Call it a “good news, bad news” proposition. As the labor markets continue to improve and all economic indicators appear to be strong, there are still some glaring weaknesses within the jobseeking practice that are holding us back. Even though unemployment rate is at one of its lowest points in a decade and GDP is at one of its highest, people — especially Millennials and Gen Zers — are exasperated to search for a new job.
It’s not due to a lack of interest. Contrary to what pop culture could have you think, younger generations are a highly motivated bunch. Their optimism and social connectivity are unmatched compared to previous generations, and the crippling levels of student debt combined create a perfect storm of incentives to jump start their careers and find a job that is right for them in terms of salary, skills and culture.
The problem is the practice, itself. Online job boards aren’t working for modern job seekers. Antiquated user designs, coupled with the lack of uniformity and transparency, create a job seeking practice riddled with anxiety that places almost all of the burden on the job seeker.
The biggest obstacles within these stale sites are the big blocks of boring text, that are often useless to job seekers as they don’t even describe the employer who has the opening. These so-called job descriptions are a copy editor’s dream and a young jobseeker’s worst nightmare. They aren’t doing the employer any favors, either, as they weed out the most promising young candidates, who were brought up on intuitive digital designs and not run-on (and on!) sentences that are often published in ALL CAPS.
Today’s popular job sites are organized broadly, offering users little to no ability to distinguish between the jobs they want and the jobs that have the right ‘keywords.’ Users who search for managerial roles are confronted with pages of jobs that range from restaurant shift manager to audit manager and have sponsored jobs peppered in unsuspectingly.
But the real tragedy comes at the end. For those who are persistent and stubborn enough to find a good opportunity on a traditional job board such as Indeed, Monster or ZipRecruiter, their efforts are repaid in a digital slap to the face — the resume and cover letter are discarded into a black hole and never make it to the hiring manager’s desk. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.
The job boards don’t cater to their users, why should we care?
In addition to the mental anguish brought on millions of jobseekers over the years, this practice also has high economic costs for everyone involved. The average cost to hire a new employee was $4,129 in 2016. Job seekers spend about 11 hours a week searching for jobs. With the average workweek coming in at 38.7 hours in 2015, that is a significant chunk of time that equates to productivity losses and lower bottom lines for companies.
This is no trivial problem, the demand for better job boards is out there. Now is the time to demand better service.