen

    Interesting concept Glen – I have to agree with Kellie however that it’s never a good idea to put all our eggs in one basket. But it goes beyond the logistics and possible data outages, there is a deeper issue in this and it’s capitalism (or the lack thereof with this idea).

    Why would we shut down the many companies in the private sector who are providing jobs, technical advances and a viable service just so the government can step in with their version?

    Without getting too political in my response, we’ve seen firsthand how our government handles business so why would we put our entire job search system into their hands? To me that not only sounds like a recipe for disaster but also a stifling of innovation. It also sounds like you’re simply suggesting a “recruitment tax” on businesses who want to highlight their job postings. Good luck getting that to fly with conservative corporations.

    I have a couple of questions though:

    From an employer standpoint – Would it be mandatory to post your open positions on this site? If so how are you going to convince businesses that this isn’t another act of government interference into their company. If not, how are you ensuring that this almighty job board is useful to the job seeker?

    From a user perspective, what’s the upside? The reason many niche site exists is because they offer additional networking, learning or community aspects that relate to their respective user base. With a singular, government run board that dissapears.

    On a final note, we all seem to be ignoring the elephant in the room, Google. What happens to Indeed, Monster, a government job board etc when Google decides to launch a job section. They already index job listings from the corporations and the job boards, it wouldn’t be difficult for them to simply lauch a “Jobs” section similar to what Facebook is doing and Bam! They are ahead of everyone due to their user base and the fact that everything is already in there. Then they take it a step further tying it to your Gmail Account, storing your resume in Google Drive and networking with Google +.

  • http://twitter.com/jtsloan John T. Sloan

    Absolute dumbest idea of the year….and second place isn’t even close. Guess what, I am a client of the govt…..a taxpayer…….stay out of the job aggregation business. I can see it now……EEOC or OFCCP talking to me……..why did you not hire Mr Smith? He fits your job, he is diverse, he is prior military…..we are going to sue your company and shut down your ability to bid on govt contracts….post jobs to our service…search our board. I can’t wait for the first lawsuit or EEO complaint and the follow-on audit.

    Of course it does solve the issue of source of hire….there’s a bonus.

    A mashup of LinkedIn/Indeed or Facebook/Indeed would be a better solution.

    I hate to say it but I follow your postings and always look forward to learning something from you….Eric, Shally, Glenn but this article is a terrible idea and I am hoping it is satire. Put down the scotch, cut the prozac in half and get some sleep.

  • cyberjob

    USA Jobs I think it was called.

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Lora,
    I appreciate your thoughts as well as those of the others that have commented.

    I must admit I am not sure why there is such an aversion to the government taking action to facilitate employment, whether in a partnership with a public company or on their own – I don’t see a difference in the end result.

    It’s a moot point because what I described will never happen, but I’d prefer it to to the alternative of the government partnering with Facebook, whose ultimate motive is to monetize any additional traffic or time spent on their site, as if that is somehow better than the government funding education or paying down debt.

    As always, just trying to serve as a devil’s advocate and provoke thought.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Too funny John!

    As always – just trying to provoke thought. However, I’ll happily play devil’s advocate for fun. :)

    I’m a taxpayer too, and would like to see my dollars at work putting people to work, which could reduce unemployment claims and thus related taxes.

    EEOC and OFCCP audits have been taking place for years on the basis of all current systems and solutions on the market.

    I’ll still stand behind my statement that the government doesn’t need Facebook or any other public or private company to help put more people to work.

    The government will never attempt what I detailed in the post, so it’s ultimately moot. I just don’t understand why it’s acceptable for Facebook to attempt to monetize any/all additional traffic to and time spent on Facebook that might come from people searching for jobs, but it wouldn’t be okay for the government to monetize it.

    Would it be any different if it was completely free?

    And who says job aggregation has to be a business? Technically, someone could decide to start aggregating jobs for free, just like Indeed and SimplyHired did before they started charging, yet never charge, open source style.

    What does it matter WHO aggregates the jobs?

    Would you react similarly if it was only for veterans or people with disabilities?

  • Pingback: One Job Board to Rule Them All? Hint: It’s not Facebook. | Job Board News

  • http://www.facebook.com/IrishRecruiter Ivan Stojanovic

    No government would ever do it since they would simply make
    all the people employed in the job board industry unemployed within a year.

    Financially it would be a step back since they collect more
    in taxes from the job board industry then what they could EVER collect in
    advertising.

  • http://twitter.com/liaeconomix Lia Economos

    That still exists, although only for federal government jobs.

  • Tom Formby

    I’m just getting around to reading this post. Sorry, I have been busy! As a Federal human resources professional, who has also built a government website, I can attest that there are significant barriers to the proposed job board. Please note that my comments are not offered in any official capacity and are wholly my own.

    While the “job aggregator” concept is not terribly problematic, the collection of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from members of the general public would create a significant security burden and require justification for creating a new system of record. There are also issues with funding that are not addressed in the blog post since the money has to come from some source. Funding can come from appropriated funds (i.e., from Congress) or from what is called a revolving fund (i.e., like fee-for-service). In the Federal space, you cannot mix one with the other. Nothing the Government runs is “free” so the funding question would need to be settled first. So who eventually pays?

    So my vote = Bad Idea, but worthy of discussion.

    There used to be “America’s Job Bank”, but as Dawn said it was disbanded and given to the states. This is now the CareerOneStop network that exists throughout the Nation and I think recruiters overlook the potential of the network to connect them with candidates.

    Disciplined creativity is the key to creating steady talent pipelines and not massive technology-based solutions. Recruiters have become over reliant on technology. Aggregating jobs and resumes into massive databases commoditizes the space in stark, impersonal terms. I think the solution for sourcing issues for recruiters and job search issues for candidates lie in getting the basics right: 1) Build credible relationships; 2) Conduct a disciplined search; 3) Ensure that your communication is relevant, correct, and concise (i.e., not spam!). The same goes for job searching in that hard work and creativity pay off in the long-run.