Firstly, we’d like to extend a massive thank you to Louise and the JobG8 team for putting on the event and for welcoming us as sponsors for the second year running. It was great to catch up with so many clients and suppliers in one place – and special thanks are due to ZipRecruiter for generously hosting drinks after the event.
We’ve shared some of our highlights from the event below. We’ve also pulled together our thoughts on how the event could be improved in the future and, more importantly, how the event exposed some of the broader problems with the industry as a whole.
Not enough focus on candidate attraction
It is highly likely that Google for Jobs will significantly reduce the amount of candidate traffic available from SEO, Adwords and aggregators. So what can you invest in to maintain candidate responses? We felt this was an important area left relatively untouched.
In most cases, job boards that stick with their existing marketing mix going forwards will really struggle to compete effectively: and by that we mean it won’t be enough to just do what you’re already doing (PPC? SEO?) but better.
There was a lot of conversation around switching to a pay-per-performance model. However, in the UK there have been no big moves by any significant job boards to work with this model, so as yet there is no case study or proof of concept to examine. The most relevant part of the conversation was how to introduce pay-per-performance on top of, rather than instead of, a pay-per-post model.
If you are interested in this area, we would recommend reaching out to AppCast (we’re happy to introduce you to the right person) for an initial chat.
We need to listen to buyers more
Of the 14 companies speaking, 13 were job boards or suppliers. As such, there was a notable absence of the organisations that we’re all actually trying to impress (i.e. direct employers, staffing firms and advertising agencies).
This seemed endemic of the problem with the industry as a whole: a tendency to predominantly watch other job boards for change, and in doing so becoming somewhat naval gazing. Conversely, Melissa from Uber was fantastic, and stood out as someone we can all learn from: a switched-on and forwards-thinking employer.
We felt that the panels could well have benefited from representatives from ad agencies, staffing firms and more employers to provide a breadth of experience and perspective.
This would have encouraged a more balanced conversation around the different needs of job boards customers, such as employer branding and market insight – both of which can attract large budgets for well-positioned job boards.
It would have also helped level out what was an unacknowledged bias towards programmatic at the conference caused by the presence of so many aggregators and suppliers of programmatic services.
Lessons from outside the industry
We would also have loved to see more from outside the industry, given how much we can learn from other rapidly evolving classified verticals (dating is just one example).
That said, we thought Andrew from Guardian Jobs provided some very valuable input. Guardian Jobs offer pioneering display-based programmatic services across their site which is worth keeping an eye on.
Our five top Highlights
If that sounds a little critical, it’s said with the best intentions and it is worth clarifying that we did have a great couple of thought-provoking days with jobg8. Here are some of our highlights:
1. Chris Foreman’s session on programmatic. Chris is a well-established leader within the recruitment pay-per-performance space and delivered valuable insights. AppCast are a valued partner of ours, and we are currently using their ClickCast technology to buy and report on nearly £1m per month of aggregator traffic for our job board clients.
2. Melissa Miller from Uber showed how they are lightyears ahead of the employer market in terms of understanding and using recruitment media. We hope to see her at future conferences.
3. We enjoyed hearing from Rishi at Monster, who injected some fresh perspective into the conversation. Unlike many of us, he hasn’t been in the job board business for a billion years! He spoke engagingly about moving to a cost-per-hire model.
4. Jeff from Stack Overflow was a polished and engaging speaker. We do however suspect that he earned a certain amount of jealousy from an audience not (yet) in the fortunate position of spending zero budget on advertising!
5. And we really rated the panel discussion with Alex (Stepstone) and Rob (JobRapido), hosted by the fantastic Steve Playford. Steve has the air of a man who would be just as comfortable hosting discussions on prime time TV - perhaps he missed his calling!
As ever though, the real stars of the show were the JobG8 team, who were welcoming, professional and willing to go above and beyond to ensure that everyone had a great conference.
If you attended (or didn’t) and would like to discuss/gossip about the event, I’d be very interested in hearing from you!