Online job search is broken

Posted on 01/27/2013 in misc

Online job search is completely broken. You'd think we would have this figured out in 2013. You'd be wrong. 25 years ago if you were looking for a job in Washington DC you bought the Sunday Washington Post and pretty every single job would be listed. Where do you go today for that kind of coverage of the DC area? has a decent job section. Careerbuilder is ok, but they are getting a lot of their jobs from The Post anyway. purports to be a meta search engine, but it seems to miss a lot. Running the exact same search on and don't give the same results, even though Indeed is allegedly crawling Careerbuilder. LinkedIn probably has the most consistent quality of jobs, but the quantity is lacking as it costs $150 to post a job and a lot of companies don't want to pay that. I've heard Craigslist is good, but in the DC area it is mostly useless. It's all "business opportunities" and low end jobs, very few professional level jobs are listed there. These guys are trying to invert the model to eliminate recruiter spam. But that is really only a problem for developers right now. My friend Mike tried that a few years ago too. He may have suffered from bad timing as the market was totally crashing when he tried it. But I'm not convinced that really solves the problem anyway. Recruiter spam is not a problem for most people. Job discovery is the problem that needs to be fixed.

Why do corporations even need to pay to put jobs on LinkedIn or Careerbuilder or Monster? Most of the companies are putting the jobs on their own web sites anyway. It seems like a syndication or notification service for the career section of the corporate web sites would work better. Instead of 250 different niche job sites, all with unique logins and mostly lousy user interfaces, we need a simple way to identify and describe job info. I believe that is what XML does. Then the companies simply push out the new job opening to Google or whoever and anybody that is looking for a job only needs to go to one place to find all the jobs in their town, or field, or all the jobs in their field in their town. There would still be plenty of opportunity for niche job sites to act as trusted filters, pulling out the best sales jobs in DC, or the best python jobs in Silicon Valley, or whatever. But the user would also have the option of going straight to the syndication engine and doing their own filtering.

The model for online job search is inverted. Instead of me going out looking for jobs at 12 different job sites, I should be able to tell Google (or whoever) what I want and the jobs should come to me as they are posted. And corporations shouldn't need to deal with 12 different job sites to find candidates either. The current model is optimized for the people making money on job search. It is virtually unusable for job seekers and employers. Somebody should change that.