What is the impact of Google for Jobs on job boards?

Is Google for Jobs the end of the job board? Although it’s not been launched in most European countries yet, the major European job boards seem to think so. 23 Major boards have launched a request for an anti-trust inquiry by the European Commission against Google for Jobs. They argue that Google is abusing its power by entering the jobs market.

Google for Jobs in Europe

Currently, Google for Jobs is active in Germany, France, Spain and the UK. Basically the four major European markets. The boards state Google for Jobs instantly became visible as a market leader. Not surprising since they are and have been for ages, they just send the traffic on until now.


I assume the boards are seeing massive drops in traffic. So I reached out to an American board who has been dealing with Google for Jobs since June of 2017 and are willing to share their data: College Recruiter.

Steven Rothberg shared their Google traffic with me starting June 2017 at the moment Google for Jobs was introduced until now. Basically, what College Recruiter saw was an initial drop in traffic, since they had no advance warning about the mark-up Google wanted for the vacancies. After changing this and implementing the new mark-up, traffic is back at normal levels.

My 2 cents

My personal opinion is that these (general) job boards are fighting an uphill battle. A losing battle. Google has been the starting point of most job searches and Google is now helping candidates finding the jobs they are looking for.

Generalist job boards will loose out since their value to the candidate is very limited and they target the same job seekers that already use Google, the active ones.

Niche job boards, however, will continue to add value. I used to run a marketing job board, that just had jobs next to great marketing content. People didn’t visit for the jobs, they came for the content and some of the ads were jobs. Niche job boards, that run the job sections of content organisations, still have a great future.

For now, the generalist job board is safe and as College Recruiter’s data shows, you don’t have to lose out. You are of course wheeling in a trojan horse since Google will be able to sell their jobs directly (they can already) and unless you reach people you are not reaching from Google traffic, why should anyone advertise with you?

The anti-trust inquiry

Does this mean the anti-trust inquiry has no merit? Well, honestly, I have never understood the reasoning of these people. I see them approve mergers that for me are clearly anti-trust and yet I’ve seen them crackdown on Google and Microsoft for doing what any organisation would do, use their strengths to expand, that I couldn’t understand either.

About Bas van de Haterd

Bas van de HaterdBas van de Haterd is a strategic recruitment consultant who helps companies recruit smarter. He’s an international speaker on recruitment innovation. He is passionate about HR technology and how it can improve hiring processes and make them less biased. In the Netherlands, he runs research and an event called Digitaal-Werven that focuses on the candidate experience, and he is also the co-organizer of the European Recruitment Innovation event: Talent Acquisition Live.

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  1. I think the action will have a tough case to prove. As your article states the traffic came back to College Recruiter after they added structured data. The way to get the ranking is to add this simple data structure to any site with a vacancy page so no barrier to entry.

    If you know anything about SEO then the structured data should have been there in the first place and to tweak it for the GFJ format College Recruiters tech team would have needed to do 2-4 hours work max so where was the big issue? Smacks of a storm in a teacup to bad mouth Google? What you had to code and how was published to anyone who wanted to know (still is) about what data to set up and how.

    Hard to prove for the two UK companies named, I did some testing and for two-word jobs searches they rarely appear in the top 100 results, so google cannot disrupt traffic they did not have from rankings they have yet to achieve. In fact, you can say if they just added structured data to their job posts they’d be better off on Google for jobs.

    This action for me misses the real place to look and see if Google for jobs is anti-competitive, if you enter the platform jobs are delivered in a questionable way for me, like the following examples.

    Why is a job that is 10 days old on Total Jobs (an early adoption partner) ranked above a job 3 days old from a non-early adoption partner ranked 2nd?

    Why are the penalties for how job titles requested as clean titles not being penalised on the early adoption partners adverts?

    Why do the early adoption partners ads rarely state the post code and street name and rank higher than non-adoption partners with that data fully completed?

    If Google’s stated aim is to improve the job search then the job advert with a clean job title, no amber warnings and fully accurate data (in the UK people are putting England as the Region when it should be a county like say Kent, or Yorkshire etc) in all field not rank the highest?


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