Google Jobs – the winners and losers

06. July 2017

Interview with CEO Steffen Manes on Google’s entry into the jobs market

Steffen – one has the impression that the recruitment business is currently holding its breath. The reason for this is that Google is entering the jobs market. What has happened?

For a long time, there have been rumors that Google could consider the jobs sector attractive enough to develop its own offer there. That has now happened. At its last developer conference, the corporation announced that it was entering the job search market with “Google for Jobs”. One of the ideas behind this is a search function for available jobs. The principle is comparable with similar search options that already exist on Google for flights, shopping, books, images or news. It will first be rolled out in the USA. As the European market, and especially the German one, is very lucrative, these markets will soon follow.

Google’s intention is clear. It is Google’s aim that all internet searches should be carried out through Google, regardless of what the user is searching for. That also and especially applies to the lucrative, and, for the candidates, highly emotional, search for jobs. We are therefore directly seeing the consistent execution of Google’s strategy is. According to this, every online company in the classifieds environment that generates traffic via internet searches is a potential competitor.

So, from your point of view, which market players fear this the most?

First and foremost, the announcement created significant unrest among the C-Suite of traditional job sites that mainly address candidates who are actively searching for jobs. Their business model is fundamentally dependent on the reach they generate via Google.

Google’s aim is to create a better match between jobs and applicants. That will primarily be achieved through artificial intelligence and machine learning. If anyone has the prerequisites for this, it’s Google. This means that, in future, applicants will be shown jobs on Google that precisely fit what they are looking for. The matching between job search and job ad is being perfected. Traditional job sites have been working on this for a long time, but have failed to make a real breakthrough and so have somewhat missed the boat in terms of this market.

If Google now goes about it properly, I reckon that the traditional job sites will lose their dominant market position. Because Google’s approach of directly matching companies with applicants who are actively seeking jobs means it is resolutely attacking the recruitment “middlemen”. These are the job portals that merely provide employers with a platform to publish their own job ads so candidates who are actively searching can look at them there.

The cards in the online recruitment market have been reshuffled. Besides Google itself, the winners are mainly the companies, who are less dependent on search engine traffic and can focus particularly on passive candidates. Because the key niche of the future lies in this candidate market. Who reaches the candidates who are actually willing to move but are not actively searching? The numbers of these candidates continue to grow. The times when companies automatically received sufficient applications to every ad are long past. Simply ask employers who are looking for nurses, IT specialists or similarly in-demand profiles. They are pleased with every single application they get.

Do you think that traditional job portals will change their strategies?

Google has always been one of the most important providers of reach for the leading job sites. It will not be quite so easy to tap into it in future. The situation is similar for temping firms who invested heavily in SEA measures in the past in order to obtain their candidates. Just like the job sites, they will be forced in future to deal with other verticals and markets.

Anyone who carefully reads the HR trade press will have spotted in the comments from opinion leaders in the sector that the job portals, who have long ruled the market with the help of Google traffic, have intensified their search for new solutions and positions.

However, they have spent decades investing in marketing their very simple business model. They rely on their clients – the employers – for the job ads that only work if candidates are actively searching. I believe that “selling” completely different solutions and positions to employers won’t work now, because other players are simply better at this.

Now Google’s venture has been launched in the USA in cooperation with job boards. What do you think of this collaboration?

I think that it will resolve itself in the next few years. These are only temporary partnerships. In this context, Google is the significantly stronger partner with all the conceivable advantages on its side. They will be able to do this on their own in the foreseeable future.

What do you think Google’s initiative will mean for What does it mean for you?

Now, we were not unhappy when we heard about Google’s venture. That is the best chance for us to assert ourselves in a completely reshuffled candidate market. Why? We specialize in the passive candidate market, i.e. in addressing candidates who have not actively started their job search. All the others focus on candidates who are actively searching – and that will also include Google in future. It’s no different with a search engine, as you first need the job seekers who enter their job search into the search field.

Our idea has never been built on Google traffic. We are extremely well-positioned in terms of the passive candidate market. On the one hand, that fits with the conditions in the employment market where employers have to reach out to the candidates and can no longer rely on the old selection logic. On the other hand, we rely on recruitment via social networks, an area which Google has not managed to address, in spite of considerable efforts, and will therefore not bother with to any great extent in the future. If you like, we are probably the most stable offer in the non-academic employment market. We demonstrate on a daily basis how you can successfully recruit candidates from quite different professional fields in a completely mobile way. That is the way it will happen in future. Last but not least, this is why our client base has now grown to more than one thousand employers who value the way we support their candidates along the entire recruitment process chain and are tired of taking the old-fashioned route via conventional job sites.

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