This week, we talk about cake, the announcement of the new Google job search engine, what Google for Jobs means for SEOs working in recruitment and what we make of it all.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve treated yourself to a coffee and a slice of cake, and you’re eating your cake and it’s delicious. In fact, it’s really delicious. But you still glance back at the counter and you see another, really big and scrumptious-looking cake and you think, damn, I’d really like a slice of that cake too. It happens to me all the time. So naturally, this was the first thought that came to mind upon hearing the news that Google is going after the recruitment industry, and launching a Google job search engine.
There were rumours last month, but now Google CEO Sundar Pichai has confirmed suspicions, giving a brief preview of the new Google job search engine, “Google for Jobs,” at a recent I/O developer conference.
Pichai stated that the Google job search engine comes as a response to the “46% of U.S. employers [who] say they face talent shortages and have issues filling open job positions,” and that, “while job seekers may be looking for openings right next door – there’s a big disconnect.” Pichai claimed that Google wants “to better connect employers and job seekers through a new initiative: Google for Jobs.
So perhaps I was wrong to make the cake analogy, but Forbes estimate that the entire recruitment market is worth over $200 billion worldwide, so it’s likely Google’s motivations aren’t wholly selfless. We’re talking about a pretty sizeable cake here, after all.
Nonetheless, while Forbes’ headline last week spoke of Google’s “Potential To Disrupt The $200 Billion Recruiting Industry,” Google has announced the company will initially partner with the likes of LinkedIn, Facebook, Careerbuilder, Monster, Glassdoor and other services already established in the market, rather than compete with them.
Regardless, big players in the recruitment industry are probably still in a bit of sweat right now, and we don’t blame them. Pichai rightly stated that a Google job search engine “taps our core capabilities as a company from searching and organising information to A.I. and machine learning”, so they’re probably going to be pretty good at it. This means they’ll end up with a reasonably large slice of that delicious recruitment industry cake.
Recruitment agencies shouldn’t be preparing for an apocalypse, however. Primarily, Google for Jobs will make searching online for new opportunities easier and more effective. This may bring far more people into the recruitment market than before as people often want to avoid the ‘hassle’ of searching for jobs. Recruitment agencies simply need to adapt: Google is the best at organising information, but they still need people to provide that information. And anyway, once a someone finds a job, their application still needs to be managed by another someone. I would venture that there will be a surge in SEO jobs within recruitment agencies themselves, to better optimise their own listings.
Additionally, Google’s entrance into the field means that, in theory, the smaller players will have the chance to get in on the cakey action – as long as they take advantage of the new opportunities Google for Jobs will present. Plus, Google for Jobs will be nothing but positive for the user too.
1. Google’s search engine for jobs will have a number of tools to help job-seekers find the right job for them.
2. Searchers will be able to filter jobs by things like job title, category or type, full or part-time work, location, date posted etc.
3. Other things, such as commute time, will also be shown.
4. A one-click “Apply” feature will allow candidates to submit an application directly from a job listing.
5. Google’s machine learning and AI technologies will also be used to better understand how job titles are related to each other.
This will be particularly useful because of the myriad of job titles different companies currently use to describe what is essentially the same position (or the same job title for a role that’s completely different). Google for Jobs aims to overcome this issue by clustering job titles and showing the user all matching job types. This will be done by creating a single jobs taxonomy. A bi-product of this process of categorisation is that they will be able to understand how different jobs relate to one another and where there are skill crossovers. This means that, if you are looking at a different role to something you currently do, Google may be able to provide a match percentage. Perhaps this will reduce boundaries for career changing.
Google for Jobs has the potential to benefit smaller recruitment agencies who, at present, struggle to rank against industry giants. So how can you take advantage and get in on the cakey action too?
1. Schema Markups
SEOs working with recruiters will need the very best schema markups and implementation, to show their top job listings at their best. A schema markup is simply a way of presenting key information about something, such as a job, so that search engines can digest it. In this case, it will be things like location, job title, salary etc. If you have good schema markups, Google will be able to easily identify this information and use it in their indexing process.
2. Up Your Content Game
Create content that catches potential candidates earlier in their search. For instance, interview tips and advice on CVs.
3. Prepare For Paid Advertising
If Google for Jobs is going to be anything like Google Shopping, recruiters are going to have to allocate some of their budget to paid advertising if they want to win big.
Information is power, or in Google’s case, data is power. Where Google can really out-manoeuvre the existing recruitment giants is in personalisation. Through your digital footprint, Google knows a great deal about you and although this sounds alarming, their intentions are generally good. Using this data, Google wants to present a more personalised and relevant online experience for users. This is why you gets ads related to products you’re interested in and why different people get different results in Google search.
By using this data, Google can present highly personalised information about a job. We’ve already mentioned the commute time feature they’ve talked about but we don’t think that will be the end of it. Through machine learning, we imagine Google will want to try and match up jobs that appeal to certain people. This will work to improve the relevance of the jobs it shows people, making the experience better for the user, thus increasing Google for Jobs usage.
Additionally, Google could provide more detail than recruitment agencies can, using their existing database, such as potential travel costs and nearby amenities. If you’re looking at a job further afield, it could tell you about the cost of houses in the area or what the typical weather is like. Perhaps they’ll go as far as telling you how likely you are to get on with the people in that company. (This is no longer the stuff of science fiction – such techniques are being used in political circles already).
One potential problem we can see though is over-personalisation. People are career-hopping more and more now and this is usually because they want a change. Whether that is just to a different company or to a new city and a new life. Therefore, if Google for Jobs is focussed on delivering highly relevant jobs to you, it might not be very good at thinking outside of that box and presenting something new.
User: “Google, show me some PR jobs in London”
Google: “But you’re a graphic designer in Bristol, I’ll show you some graphic designer jobs instead. And only jobs in Reading, that’s closer to you than London”.
Silly example but you get my point. Maybe.