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Jobseekers Swipe Right

By June 9, 2016No Comments

There’s been a lot of interesting stuff shared by commentators from our recruitment community this week but something that really stood out for me was the article shared by Mark Sumner revealing SEEK’s large investment in the so-called “Tinder for Jobs” app Switch.

Just like the prefix “Uber for…” denotes something with the potential to radically disrupt (but rarely actually does), so the prefix “Tinder for…” seems to denote something that strips back communication to a super-simple, swipe left or right kind of interface.

I remember connecting with a guy on LinkedIn last year in New Zealand who was trying to build the same kind of thing.  I looked him up and he had never been in recruitment before, I think he used to sell carpets, so I couldn’t muster up too much enthusiasm for his venture.  In some ways, the same could be said of Switch, who’s founder and CEO Yarden Tadmoor also has no background in recruitment.  But this stance loses it’s footing somewhat when you consider he has already sold past businesses to AOL and Yahoo.

But really, it is the sizable investment by SEEK that means we should pay attention to this.

SEEK in recent years have lifted themselves from a kind of market-dominant complacency to making several savvy investments and acquisitions to grow their global influence and presence in the fast-evolving jobs market.  Nowadays they seem to be rather good at identifying trends and opportunities.  Really, this app is nothing more than a job board.  It’s just that jobseekers move their thumb left and right rather than up and down to look at jobs.  It’s probably the immediacy, and the intimacy, of how recruiters and jobseekers can connect and communicate that interests SEEK.

The clever part might be “Switch’s intuitive mobile experience enabled by its algorithmic approach…” but I still remain dubious when technologies purporting to shake up recruitment cling to the power of their “algorithms” to validate their claims.  Often these algorithms exist to strengthen a company’s IP, ward off potential copy-cats, and make it easier to raise $4m from companies like SEEK.

At least in this instance the algorithms exist to put the right kind of jobs in front of the right kind of jobseeker, which seems plausible.  Let’s not forget though, how bad LinkedIn still is at doing this, and even SEEK themselves who tried to get clever with their Job Seeker profiles but then realised they were better off just opening it all up to let recruiters search everything, with Premium Talent Search.

This is not going to be an app to replace recruiters.  The recruiter is still an integral part of this process.  It’s just another channel, or job board, to put jobseekers together with recruiters.  It’s third party recruiters, in traditional recruitment agencies, who will likely (as usual) be the most at-risk segment of the recruitment industry, with the easy-to-miss comment:

“Switch is also beta testing a cost per hire model, with companies taking no risk and only paying a flat fee when they make an actual hire, similar to the model of recruiting agencies, but at a fraction of the cost.”

Should agency recruiters be concerned at these plans?  It’s worth remembering that the same fears arose with LinkedIn, until we realised that it was just another tool in the hands of recruiters who were more active, agile and responsive than most of their corporate counterparts.  As long as agencies will be able to post jobs onto Switch too, then it wouldn’t surprise me if the same thing happened again.

SEEK have also made a (far, far smaller!) investment in the NZ recruitment community by supporting the upcoming #RicePowWow on 23rd June, with a pretty awesome prize up for grabs for those of you engaged with Premium Talent Search.  We have a small amount of room left still, RSVP here to get involved.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.