As the worldwide COVID 19 pandemic continues, it seems obvious that things are not going to go ‘back to normal’ anytime soon. Unemployment is climbing – possibly to rates not seen in decades. Economic activity is grinding to a halt. And in the midst of this, the virus is affecting the job board industry. So I thought it would be useful to hear from some of the leaders in our industry – niche sites, general sites, suppliers, and so on. I asked them two questions:
1) What in particular are you doing to help your specific audience of job seekers cope with the COVID 19 pandemic (i.e., highlighting in-demand jobs, providing employment-related info, etc.)?
2) What near- and long-term impact do you see the COVID 19 pandemic having on your business?
Their thoughts (edited for space) are below:
Yusuf Reja, Founder & CEO, African Jobs Network (Ethiopia):
#1) So far, we are sharing information on our social media, encouraging remote working. We have canceled in-person interview so everything is online. Next week we are going to blog about how to prepare for video conferencing. Many candidates are not prepared and lose opportunities as a result.
#2) In the short term, we will notice (a) hiring freeze or even mass layoff; our business will be hit the hardest. There will be a demand for health care workers but I doubt if the job board is the best way to recruit them. In fact, we are offering free job posting and free recruitment for any COVID-19 related jobs. Our business is going to hurt so we are planning to reduce staff and expense to help us survive the wave. In the long term, things will change. Remote jobs are going to be popular, virtual seminars, job fairs, and interviewing will be the way of working. We are looking into how we can reinvent ourselves and give values to our clients.
Steven Rothberg, Founder & President, CollegeRecruiter (USA):
#1) We published an article…that lists 11 resources for students and recent graduates of one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities who are searching for part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs at https://www.collegerecruiter.com/blog/2020/03/19/resources-for-students-grads-searching-for-remote-work-due-to-covid-19/. The final item on that list describes how easy it is for candidates to search for any of the almost 10,000 remote work opportunities currently advertised on CollegeRecruiter.com.
#2) Some of our customers are pausing their recruitment advertising campaigns, but they tend to be retailers, hotels, etc. with high turnover and essentially non-existent operations right now due to COVID-19. Some customers like delivery services and those hiring warehouse workers have greatly stepped up their ads, both in terms of number of ads and the CPC they’re paying if their campaigns are performance-based. Most of our customers hire more strategically and so are keeping a close eye on the situation but also with an unchanged need to get diverse, well-targeted candidates into the beginning of the pipeline as it typically takes months for them to come out at the other end with offers and as hires.
Martin Lenz, CEO, Jobiqo (Austria):
#1) Our job board software has always been focused on providing a candidate focused experience…Regional newspapers could launch vertical sites to promote health, retail logistics or agriculture verticals as those are some of the sectors that will see a tremendous increase in demand…Job boards can now offer targeted content to navigate job seekers through these uncertain times e.g. by providing labor market support, matching educative offers or best practices around working from home. Further, I think it’s now so important that job boards create a new hope for people that lost their jobs and focus on the future. That’s why it’s so important that job boards embrace…being a trusted place to get information, to learn and to grow.
#2) As a technology business we don’t see a near-term impact due to the pandemic. Job boards play a very important role in this rapidly changing labour market, and so flexible and robust technology is key to provide these services to the market. Long-term impact is very unclear, as decisions may be postponed and innovation may be blocked due to the emotion of the situation. I encourage every job board owner to see this situation as an opportunity and also to see the responsibility they have on the market (candidates and employers) to help each and every person to deal with this new situation in a safe way…Being creative by providing new features like video application, online education or online events and being flexible to match new sudden supply-demand situations will bring great service and help the ecosystem.
#1) For our job seeker services, we have always had a Customer Service team who answers the phone and emails… The teams were briefed on how to assist both job seekers and employers who are now working from home how to deal with their service on a different network. People now working from home are overloading their ISPs and not having as good of a connection as they have in the past. We have already started interviewing our customers to provide content to our job seekers as to how companies are changing their hiring practices and to provide recommendations to the job seeking community…We are working with our online partners such as EC Council…to set up virtual events such as trainings and recruiter panels. Our regular communications through newsletter and social media are continuing so that we can provide normalcy to our community.
#2) As our business is split between job fairs and job board, we have been able to spread our business risk across two business lines. The immediate impact we saw was having to cancel or reschedule 2 of our job fairs. The job seekers who had registered for the canceled events still had their resumes sent to the companies that had registered; so both customer communities received the benefit of connection and exposure to each other…Overall we will see a slight decrease in our job fair revenue and we will have an extremely busy fall season. Our sales team has always taken a relationship selling approach and their first priority when COVID 19 hit was to check in with our customers and offer assistance. This meant everything from updating job postings and enhancing search strings, to coming up with options for additional services if they couldn’t exhibit at a job fair.
Doug Monro, Co-founder & CEO, Adzuna (UK):
#1) (We are) highlighting growth sectors. (We’re also) putting out relevant content to help with practicalities (virtual recruitment) and emotional support too. Finally, we’re trying to help fill critical healthcare roles pro bono for the British government.
#2) Short term, based on my 2008 and more recent Brexit experience, I would expect a sharp slowdown in jobs and spend in most sectors in the next few months as companies pause hiring during the uncertainty, then a strong uptick once the panic is over. Some sectors like health care and logistics/delivery will likely buck the trend. We are already seeing drops in jobs in most European countries as well as some drops in candidate traffic on organic channels (too busy panic buying?). Medium/long term, I think a slowdown will accelerate adoption of performance-based and programmatic models globally, which will be a big positive for our business as that’s what we’re all about. Candidate supply may also increase and/or there will be more shifts in the workforce, driving recruitment volumes up. We’re also well capitalised so that should help us survive and thrive through the storm and do well in the upswing!
John Ikenberry, Co-founder & President, HigherEdJobs (USA):
#1) As not only a job board but a career resource for higher education professionals, we’re committed to providing helpful advice and pertinent news that may help job seekers navigate these uncertain times. We’re also attempting to operate as close to “normal” as possible, which for us means continually providing job seekers with the most comprehensive list of job postings in the higher education community.
#2) The near-term impact is clearly uncertainty. Our ability to live with and react to uncertainty with our best ability and focus is essential. Long-term, universities will clearly have positions to fill and qualified candidates will be looking for jobs. Our hope is to learn from our employers and community how we can best adapt to meet how their worlds have changed. We’ve seen modified needs with stakeholders affected by 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the financial crisis and hope to do so again.
Steve Flook, President & CEO, iHire (USA):
#1) iHire is currently amplifying our Virtual Outplacement Services to help employers assist transitioning employees, and recently ramped up our team of Career Advisors to provide personalized guidance for our job seekers. We are also actively working to expand job opportunities to our membership base with a new on-site experience. When candidates sign into their iHire account, they will be prompted with a handful of questions to better customize their job search during this unprecedented time. For example, they will indicate their interest in remote jobs, part-time, or gig work, and opportunities outside their chosen industry. Based on those responses, we’ll customize their dashboard, job alerts, and more to expose them to as many opportunities as possible.
#2) Right now, we’re focused on business continuity and keeping our teams nimble to address our customers’ needs as best as possible. Our staff is completely remote, but we are committed to continuing our services, support, and normal hours of operation. While it’s impossible to predict what the long-term impact will be, one thing is for sure: people will always need jobs, and employers will always need talent – even if that need is not immediate. While employment numbers will change, we are well-equipped to help job seekers and employers connect with one another, assist organizations in building talent pipelines, and guide transitioning employees toward next career opportunity.
Wow! Well, some wise counsel from around the industry. I want to thank everyone who participated. I suspect we’ll have more discussions about the pandemic soon. Stay well, stay safe, and remember that the Doctor is always on call!
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