Comment: Google for Jobs – the Leopard Doesn’t Change its Spots

Google for Jobs

Gareth Biggerstaff, CEO of IT recruitment firm Be-IT, reflects on claims he made last year on the subject of Google for Jobs.

Just over a year ago, I wrote a number of blogs for a variety of publishers on the subject of Google for Jobs (GfJ). At that time, the job-boards saw GfJ as a chance for them to regain ground lost to Indeed.

There were many bullish remarks from job-board executives about how their new partnerships with the company were just the shot in the arm that their industry needed. However, in my opinion, and as I wrote at the time, there was also a refusal by said execs to countenance the possibility that Google might just be using them for its own purposes.

I also noted that, in the same way that the job-boards had originally thought they could dominate the market and put recruitment agencies out of business, I would have been amazed if GfJ had not courted similar thoughts. More specifically, I commented that GfJ might start charging once it had established market dominance and that the job-boards were deluding themselves if they thought that Google was not using them for short-medium-term gain.

In our experience at Be-IT, job-boards continue to provide a reasonable quantity, if not always quality, of response, albeit both are diminishing. Consequently, despite Indeed and GfJ, they are going to be around for a bit longer.

That being said, Be-IT, like most recruiters, is continually exploring other channels. Moreover, although I am sure that Indeed was in GfJ’s sights, it is not going away and continues to offer many small-scale recruiters free job postings. While this may seem mad, it’s worth bearing in mind that each free ad on Indeed is an ad that is not appearing – and being paid for – on the likes of S1Jobs, TotalJobs, Reed, et al.

Additionally, it appears that Indeed is slowly trying to move these free ads to ‘sponsored’ (i.e. paid for) ads.

With all this in mind, it was instructive to read an article in the Telegraph this morning (14th August), headlined “Google exploiting search monopoly to ‘dominate’ job recruitment sector, industry warns.”

Put briefly, 23 job-boards have written to the EU competition commissioner to accuse Google of “imposing anti-competitive pressure using its new Google for Jobs feature.”

Just like Indeed back in its early days, Google does not charge for displaying the results of job searches via GfJ, however, the signatories to this letter “claim the move is a ‘ploy’ to gain market share and then change its business model to add paid-for links. The signatories claimed it represents a ‘predatory offer’” – An expression involving a famous detective and the contents of the large intestine comes to mind…

Ironically, some of those job-boards who sent this letter were those who signed up to the GfJ service. At the risk of being immodest, this is precisely what I warned of last year.

It’s not happened yet and still may not, given that Google has had the chastening experience of being fined £2.1BN by the EU Commission following the latter’s investigation into Google’s shopping service, which the signatories to the current letter say has “overwhelming parallels” to the GfJ position.

Why is anyone surprised…



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