.Jobs Universe Project Explained In Meetings

US.Jobs site with social elements displayed
US.Jobs site with social elements displayed

In a blog post about yesterday’s DirectEmployers meeting, publishing industry analyst and consultant Peter Zollman called it “a valuable information session.”

Recruitment consultant Gerry Crispin, who attended this morning’s second session, described it as a useful meeting that left him “very satisfied that the intent (of the creation of the dot-jobs domain) I have consistently written about … is reflected in what DirectEmployers is doing.”

The meetings they and a few others — perhaps a dozen in all — attended in Indianapolis were called by the DirectEmployers Association to answer questions and explain the non-profit recruiting consortium’s plans to build-out tens of thousands of recruitment sites all with an Internet address ending in .jobs.

Zollman reports in his blog post that next week 25,000 of the sites will go live. The “number will increase exponentially on an ongoing basis,” writes Zollman, until every community in the U.S. over 5,000 population has a job site for itself.

Those geo-focused sites will be supplemented by occupation-specific jobs and, where there is demand, geo-occupation-specific sites. The number could potentially reach the millions, says the information site for the project, Universe.jobs. Some of these sites launched a few months ago in beta. Here’s one for Atlanta and one for sales jobs. Other sites are detailed here.

Crispin, an early supporter of the creation of the .jobs domain, said he was encouraged by the focus of DirectEmployers in the development of the recruitment sites. “DirectEmployers intends to focus in on how to build it out as to how ICANN intended it,” he said.

(ICANN is the Internet group that decides naming conventions and authorized .jobs, a top-level domain. Details of the request by the Society for Human Resource Management and Employ Media to ICANN to create the domain can be found here.)

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Crispin explained that the job listings on the DirectEmployers sites will all be real jobs from real companies, which was one of the goals in creating the .jobs domain. Another was to make it easy for job seekers to find corporate career sites. But in all cases, in order for a .jobs address to be awarded, the company had to agree to abide by an ethical code.

While what DirectEmployers is building looks and sounds like job boards, Crispin said it’s not. “At the end of the day, it’s not job boards … It’s something more.”

He was boarding a plane out of Indianapolis (where the meetings were held) so he didn’t have  much of a chance to explain. But looking at the .jobs sites, it’s clear they have evolved from their first iteration back in October. There’s a social element to them and a connection into social networks. Click into the FOLLOW tab in a job post and you can get a listing of employees on LinkedIn.

The project may well continue to evolve. Crispin said its future is “not set in stone.”

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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18 Comments on “.Jobs Universe Project Explained In Meetings

  1. Well the websites and network are highly unconventional. So while no job board operator likes to see more competition, stepping out of the competitor mindset, I like to see entrepreneurs taking risks and doing unusual things I might learn from.

    The long-term future belongs to those organizations with resources and the discipline to avoid going after short-term profits. Although there’s a lot of angst in the community, I’ll be surprised if this network hurts job board owners.

  2. I noticed some recruitment firms mixed in with the listings. I thought this was only for actual employers?

  3. “DirectEmployers intends to focus in on how to build it out as to how ICANN intended it.” Really, I recall the intent of .jobs being a way for companies to showcase their opportunities and make them easy to find. Job sites (previously) were not allowed to use .jobs.

  4. “entrepreneurs taking risks and doing unusual things” is not how I would classify DirectEmployers, unless I am missing something.

    I will ask again: who owns the mountains of data? Who has the keys to the data centers hosting this stuff ? Who has the right to mine this data for the titles, salaries, demographics, and history of millions of job-seekers ?

    It appears to my mind to be a vast opportunity to collude in labor markets (every concentration of more than 5000 people? )

    Am I missing something here ? (the usual situation). How does DirectEmployers pay for the major costs of bandwidth, databases, DBA services etc. to run something like this ? Or is this just a distributed deal with people bring their own sites/databases into an umbrella site ?

    Per Josh Baskin in “Big”, I dont get it…..

  5. Another question I have is what happens to .jobs if this plan doesn’t work out? It appears to me that what DirectEmployers is building is fairly similar to a large network of highly targeted job boards, but isn’t that what Beyond.com and some others built years ago? And if Beyond wanted to change its business model, they could as quickly as they wished without seeking industry consensus. Couldn’t DirectEmployers also?

  6. Steven do you know if these boards are all being hosted in one place, or is it just a URL thing for any board anyone may be happening to run ?

    That seems to me to be a huge difference……

  7. Martin — You’ll get a more accurate answer from Bill Warren or perhaps one of the four or five people who were invited to the information sessions and who attended but my understanding is that DirectEmployers essentially owns all of these domains and will be hosting them all as cookie cutter job boards. I keep hearing that they aren’t job boards, yet I have yet to hear how they’re not. They’re going to list job openings and presumably employers will be able to pay to advertise their job openings. How that doesn’t make them job boards is beyond me.

  8. Steven I have been asking on each thread, including ones where Bill has commented, so he has seen my ramblings. I could dial him, of course, but why waste his time to satisfy my own itch ?

    “will be hosting them as cookie-cutter job boards” – do you know if that means just URL’s or the actual database ?

    One would think Monster and Careerbuilder et al. would be up in arms about this if that were the case…

  9. No clue, Martin, but if it were me, these would all have the DirectEmployers system powering the back-end so that the data is all integrated and you don’t end up with redundant data issues such as the candidate registering with one address at one board and a different address at another and then not knowing which is correct or even if it is the same person.

  10. Martin & Steven,

    You guys brought up some great questions that I’m sure a lot of people are wondering. However, I’ll ask this first – have either of you gone out to any of the .jobs domains that were listed in the article to “look” yet?

    Steven is on the right path by referring to the aggregation, however, .jobs is a non-profit serving as a government appointed resource for employers with government contractors; whereas Beyond is a private company that can do what they want.

    However to Martin’s question about domains, most employers have their own “.jobs” domain, separate and distinct from this initiative. The geo domains serve the purpose to pull together all of the postings in specific locations and industries.

    Several of the geo domains have been live in beta for a few months. They are not boards, but yes – do function more like aggregators for job seekers. So if a job seeker wants to see sales jobs in Dallas, all of the companies who have sales jobs in Dallas listed on their corporate sites will have their jobs visible – so it’s a direct pass through to the COMPANY SITE VS having to post your job on a BOARD and have the job seeker apply via the board and potentially never even make it to your corporate site.

    To that end – candidates are not required to register (like they would with a board) as they apply directly with each employer on their career portal/ATS, just as if they did a google search and pulled up a company site; so duplication isn’t an issue and there is no candidate data available to mine.

    As corporate recruiters, we all have the same goal in mind – to get the job seeker to OUR site, not Monster or any other board. So in that sense, no – this is not a board as it directs traffic directly to the posting to apply.

    While there are some companies who have paid to have their jobs profiled, they are essentially banner ads – not job postings and the banner ad still directs traffic to my career portal, not to a job board.

    Hope that helps. I am a supporter of this initiative and I’m a little surprised at how many people (not as much on this post as others) esp, corporate/HR folks have been so quick to leave negative comments without fully understanding or comprehending what .jobs brings to the table. Surprisingly, some of these same people were early adopters of social media as a recruiting tool…

    I would just suggest that we all CONTINUE to take the time to ask questions (which is being done here) before proclaiming something as an epic fail.

  11. Yes, Carrie, I did got to a couple of the sites and still feel that they’re more akin to the cookie cutter job boards than to most of the high traffic job boards like Careerbuilder, Monster, or even CollegeRecruiter.com.

    I don’t see how sending candidates to the employer’s site to apply is any different from what the vast majority of job boards have been doing since the OFCCP regulations came into play a couple of years ago. Before then, some boards required candidates to apply on the job board site and wouldn’t allow the candidates to click through to the employer’s site to apply. Then some started to charge the employer’s extra. Now, virtually all of the leading sites make it easy for the employer to specify that they want the candidate to click through and there’s no additional charge for that functionality. We call it an apply URL posting and the vast majority of the jobs on our site are apply URL postings.

    As for candidates being required to register, that’s also not happening on all or even most job boards. Some, yes, but most? No. Candidates are typically encouraged but not required to register. But again, does that make these .jobs sites not job boards?

    I am concerned about your statement that corporate recruiters have the same goal in mind — to get job seekers to your sites rather than to Monster or any other board. I’m sorry, but I thought that the goal was to hire and retain quality talent. Whether that candidate comes to you via a .jobs site, Monster, CollegeRecruiter.com, LinkedIn, Twitter, or your neighbor does it make the candidate better or worse? Is Monster automatically more expensive than your neighbor if Monster gets you a hire for a few minutes of work and $400 versus two hours of chatting up your neighbor? Time is money…

    Finally, I would definitely put myself in the group of people who were early adopters of social media as a recruiting tool. Our site is increasingly tightly integrated with the leading social media sites and will continue to be so, but I don’t see how our decision to embrace social media means that we need to embrace the .jobs boards when they were sold to the industry as a way for employers to market their jobs and only for that purpose — not for a for profit organization to set up a non-profit subsidiary to sell recruitment advertising to employers. In fact, I think that the social media piece helps make my argument as it has brought remarkable transparency to many issues but there’s been a serious lack of transparency regarding this issue.

    At the end of the day, I very well may end up supporting or at least being okay with this whole initiative. But the back room deals and highly unusual disclosures to anonymous industry leaders (some of whom are now selling that information to their clients rather than sharing it freely with the world) is, well, highly unusual. It reminds me a great deal about the process that the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) followed when many of its career service members wanted an alternative to MonsterTRAK so created NACELink without any disclosure or requests to job boards like ours who were members of NACE to see if we were interested and able to deliver the system they wanted. That deal also went to Direct Employers and also was set up as a non-profit owned by a for profit organization.

  12. Wow… apparently in the interest of trying to address your original comments and keep my very long post from being longer, perhaps I left myself open for some things to be taken out of context.

    However, I was genuinely trying to answer your concerns – so I’m a little surprised by the liberty you took what I said about the goal of corporate recruiters.

    I was not, in any way, inferring that was the ONLY goal. My statement said nothing about the “quality” of the candidate nor was I suggesting that the “originating source” i.e. Monster, was at issue. The point was simply the fact that we need to drive traffic directly to our site (without traffic, no applications and therefore, no hires) vs. driving them somewhere else (where perhaps they might find another job they like better with the competition).

    Beyond that though – it’s basic internet 101, the more sites/pages a candidate has to click through, the more likely you are to lose them before they finish the process. I don’t want to direct a candidate to go to a job board when I have the option to direct them to go directly to my career site. Likewise, once I have them on my career site, I don’t want them having to click through 10 screens before they ever have the option to apply. I’m going to take the most cost-effective and efficient approach to getting candidates to my site so yes, I can then focus on making those quality hires.

    So you’re right, time is money. I think we both agree on that and hopefully I was a little more clear this time. 🙂

    As far as candidate registration – you asked the question in an earlier comment and mentioned potential duplication. My comment was simply stating that there is nothing for candidates to register in since there is no database to begin with (vs. it being optional on a board) and because they go nowhere other than the employer site. Martin also asked the question about database mining, and again – no database, no mining.

    There are a lot of people asking questions and no, there haven’t been a lot of answers – so I was simply trying to answer some of the questions you both posed. My intent was not to argue, but to give you the information as I understand it. My apologies if it was taken any other way and you felt the need to put me in my place.

    For the record, we are also early adopters of social and I’m not knocking it, nor am I making a blanket analogy. Social media to .jobs is apples to oranges. I was referring to the overall attitude of how people approach something drastically new (i.e. change) being introduced into how we do business. When the Internet gained ground – it was proclaimed as just a fad, same with job boards (by print media primarily), and same with social media… there are still plenty of people who haven’t adopted social media, who haven’t taken the time to understand it, but are some of the loudest opposition to its use for business purposes and proclaiming it to be just a fad… so my point was simply to say that I was surprised some of the early adopters of other technology that is now being used for recruiting are some of the pretty vocal naysayers of .jobs before there was even a lot of information about it.

    I can’t speak to the disclosure or lack of disclosure or how this has been communicated. It’s not my place and I don’t have enough knowledge from that perspective.

    Anyway, hopefully we are on the same page. I have tried to be very transparent in stating that I was a supporter and in trying to answer your questions. I obviously don’t have all the answers as I’m an employer and not affiliated with .jobs.

    I guess time will tell how the cards play out.

  13. There’s absolutely no need for a job board to function as a competitor to its employer clients by requiring candidates to register nor is there any need for any employer to pay a job board for an advertising campaign that first drives candidates to the job board. There are a number of job boards that somehow have convinced employers that this is in their best interests, but it amazes me that employers would pay to advertise their job openings in such a way that the candidates must first go to the job board. That’s crazy. That traffic is yours. You paid for it. If your job board tells you that the targeted email, banners, postings, whatever require the candidate to first go to the job board, politely thank them, hang up, and contact a job board whose interests are well aligned with yours.

    As for the naysayers to the .jobs plans, I actually don’t count myself as one of them. I am skeptical, but not opposed. There simply isn’t enough information. This isn’t like Direct Employers having gone out and bought tens of thousands of .biz, .info, .tv, or other useless domains. This is about them taking control over .jobs domains which were promised by SHRM to only be available to employers who would use that domain to promote their own job openings. Job boards like CollegeRecruiter.com applied to ICANN for the right to have CollegeRecruiter.jobs and we were denied even when we said that we’d only use the domain to promote our own jobs and not those of our clients. Yet along comes Direct Employers and with no public discussion ahead of time they somehow get the right to control all of these domains.

    Another concern of mine is this whole argument about candidates not registering on these sites. That may be true today, but how about tomorrow or next year? Direct Employers is a for profit organization and they should have the right to use these domains however they want if they have control over them so even if they honestly believe that they will never ask candidates to register, what happens if they aren’t able to pay the bills with their current plan? What happens when the current management is eventually replaced by another team?

    At the end of the day, I’m reminded of the expression about something walking and talking like a duck. Maybe these .jobs sites don’t walk or talk like your job boards, but they sure walk and talk like a lot of other job boards so it seems to me that makes them job boards. Let’s just be open and honest about what they are and how they’re going to make money. Transparency is a beautiful thing, even if it is uncomfortable for those with something to hide.

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