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Don’t bet your 2011 online talent strategy on the .jobs domain just yet

The newly announced .jobs domain will be free for employers to post their jobs, allowing you to effectively turn your nose up at Monster, CareerBuilder and other big jobs sites, right?

Well, free certainly sounds nice, but I wouldn't run out and cancel your contracts with the expensive big job boards and other niche sites just yet. Don't get me wrong. I think the .jobs domain is a great idea, but I know it's not as easy as just opening the flood gates and letting everyone post to their heart's content. Let's face it. It's tough to make paying customers happy, and sometimes even tougher to make non-paying customers happy.

So as you think about your online talent strategy for 2011 and how and where you are posting your jobs, here are a few concerns I have about rushing into the new .jobs domain.

  • If the volume of jobs hitting the bigger, pay-per-post boards is any indication, there will be a lot of jobs out there in a free world. As the big boards will tell you, most job seekers don't look much more than two pages in. Making searches easy, accurate, and relevant for the job seeker is going to be tough.

  • What is the lifespan of a job posting? What about ongoing "evergreen" jobs? Employers will want to keep their jobs at the top of the list, and many have jobs they never want removed. The expiration and re-posting process will need to be closely monitored and fair for all employers.

  • Can I promote my jobs? Can I have bold, flashy, and colorful job ads? Can I pay to have them show up at the top or with my branding? Employers will be looking for anything to differentiate their jobs. If we have to start paying for that, how is that free? And if I can't pay for it, then I might turn to sheer volume for attention.

I'm not necessarily a fan of the major job boards, but having worked closely with them in the past, I can tell you that they have heard more than their fair share of complaints from both employers and job seekers.

Things such as too many jobs on the site. Jobs falling off the first page within hours of post. Jobs not showing up. Poor quality jobs. Poor response. Tons of response from unqualified talent.

Over the years, they have had to figure out how to keep their customers happy, remain fairly impartial, and make things work for both employers and job seekers. (Oh yeah, remember that job seeker you're trying to reach?)

While I applaud the efforts to increase competition, I'm not sure this free markets effort will have the intended result. I hope I'm wrong, but unfortunately, it might end up being just another free place to post, creating even more noise online.

I think it highlights the fact that attracting candidates is much less about job postings and more about networking. Frankly, I think that if companies are really focused on job postings or the costs of the big boards, maybe they should rethink their online talent strategy completely.

In the end, my guess is that many employers will try to feed large batches of jobs with as little effort as possible. (It's free, right?) That's going to mean wholesale dumps of jobs with less quality and less relevance for job seekers.

Like I said, don't get me wrong -- it's a great idea. Just remember that it's free. And sometimes, you get exactly what you pay for.

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