30 May

Google jobs was launched to much fanfare. I lost track of the number of commentators saying…..”This is the moment Indeed has dreaded blah blah blah” “Indeed are dead in the water yada yada yada”. Oh really? Not from our stats they’re not. In fact our clients are getting more applications from Indeed than ever before (we make no comment on the quality, simply the volume). Yes they’re coming from Google jobs also which is great for recruiters, but not at the expense of Indeed. 

People seem to think that everything Google touches will turn to gold. Every time they choose to enter a market place they will automatically dominate it by squashing the competition. Sorry, but it just doesn’t work like. Google has shown on many occasions that trying to enter a new market with established players is not easy, regardless of how in your face you make the product. Step forward Google hire….that didn’t end well. Google + …...anyone ever used it after the first week? Nope, me neither, but still using Facebook though. In fact it’s a very, very long list of tools they have launched then quickly killed because they made no real headway:  https://killedbygoogle.com/

Are we sure that Google jobs won’t go the same way? I certainly hope not, but Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner, has shown herself willing and able to punish Google. What price her doing it again now another investigation into Google’s alleged anti competitive practices has just been launched in relation to their new job search product.

But what strikes me about the Google for jobs platform is that they’ve made a number of obvious mistakes and it all relates to user experience. They are making the same mistakes a lot of job boards made but Indeed wisely has not not. 

First up, agency listings. Indeed no longer allows these unless the agency pays for it. That’s smart in 2 ways. 1 it’s a source of revenue for Indeed and 2, it creates a much, much better user experience. Do a search on Indeed as a job seeker would and you see exactly what a job seeker wants which is page after page of employer listed jobs. Yes sometimes they come via a third party like a job board, but crucially what they are avoiding is what I call job spam - page after page of either made up or poorly worded jobs from agencies. Quite simply Indeed is a much nicer user experience for a job seeker. They don’t want to apply to an agency, they want to see jobs from the direct employer. Google would be wise to massively cut down on the number of agency listings on their site exactly as Indeed has. If you want job seekers to use your tool, start with the customer and work backwards (nod to Jeff Bezos).

Second, Google jobs doesn’t seem to have even the most basic boolean search capability. For example I ran this basic boolean search on indeed.co.uk:   

Product Manager and (FMCG or beauty or cosmetic or health). 

Indeed correctly found 17,621 jobs. 

Google ….…….6.

Third, where Indeed allows candidates to store profiles with it, which can then be sent with a couple of clicks to the ATS the client is using, Google has nothing. Job boards are increasingly moving to the model where the candidate clicks on apply, essentially logs in to that job board and confirms they want their details sent to the client. They never actually go to the client site. This is done purely because so many people now search for jobs via mobiles and so few people will store their cv/resume on a mobile. Our clients saw a 40% jump in applications when this easy apply technology was rolled out with Indeed. Now to be fair to Google they are acting purely as a search engine i.e driving traffic to the employer / job board and currently they are not in the business of storing candidate data but if they are serious about making it a great user experience (for the candidate) they need to go down this route. If you’re a candidate which site would you rather search on? The one that lets you store your profile online with them so you can apply to any job with a couple of clicks, or the one that takes you to the job board / employer site to apply only for you to stop because you don’t have a copy of your resume/cv on your phone? Will Google go down this route? Probably. After all they said they want to index all the world’s information and that would presumably include career profiles.

It’s a decent first attempt from Google but the product needs a lot of work before we think it will seriously challenge Indeed. As we have seen many times before, if a product doesn’t make serious headway quickly, Google won’t hesitate from shutting it down in a heartbeat. I think everyone in the recruitment space apart from their competitors would not want Google to do this. For markets to operate efficiently It’s not healthy for 1 player to have too much power so we trust that Google jobs will stick around for the long term but to make sure it does, it needs to play catch up and fast.

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