The North American Job Board Summit “Interview Series”.


We interview Gerry Crispin.


With the Jobg8 North American Job Board Summit just three months away, we are delighted to launch our series of interviews with event speakers plus some leading personalities in the recruitment and job board industry.


I have had as a Brit the great pleasure of knowing Gerry Crispin for 17 years, we first meet when he was at Shaker Recruitment Advertising and I was their UK partner at a UK agency Riley Advertising, the first time we met, I heard Gerry utter the immortal words “the candidate experience” and I was hooked.


Here was a man who understood that in the e-recruitment world of the candidate was of equal importance as the customer is to sales and how they were treated in this new 24/7/365 world of connectivity was going to change.


Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler then founded CareerXroads in 1996 and the rest is history. Since then I have met Gerry at many ERE, Kennedy and other industry events in the US as well as Europe and, most recently, as a judge of the CandE’s (Candidate Experience Awards) in the UK.


Inspirational, passionate and knowledgeable are all words I associate with Gerry BUT also these words- commonsense, grounded and practical.



Q - Has "job seeker" behaviour changed over the last few years and what impact could this have on Job Boards?

A - Let’s be clear, there are job seekers who will never be viable prospects let alone candidates and we owe them the common courtesy to say thank you but no thanks…and do it well. There are job seekers who don’t get it and, if they had a great coach, perhaps good information etc. from job boards, they would be viable prospects and compete successfully in a short time. There are job seekers who absolutely ‘get it’. They need little help and are poorly served by most of the industry and then there are prospects who are not seeking a job…at this time. That being said, most job seekers’ behavior has not changed. Clueless, they consider their careers only when necessity dictates- laid off, merged, bad boss etc. Even when they are adept at social media they seem surprised that one could use the tools to target, research and network into the firms they have uncovered as a viable place for their next job…until someone points out that they can. What has changed is jobseeker’s ACCESS to people and data. The majority have no idea what to do with the access AND no context in which to assess the data. Case in point. Lots of firms now have a widget on their Company Career Site pages that informs a visitor that he/she ‘knows’ the following employees at the company. The widget supplies a link to the employees Linkedin profile. Randomly ask job seekers why that is important and what action they have taken to use it. I have. No action…except for a fraction of the candidates…see next question. Until our respective educational systems provide counsel about how to manage your career to avoid obsolescence, make networking a critical required competency and empower individuals to continuously improve their most salable competencies, the behavior of the vast majority of job seekers will not change. Of course, the means with which they can complain as they always have will magnify their collective voice. The waves of sympathy they will generate will aggregate into a tsunami that definitely will impact employers and…if the job boards fail to be clear about what they can and cannot supply, perhaps exaggerating their contribution to the job process…well, best case they’ll get abandoned and, worse case, they’ll get sued. But the behavior has not changed; the technological context in which we hear the problems we’ve always had has changed.


Q - Referrals, Job Boards and Social Media - key hiring channels and do you expect any significant changes in these?

A - Yes, social media is more than a channel; it is a rip tide of opportunity driving the future of referrals. Analysis of several sets of independently collected data show that a candidate, whether passive or active, is 4 to 7 x more likely to get the job if he/she has made the effort to get an employee to refer them. Notice I didn’t describe the effort of the employer to get an employee to ‘find and refer’. It is the initiative of the job seeker to get the referral that is going to increase in the future…assuming someone shares how important referrals are, what the ERP requirements of a targeted company are, and the tactics- how to quickly find someone in that company and suggested scripts on how to approach them to get the referral. Why not job boards? They surely don’t do it now. They are stuck on 20 year old content and tips rather than the deadly use of social media tools to combine the leads they supply with the tactics that are proven to work in 2013…not 1991.


Q - Job Boards and the Candidate Experience - your opinion of what they deliver today and how this might/need to change.

A - Job boards, employers and most consultants are still stuck on UI as the alpha and omega of the candidate experience. Time to move that needle forward. Navigation is important but it’s like a putting on a seatbelt, adjusting the seat and side view mirrors. It is preparation but now we need to drive this sucker and I want my GPS fully engaged to advise on the best route to get there. Why do I fail to see job descriptions with salary range, a profile of the last person hired contrasted with the list of musts, demographics of the management style of the hiring manager, a checklist of what ‘fit’ means in this company, a promise that when the job is filled EVERY person who applies will be informed…and much more. If job boards said “you can search for jobs the old fashioned way or, you can search for jobs from the companies that promise to inform you and treat you with respect (as noted in the previous sentence), which way do you think the most qualified candidates would choose? You would be correct in assuming that few firms would be prepared to step up…but those who did, like the first firms in the 90’s who posted jobs online rather than waiting until the print version came out in the paper, would again change the game.


Q - Job Boards and The Career Site - competitors or partners?

A -Assuming you mean corporate Career Pages when you say Career Sites, the answer is both. A partner enhances my offerings with content I can’t supply, offers advice I may not be able to, leverages my brand to save me time and money, etc. etc. or, if not, it is an obstacle I can work around with new tools and partners who get my message out. The point is it is the Job Board that has to demonstrate how relevant they are today with case study and data that resonates with the employer writing the check. Good research not anecdotes and clichéd claims are essential. Most of the whitepapers I see are crap. The staffing leaders I speak with laugh at most of it.


Q - How do you see Job Boards developing - new services, technology etc

A - Listen to clueless recruiters and then listen to world-class recruiters. Mine the gap or focus on the few who get it. DO NOT build services for the clueless. This, unfortunately, is becoming a rocket science and is a bit more complex today because the interpretation of what you hear to meet the needs of recruiters and their prospects is different depending on the class of employee, level of job, degree of misperception about a company’s employer brand, culture of the country, etc., etc., Job Boards as an industry need to meet establish a set of standards (developed by themselves) around the transparency of what they offer. Newspaper classifieds did one thing right: they all published the results of an independent audit that tested their claims and certified the truth about their services.


Q - Your view of the "Future of Recruitment.

A - I wrote a description of the ‘Future’ in one of my last CareerXroads books more than a decade ago. In it I told the story of an experienced professional woman, a passive job seeker, checking on the ‘possibilities’ for what might be next in her career….in the far off year of 2016. Most of what I wrote is still in the future. I’ll try to rewrite that chapter sometime this year but there are a few elements beyond the entertainment value that employers and job seekers should consider when reading about or imagining what it could be like. But, the idea of speculating about the future has a purpose- to encourage everyone to do it for themselves. For employers engaging your staff in an exercise about what how recruiting will evolve is a real opportunity to set goals to create it…one step at a time. For job seekers, imagine you are responsible for the rest of your career, consider what you could do while you are still working that would make hunting for a job a non-issue? These are some of the boundaries I expect to see broken in the next few years: - High performers will be obvious, passive or not, and they, not the employers, will assess and select their next ‘match’. Top recruiters will have stronger career counseling skills and advocate for the candidates who join their firms long after they onboard. A ‘validated’ employer brand will be the driver that differentiates successful from unsuccessful firms. - Productivity will be a critically measured component of work- linking every person/team to the performance of their company. Skills that are becoming obsolete will be evident to that worker and everyone around them. Employers who support continuous learning environments will compete more successfully. - Cultural fit as a factor in hiring will be based on relevant factors…in addition to work competencies that connect to community, sustainability, and values around innovation. Individual candidates will be as concerned about fit as the firm and more likely to choose wisely. - Most jobs will involve collaboration beyond the walls of the company. Individuals who establish broad professional networks will be able to tap their knowledge, wisdom and experience in real-time. This will change the way we learn about opportunities, refer others and screen. - All data surrounding selection will be owned by the candidate and available to the candidate. Many people will be unhappy about what they learn. - Employer data about the quality of the hiring manager, the collaborative nature of the team, the success in converting talent and developing them, etc. will be totally transparent to any prospect.