Yahoo! Looks for a New Job

Finally getting off the couch and putting on a tie, Yahoo! has gone out in search of work. Yahoo’s HotJobs recently added a new feature that indexes and retrieves job listings from across the internet. This could be great news for those frustrated with finding employment, and equally great news for corporate sites with job postings. Search engine optimization may become useful for more than standard marketing. So, let’s see how this service works.

Yahoo! used to only display HotJobs (hotjobs.yahoo.com) sponsored listings in their job searches. Job posters pay between $39 and $275 to put their openings on the site, depending on the job type and location. Only a few months ago, Yahoo! adjusted HotJobs’ search features to be more convenient. Originally, all the search controls were on one page; to change the search criteria, users had to perform a whole new search. Now the search engine is also indexing jobs all over the internet, which can be good news to a properly optimizing corporate site.

The new search simplifies how users change search criteria, allowing users to change certain properties without starting all over. A bar down the left side of the page has a number of links and information. The top links are really cool. They list all the search criteria you have used and let you undo any of them. Underneath, links let you choose to see postings from today, 7, 60, or 90 days ago, or ones from anytime. Below that, Yahoo! does a good job of listing your state followed by the major cities with job postings; next to the city is the number of jobs within it that matches your current criteria. Under that, you can control the jobs displayed based on category, type of hiring agency, experience required, and company.


Yahoo! Search Refinement

The top bar also allows a whole new search to be started quickly. There likely isn’t a better interface format; this one requires one clicks and little work to change most things. The interface makes job hunting much faster than many others.

Still, the site was limited to the database of employers that paid to appear. Other sites like Monster.com have more job hunting resources. So what could help fill Yahoo!’s job index and get people to use HotJobs?

Searching the web for job posting is great news for job hunters. When hunting online, I spent hours moving between job boards like Monster.com and individual corporate sites, applying everywhere I could think of and returning every couple days to see new postings. An omnipresent search tool takes a lot of the work out of hunting and staying updated on postings. Companies who list jobs on their corporate sites may also find this a pleasant change. It will draw more applicants than otherwise, and spending money on much needed search engine optimization could replace the need for sponsored placement ads.

In this search, Yahoo separates their sponsored listings from the web ones. As you would expect, the links which people have paid to post come first in the results page. The “Job Results from the Web” appears after all of the HotJobs posts, which can be on the first page or the 50th page depending on how many there are. There is no fast way to skip to the web results, but those paying for prime advertising space probably would be upset if there was.

After taking a look at the site, this new feature seems to be a beta. It’s not yet as developed as competitors, and there are a few bells and whistles missing. Lets take a look at the actual job postings for an example. First, here is a result from a HotJobs paid listing, and then one retrieved from the web:


HotJobs Paid Listing



Web Results Listing

Right away, you can notice a few differences. The spider that finds these jobs must not be fully developed yet as there are two major shortcomings here. First, there is obviously no description of any kind, so users will be clicking blindly for the most part. Second, the hiring company was often “Unspecified” during my searches, but after clicking on the posting there was an obvious hiring company. In the “unspecified” case above, the company was Clear Channel. Some lesser shortcomings are visible too. There is no way to save a job found on the web, but HotJobs can be saved. And unlike the paid listing where you can choose if the link opens in the original window or a popup, web results can only pop up.

These may be minor complaints, but a much larger problem at the moment is that Yahoo!’s index of web jobs is fairly limited compared to other job searches. During my experimentation, no links came up from Monster.com or Careerbuilder. Considering that these sites have giant job databases and appear prevalently on other search engines, Yahoo! must be intentionally avoiding adding leading competitors to their index. Corporate sites, small job boards, and government sites are all fair game for the search though.

For those who are job hunting, there are a few other search engines that do not have HotJobs’ current shortcomings. Chances are, this early stage of Yahoo!’s job search won’t last long. They will keep improving their search, taking hints from these other sites.

There are a few job search engines already. Since they don’t have local listing and paid services like HotJobs, they feel more liberty to index everything regarless of source. Some of them do better than Yahoo! in this regard, but they lack HotJobs features like resume posting.

The first site I took a look at was Indeed (indeed.com). As far as its index, the site says, “Indeed.com includes all the job listings from major job boards, newspapers, associations and company career pages.” Basically, they pull from anywhere they can, a total of 1000 unique sources. I did a search for software engineer in Florida for posts in the last 7 days, and it returned 7,000 results. This is a lot, more than any of the other job search engines. Apparently, Indeed groups duplicate job entries together, collapsing copies of recurring jobs into one post. Since it’s not counting duplicates, this is a huge result set.

Indeed uses the “what” and “where” boxes popularized by Google. It has Google ads. The whole interface seems very familiar. If Google wanted to compete with Yahoo! on job searches, they could basically buy this site and not change a thing.


Indeed Refinement and Results

The listings are rather minimal. They all include more description than Yahoo!’s and they don’t use annoying pop up windows. It would be nice to see more description though, since job hunting is easier with greater detail on the leads. One very nice feature about this site is that you can save a job hunt as an RSS feed; when new posting are added to Indeed’s database, you can easily stay up to date. The advanced search gives more keyword options, date posted options, and location.

WorkZoo (workzoo.com) is another job search. Again, on a user level it basically looks and works like Google Local, including Google ads. The site indexes from a wide variety of sources as well, prevalently large ones like Monster, but doesn’t seem as nearly as extensive as Indeed. The FAQ explain that they do filter out duplicate ads, but the site still only returned 320 jobs for the same software engineer search. This is the lowest score of any job search site. The site lets users search by keyword, location, date of ad, and distance from the location specified.


WorkZoo Result

If you are optimizing a website and want posted jobs to appear on WorkZoo, the site suggests you use LEAP (http://www.leaprss.org/). It is an RSS extension that shows meta data, and the LEAP website can help you create the feed. After building the feed, enter the URL on this page (list in WorkZoo). But be warned: as a form of spam protection, the site doesn’t use ads with titles all in caps.

Of course, I have saved the best job search engine for last.

Simply Hired (simplyhired.com) seems to be by far the best looking and most functional job search so far. It uses “keywords” and “location” instead of “what” and “where,” but it does not look like a Google knockoff. And like the previous two, it lets you track job searches by an RSS feed. It doesn’t have any Google ads (or any ads for that matter) like the others.

Its indexes look very balanced. WorkZoo shows results from only a few sources, and although Indeed indexes tons of sites, its top results were from many of the same sites (probably because there is such a large quantity of jobs on Monster and a few other sites). But the top results on Simply Hired are diverse listings from corporate sites and job boards everywhere.

Simply Hired has 1100 unique sources, so it and Indeed are pretty much a match. The same software engineer search from earlier returned 2200 jobs in this case. It has slightly more sources, though slightly fewer results for this one particular search. Battling closely, true test between Indeed and Simply Hired (and eventually Yahoo!) will be their ability to drill through job listings and present them in a helpful and meaningful way. 


Simply Hired Result

Personally, I think this job result is a lot more informative and easier to look at than any of the earlier ones. The other sites were too Google and too minimalist. This one includes more description, something you can’t do without when job hunting. Indeed and others skimped on this. The description also highlights keywords. You can see it found the listing on two sites, both linked clearly toward the bottom.

The buttons on the bottom are simple but nice. “Who do I know” appears to be a service to see how related you are to the company. “Job-a-friend” emails the posting to yourself or a buddy, and “apply now” obviously skips all the formalities and throws you onto an application form when available.

The greatest thing about the site is off to the right, the rate it area. Rating a job posting doesn’t rank it for other people, it saves the job posting for yourself. You keep your own database of jobs on this site, rather than having to bookmark every job posting you like, as you have to do on the other sites. Once saved, the site lets you add comments next to the job posting. This makes the website a true job portal, and it lets you track your applications and follow up on them very easily.

 
Simply Hired Search Refinement

The navigation is also similar to the improved Yahoo! in that it has many options on a sidebar to refine your search without beginning a new one. Just like Yahoo!, it shows how many jobs are in each category as well. I highly recommend Simply Hired for job hunters. And the site says it’s not even out of its beta stage yet.

As you’ve seen, these tools can be extraordinarily helpful for both those looking for new employment and those seeking new employees. With the trend being picked up by Yahoo!, it’s likely that it will only explode after HotJobs is more refined.

This will be great. Job hunters can use one web portal to job search everything available on the internet, rather than bouncing between many different and moderately helpful sites.

It’s also in the best interest of any actively hiring company to post their job openings in an easily spidered format on their corporate site. Posting in directories doesn’t hurt either. Any SEO would be well informed to keep this in mind when speaking of the advantages of optimization to clients. Proper optimization may become as effective in recruiting as paying for a Monster ad. Or you may even find new clients through these services.

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