So guardianjobs.co.uk has broken the 2 million users-a-month barrier for the first time, and according to the press release it has sent out: “the continuing rise in traffic is attributed to the quality of jobs carried across a wide range of sectors and a strong pool of both passive and active job-seekers”.
Hmm. I suspect it might be more about the active job seekers than anything else.
After all, as even the calmest and least sensational of commentators agree, the UK unemployment rate is about to smash through the 2 million barrier – it if hasn’t already done so (http://tinyurl.com/bxd8e6).
In other words, there are more people out there looking for jobs than ever before (or at least, more than at any other time since the birth of digital recruiting). Is it just possible that more than anything else, it’s the high number of job seekers out there that is fuelling guardianjobs.co.uk’s traffic numbers?
The Guardian might argue that those job seekers come to guardianjobs.co.uk because they know they’ll find that high “quality of jobs carried across a wide range of sectors”. But the truth is, a quick glance at most job sites’ ABCe (www.abce.org.uk) audit – assuming they are independently audited- will show a big jump in numbers. For example, TotalJobs saw the number of their monthly users increase between Dec 08 and Jan 09 by a massive 90%.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising guardianjobs.co.uk – in fact I think it’s a strong site in many areas and in some cases would always appear on the schedule. But let’s not get carried away with some increases in audience and traffic numbers at the moment because right now, that is par for the course.
In any case, if we assume that guardianjobs.co.uk’s press release “big-ing up” the numbers was the result of a slightly over enthusiastic sales effort, let’s look at what resourcing professionals and advertisers really are interested in when they are formulating attraction strategies for their recruitment needs.
Are we interested in traffic and audience numbers? To a point. But it’s not the be all and end all. Once upon a time those numbers might be a useful indicator of potential success (or otherwise) of a campaign, but these days, there are so many active job seekers out there (as we’ve discussed), that it’s a little less relevant. People are more desperate so there’ll be more applicants. But in that middle-to-senior management space that the Guardian and its sister job site occupy, employers want quality – not quantity.
The stuff that would really make us sit up and take notice is data on likely success – numbers of applications in similar roles, numbers of shortlisted candidates, and offers made, for example. In fact, the same kind of information that resourcers and advertisers have been asking for, for years. Except now, thanks to more joined-up technology, we do have the ability to capture, manage and share this information. The question is, are we (by which I mean media and site operators, advertisers and resourcing professionals) ready to really take advantage, by working in a more open and collaborative way?