Job seekers should expand their online search before taking the next big step

Is SEEK still the best way to find a job?

If you’re looking for a job, it may pay to think small instead of large.

For the past 10 years, the port of call for most online job applicants has been big online job placement agencies like Seek and CareerOne, but the choices now available are mind-boggling.

There are now numerous tech start-ups nibbling at Seek’s heels, using talent-matching software to bring greater acuity to the recruitment game. These tiny competitors boast closer candidate-to-job fits using smarter algorithms and better adaptation to changes in work roles and routines.  

Jobs can be short-term or project based, place, time or circumstance oriented – the new need is for new playmakers to handle the multiple facets of the employment market.

“Permanent recruitment is being challenged, and with it, Seek,” says expert360.com co-founder, Bridget Loudon. Gen George, who runs oneshift.com.au, agrees.

A more specialized online job market

George, who once famously said the 9-5 job is dead, says both candidates and companies are looking for a more tailored approach to employment, which they won’t get from the big job aggregators, Seek or any of the big recruiters – and it is paying off for her business.

“We now hold around 11% of Australian part-time workers in the market place and convert about 4-5% of part-timers looking each month,” George says.  Who are these job matchmakers? If you’re a skilled tradesman seeking small jobs/projects locally, there’s oneflare.com.au. 

Jobs can be short-term or project based, place, time or circumstance oriented – the new need is for new playmakers to handle the multiple facets of the employment market.

For unskilled tasks there’s airtasker.com.au. If you’re looking for short-term, casual, part-time and entry-level work in any line, try oneshift.com.au. If you’re looking for your first job after school or university, there’s spotjobs.com,au, which specialises in entry level jobs for young people in the retail, hospitality and services industries.  

If you’re a consultant, Expert360 says it can make a match with projects, as does findaconsultant.com.au. A one-man legal firm can pitch for jobs on lawpath.com.au, a carpenter/builder can check out jobs and projects on buildingindustryonline,com.au.

While impressed by the flexibility of these marketplaces, Schalk Barnard, Ernst & Young’s strategic growth and middle markets leader, is not entirely convinced of their total disruption potential.

These matching marketplaces may work well to find “non face-to-face roles” such as credit controllers, designers and account managers, he says, but bigger companies are more likely to be in the market for longer term roles and “team players” who require greater “cultural fit”.  

“Smaller companies can’t afford to employ a full time credit controller so they find someone who can do the job for two hours a week. There’s no real human interface needed there – it’s just a job that needs doing, but it can work brilliantly for both parties.”

Who’s changing the rules?

This is not just about a different way to get jobs, but in some cases, the companies are changing the rules. The newly-minted Find a Consultant charges the job-finder, not the company, for receiving a job/project/placement – a radical reversal of the industry standard. 

“Big recruitment agencies often ask companies for a 20 per cent fee for finding the right personnel. We charge the candidate 10 per cent of all they make in the first year and nothing afterwards,” says founder Sharon Melamed.  Melamed does not believe this will hamstring the job-seeker. 

“Companies hugely resent the fees and so happily list with us for no charge. The prospective employee – knowing this – has more freedom to negotiate a better rate for each project,” she says.

The smart tech in the recruitment space matching you to the right job is evolving. There’s nvoi.com.au, which touts itself as a one-stop solution, managing a jobseeker’s entire career, down to worker contracts, timesheets and pay. 

“Companies hugely resent the fees and so happily list with us for no charge. The prospective employee – knowing this – has more freedom to negotiate a better rate for each project” 

There’s the Search Party, which says its technology reduces the average time to hire a candidate to just 12 days (compared with the 81 day industry average) and Recruitloop, which lets businesses hire recruiters by the hour. 

Then there’s expr3ss.com, which claims to have cut down staff turnover for its small business clients from 20 per cent to 2.5 per cent a year, using a highly-honed psychometric matching algorithm.

And of course, there’s LinkedIn – Barnard jokes that you never see a bad candidate on LinkedIn, but it remains vitally important – even to these smaller players – so candidates would do well to keep profiles up-to-date and appealing. 

Melamed says she uses LinkedIn to build business and seek out consultants, which she then properly screens. Barnard says it gives access to people’s skills and CVs at minimal cost for both companies and recruiters.

George says it is a sales tool. “It’s great for us to create a presence to get onto HR directors in larger corporates but also to have a targeted approach to find out who the right person is to speak to and how to contact them,” says George.

And so what about Seek itself, is it worried about all those nibbling at its heels?

The answer is: maybe not just yet. Seek goes by the mantra that for every three job searches made online, it successfully fills two of them. It receives 30 million visits monthly, eight times that of its nearest competitor and far more successfully than big job aggregators.  

“The fact is –we’re still way in front on any metric and we’ve worked very hard to improve our matching techniques,” Seek CEO Andrew Bassat told In the Black.

“Nobody has the volume of data and transactions we have. We can see better than the competition what people want and what they are applying for. Who has the best algorithm? It’s always subjective but I’ve seen no evidence of anyone having anything better than us.”

Read next: 9 tactful ways to argue at work.


February 2019
February 2019

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