Inside the job aggregators’ jungle

Internet Bubble


For most of the twentieth century, newspapers were the reference in terms of job searches. Then came the Web. Wanted Jobs was the first aggregator to pop up online in Canada. In 1997, the search engine already allowed candidates to go through more than one employment site at a time. "We were forerunners", states Martin Auclair, Vice-President Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Wanted.

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In 1999, Recru-direct, later becoming Jobboom, appears on the Quebec scene. Since 2000, it tries positioning itself as a media specialist by offering career advice, a service other sites will eventually come to share.


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Another global giant, Monster.com, appears in 1999 and remains for more than a decade the most popular online recruitment site in the United States. Not to mention the Canadian Workopolis site, founded in 2000.

The Y2K bug

When the Internet bubble burst, companies were no longer interested in investing into the online world. Wanted Jobs, an emblematic figure within the community, faced serious problems as of 2001, forcing it to refocus its mission.

"The advertising revenues generated from the site’s traffic were no longer enough,” says Martin Auclair. The agency becomes Wanted Technologies and converts into selling business intelligence.

“From a database of information collected on the Internet, we are now able to provide economic indicators to the government, sale leads to recruitment firms or media, and we are a strategic watchdog for companies,” says Auclair. Therefore, they now deal with other companies and recruiters with the promise of quickly finding them the best candidates through these analysis tools.

 

The refinement step

The online job boards are also adjusting themselves with the lowering levels of income in the early 2000s. At the beginning, they mostly had lists of open positions, with their clients being companies looking for candidates.

Then, job seekers were able to add their resumes onto CV databases, with or without costs. They were also able to register for email alerts for defined employment areas or to pay for priority access to offers.

In 2003, pay-per-click appears. Beljob.ca (owner of La Toile des Recruteurs) is among the first to adopt this business model. Rather than paying a lump sum per ad, costs are based on the number of clicks on a job offer.


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Manuel Francisci, president and founder of jobWings, one of the many Beljob affiliated sites, also states that "Beljob’s particularity is its directory approach, with specific sites for each employment area.” The advantage is a focused energy, "instead of looking for a needle in a haystack."

 

In 2005, the latest recruitment giant, Indeed, immediately adopts the pay-per-click model. Employers can sponsor jobs in order for them to be posted at the top of search results. Aidan McLaughlin, director of public relations at Indeed, says that their site also provides access to all jobs in a single search.

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Eluta.ca, very similar to Indeed, appears in this latest wave of online recruiters in 2006. Eluta freely annexes jobs found directly on company websites. Google ads appear on search result pages and Eluta raises its money each and every time one of their users clicks on these ads.

 

"A string of sites created in recent years are trying to live off of Google advertisements. But, there are a great deal of them sharing the market,” states Manuel Francisci.

He also notes that many sites are wanting to expand their audiences geographically, such as Jobrapido, Neuvoo, Woojobs, Simply Hired or Indeed, which claims to be present in 50 countries and available in 28 languages.

What’s next?

This proliferation of employment sites is far from fading. The latest trend is to target passive candidates, most notably those on social networks. Mobile applications are also becoming essential. According to Aidan McLaughlin, a third of Indeed’s Web visits come from mobile devices.

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