Workplace Culture

Meet the Aggregator Killer

By Kris Dunn

Jun. 22, 2015

If you’re in talent acquisition or recruiting, the past decade has been a whirlwind of change.

The traditional job posting as we know it had its dominance stripped away. Rather than ask you to pay for a job posting, aggregator site Indeed took a different path. It aggregated most every job in the world, and then capitalized on the fact that more and more candidates looked for a job via a simple Google search.

The result? You don’t pay for a job posting; you pay to have your job moved up as high as possible in the search results on Indeed.com.

Welcome to the wonderful world of your company’s jobs being aggregated — and monetized.

You probably know Indeed, but you might not know the other aggregators, and that’s where the problems start.

To be fair, other changes have rocked your world in the recruitment marketing space. LinkedIn became the Death Star of recruiting databases. Glassdoor has emerged as a leader in company reputation and rating. CareerBuilder has done a solid job of responding to all trends by creating a meaningful, balanced portfolio of services for recruiters.

But regardless of the core strengths of each of these companies, there’s one thing that ties them together: They all have an eye on aggregating as many jobs as possible. Aggregated jobs combined with search engine optimization expertise equals traffic, which ultimately equals revenue.

I define a job aggregator to be any company that scrapes your jobs with or without permission and makes them part of their service or product offering.

You probably know Indeed, but you might not know the other aggregators, and that’s where the problems start.

Want a million-dollar product idea in HR? I’ve got one for you: the Aggregator Killer. What does it do? The Aggregator Killer makes sure the jobs that you close on your career site actually drop off all the aggregators that are out there (especially the bad ones). 

The need for the Aggregator Killer is based on some basic marketplace realities that are killing your employment brand. Let’s take a run through these realities.

Reality No. 1: While Indeed is the gold standard of job aggregation, its success has spawned lots of competitors in that space, most with substandard tech and discipline. If anything defines America, it’s that a good idea based on technology can be copied and deployed quickly with a minimal commitment to customer service.

Reality No. 2: You probably didn’t even notice there was an aggregation issue until LinkedIn created its “economic graph” and basically started scraping every job known to man.

LinkedIn announced in 2014 that it would offer hundreds of thousands of jobs aggregated from the career sites and applicant tracking systems of U.S. employers that don’t prohibit it. The reality is that in addition to your career site, LinkedIn also relies on a network of aggregators below the Indeed quality line to round up as many jobs as possible.

LinkedIn by itself is high quality. But as part of its economic graph, it basically started “aggregating the aggregators.” What could go wrong?

Reality No. 3: As a result of all the bad Indeed imitators and LinkedIn scraping those imitators, it’s now really hard to ensure that after you “unpost” a job (hopefully you filled it), that job actually goes away across the Internet within a reasonable time frame.

Turns out that aggregators below the Indeed and LinkedIn quality line are really good at aggregating jobs; they’re just bad at de-aggregating them.

So you filled a job and took it off your career site. Congrats! But people keep seeing that job because of the size and scale of the aggregation industry and the fact that bad actors didn’t pull the position down. As a result, candidates are going to experience a variety of unsatisfactory things (too numerous to mention here) when they express interest in a job that’s closed (but looks open!) in your company.

You can’t blame the aggregation industry for chasing Indeed with hundreds of “me too” products.

But you can hate them for being less than systematic when it comes to getting your jobs off the grid after you close or unpost in any way.

So here’s how my Aggregator Killer is going to work. Through a rare cocktail of technology and recent, underemployed law school graduates, we’re going to guarantee your closed jobs will come off all the boards.

Cost? Just $5 a job. Sounds expensive, right?

Sure it does. Until you get embarrassed in a million different ways by not being able to take that job down. Wait until your CEO gets a nasty note that you can’t even unpost jobs that were recently filled.

Just $5 a job; and you have to sign up all your jobs. It’s a bargain, people. Unless your organization’s reputation and brand are like a lot of these aggregators: bargain basement.

Kris Dunn, the chief human resources officer at Kinetix, is a Workforce contributing editor.

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