October 15, 2012

How Recruiters can Change the World With $1,500

Money-Globe-in-Businessman-HandsI read a blog post a couple of years ago that was the most interesting blog post idea I’ve ever read. Two years later still no one has seriously made it happen. What was it? Well it was a pretty simple idea: create a website where any employer can post their vacancies and any job seeker could post their career history for an employer to find ……….. free.

No one pays anything. It’s like the old Roman market place idea where labor looking for work would congregate each morning and employers would come along and offer them some work for the day. The only difference is this is up in the cloud and in the 21st century it would be known as a free job board and free resume database. To quote the author of the original post, it would be a “sort of people board.”

So the $1,500 ? Well this is what it would cost to put it together. Trust me on that one. Now before everyone jumps up and down saying there are lots of free job boards floating around, yes there are, and yet none of them have really taken off. Can you name one that you use regularly? Thought not. It seems odd to me that such a simple idea hasn’t taken off. Facebook is free and provides a social service and that’s done phenomenally well (share price excluded) so why haven’t these free sites had the same revolutionary effect?

Here are a few ideas:

1. People don’t want to post career profiles when anyone could login and view them. I don’t think so because LinkedIn disproves that.

2. Employers are worried about their brand if they post to a free board. This idea fails too because Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites all regularly get posted to with jobs.

3. It’s a loss leader so why would anyone bother doing it. While a fair point, you could still sell advertising or related recruitment services, which should at least cover the server costs.

So why hasn’t anyone done it?

Why isn’t there one website where every employer on the planet goes to to let people know they’re hiring and why isn’t there somewhere where a job seeker can go to tell the world they’re looking for a job? There are tens of thousands of job boards, most paid, some free……but wouldn’t the world just work better if there was just one, almighty, default setting, omnipotent board that absolutely everyone who’s anyone has heard of? Google is virtually the default setting if you want to search, Wikipedia for ‘facts’, Facebook to post your embarrassing wedding photos, and eBay to get a second-hand bargain.

In some respects, Indeed is beginning to have that feel except it will never truly fill the above definition. Indeed has some charges and the people board is not about making money, it’s about altruism, or helping those looking for work to meet those who are hiring. There must be a ton of jobseekers who never get to hear about their perfect job as they’re not looking on the right job board, but if there was just one board, the mother of all job boards, then everyone would be able to find his or her perfect job with a few clicks. I’m not claiming we could end global unemployment, but surely having  just one portal where employers and job seekers could meet would help get people back into work more quickly.

I think the reason such a job board doesn’t exist is simple: You’d need a ton of cash and a staff of hundreds to make it truly work. That type of platform would require extensive promotion—beyond the US and UK to France, Germany, Spain, Mexico and China. If employers actually knew about it I’m sure they’d post jobs providing there were lots of job seekers visiting it prompting  plenty of job seekers to visit the site as well.

Now you may be referring back to the title and saying, “well, you clearly can’t do this for $1,500,” and any sensible person would probably agree but stay with me a moment. Now I’m no viral marketing expert but surely there must be a way we could tell everyone, both employer and prospective employee that we’ve built a free people board for the world to use. Surely there must be a way we can spread the word across the whole world that we’re trying to put people back to work without needing to spend vast amounts of money.

If anyone knows how you could do it, let me know because I, for one, would like to try. So here’s the challenge: how do we tell the entire planet about the people board without spending any money?

Come and join the crusade because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. RIP Steve.

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Nick Leigh-Morgan is the MD and founder of iKrut, the world's first free applicant tracking system with enterprise-level functionality. Nick has more than 20 years of experience in the recruiting industry, covering staffing firms, direct employers, and Web-based recruitment software. A graduate of economics and politics, Nick specializes in publishing articles on the future of recruitment.