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Why do association job boards grow in a vast sea of job aggregators?

by | Nov 17, 2016 | Non-Dues Revenue

In a prior job, I served as a hiring manager for a department at a Fortune 500 company. During the great recession, when unemployment hovered around 10%, I was fortunate enough to have an open headcount on my team. I was excited to get my hands on the resumes of what had to be an overwhelming number of highly talented, qualified and available professionals given the state of the economy at the time.

What an enviable position to be able to hire at a time like this and at the brand of a world-class employer. At my door, exceptional candidates would certainly be lined up ready to take the team to the next level.

When I shared the open job description with my human resources business partner, she diligently posted it on all of our usual suspects—Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn and several other large sources of candidate traffic. My wait didn’t last long. The first stack of resumes crossed my desk in just a couple of days.

I eagerly looked at the first one. Wait a minute; this person wasn’t qualified. On to the next; also not qualified.

I needed someone with significant accomplishments in the field, someone who had stewarded a high-profile brand in a similar industry and successfully navigated the challenges that they were certain to face in this job. And, they needed a track record to prove it. Well, as you may have guessed by now, that candidate was not in that tall stack of resumes.

My job opening had gotten a huge amount of exposure. My ratio of applications to the advertising dollars spent was excellent. But, they were the wrong applicants. And to make matters worse, I was now investing time sorting through a mountain of unqualified resumes.

While technology is constantly improving to more accurately target and match employers with qualified applicants, in many ways, today, the problem has actually gotten worse. The reason is that job aggregators—those websites that promise to show millions of open jobs—have become so prolific that the moment a job is placed on an organization’s own website, it also gets scraped and zooms around the internet. It then becomes discoverable by millions of unqualified, but eager, candidates on dozens of job aggregator sites.

The result is an influx of the wrong applicants.

To help filter them, employers are forced to set up dozens of pre-qualification questions and rules during their application processes. This leads to a rate as high as 90% of abandonment by job seekers who just don’t have the patience to navigate this obstacle course of questions, which are ultimately designed to disqualify them.

So, in a world where a recruiter’s job is to bring top performers into their organization, they are increasingly turning to association member pools as a preferred source of highly targeted and qualified talent.

The value proposition of focusing job postings to qualified candidates who are members of professional organizations resonates because the ratio of high potential candidates or quality applications per dollar spent on recruitment is extraordinary, especially for hard-to-fill positions. This trend is only expected to continue to improve as the technology of association career centers becomes more advanced at matching members with their ideal open job opportunities. Case in point: association job boards powered by YourMembership last year generated collective revenue that was up 19%. That’s a clear indicator of more job volume flowing through these targeted member-based organizations.

Essentially, I’m a fisherman. A lesson I’ve learned the hard way is that no matter how many lines you have in the water, if you are not fishing where the fish are, you’re not going to catch any keepers. Eventually, I was able to find the perfect keeper for that open position several years ago. I found that person through their association’s job board.


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