A Look at Google’s Cloud Jobs API and Larger Impact for Recruiting & Job Seekers

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Yesterday, Google announced the CloudJobs API. The product is currently in Alpha, available to a limited number of applicant tracking systems, job boards and career sites. Their solution is welcome during a time where job seekers are increasingly challenged with finding relevant job postings that suit their specific experiences and needs. There is nothing worse than visiting a job board or aggregator and not receiving relevant job postings or, even worse, postings that are active but not recent listings. Having just wrapped up a project involving job posting process and optimization, I can attest to how complicated and challenging developing appropriate job posting content can be. Job postings are typically boring, filled with corporate speak and often serve as a formal job description instead of serving as a long form advertisement inviting candidates to not only apply for the job in question but learn about the organization as well as make the decision against the job opportunity.

For employers, companies are challenged with finding qualified talent for their current job openings. Candidates are applying in droves for roles on company career sites, job aggregators and job boards. According to a report from the National Federation of Independent Business, in October 2016, 48% of small businesses reported a shortage of qualified workers to fill job openings. Additionally, 28% of small businesses could not fill open jobs.

The key here is qualified. Whether it’s small businesses or high volume industries like retail, restaurant or hospitality where application volumes remain high, time to fill is increasing. People are applying in large numbers. They just aren’t qualified, making it increasingly challenging to hire effectively and efficiently.

What Does Google’s Cloud Jobs API Offer Employers?

Google’s Machine Learning technology seeks to solve the following problems that exist within the hiring process:

  • Better candidate to job posting and position match. There is nothing worse than searching for a specific job position like “human resources manager” and being suggested positions that include those keyword combinations but have nothing to do with the job title I’m searching for. The hope is that Google Cloud Jobs could eliminate this confusion providing a more relevant and smarter search than what job seekers currently receive.
  • Improved job suggestions. One of the secrets of the job board industry is that behind the scenes they buy and sell traffic, postings and candidates, which is why sometimes job seekers often receive strange recommendations for jobs based on the experience they have provided on their profiles. For example, I regularly receive job alert emails from a number of job boards for the position “executive administrative assistant” or “inside sales professional.” For the job boards themselves this is a numbers game. They know through experience that 1-2% of candidates might click and ultimately apply for those openings and the logic is that increasing the number of job alerts sent to a wider audience would increase the number of applies and revenue. Google’s new product changes that.
  • Levels the playing field in the job board industry. For most of us operating career sites Indeed provides a large percentage of referral traffic. Indeed and other aggregators like them are SEO ninjas focused on their results in search. Companies with career sites, including employers, RPOs and staffing agencies, necessarily focused on SEO, which is why many of us are paying for featured postings and enhanced job results. Google’s new Jobs API product could help re-invigorate the job board industry, level the playing field when it comes to Indeed and increase career site traffic because of the enhancements offered to select ATS companies.

What It Doesn’t Do…

  • Doesn’t change existing job posting search algorithms and ranking process on Google
  • Doesn’t offer a stand alone product for employers
  • Doesn’t offer job posting enhancement and SEO suggestions
  • Doesn’t have any case studies to back up their claims

Google’s Cloud Job API is Brilliant Because….

Google isn’t joining the HR Technology game, but it is providing a technology to enhance HR technology products. This is so much smarter than Google launching a job board as Chris Russell and I discussed earlier this year on the Workology Podcast. They aren’t creating a job board to complete with an already active, mature and crowded space, but rather providing technology using their expertise for current and future players to elevate their current job board and career site solutions. The increased growth in HR technology combined with the war for talent has perfectly positioning Google to offer a solution for all parties involved at different intervals, while being able to maintain their Google AdWords product — where I believe an increasing number of employers and their agencies are spending recruiting dollars, as they move towards a progammatic job posting and recruitment strategy.

Google’s entry into the industry disrupts the job board industry greatly because job boards and staffing agencies alike have been challenged with being penalized by search engine algorithm and ranking like Google’s, due to duplicate content in the form of job postings on multiple websites. Companies like Broadbean were created with the sole purpose of making it easy to publish a single job posting on multiple job boards. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t like duplicate content which has impacted all job boards and career sites including Indeed, who earlier this year began suspending career site feeds that published duplicate job posting content. This change decreased organic traffic, forcing companies to re-evaluate their job posting efforts. That has generally resulted in either paying for sponsored jobs through aggregators like Indeed or taking the painstaking time and effort to customize every single job post, which, for organizations like RPOs and staffing agencies, is extremely expensive and time consuming. If only Google also created a machine learning and artificial intelligence technology that re-wrote job postings and descriptions!

What Talent Acquisition Teams Can Do

Because Google’s Cloud Jobs API is only available for partners that are ATS, job boards and career site provides, corporate HR and talent acquisition teams will need to work with their agencies, job boards and ATS companies if they want to be some of the first to test and work through the new offerings. At present, Dice, CareerBuilder and Jibe are promoted as Alpha partners. Personally, I would have liked to see an HR technology neutral community like Direct Employers be added to the initial list. Then again, Google is in the money making and revenue generating business, and it will be interesting to see how this move impacts LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor.  The majority of Silicon Valley giants have entered or are influencing the HR technology industry even Facebook who last week launching their jobs feed to their Pages. As long as the economy holds, 2017 is shaping up to be an even more interesting year, shining a bright spotlight on the importance of talent and human resources.

You can click here to learn more about the Alpha program and make a suggestion for your ATS, career site provider or favorite job board to join. 

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