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How to Research Job Sites in the Job Hunt

Job sites come in many flavours, shapes, and sizes. They changed the game for job seekers and recruiters when the technology first emerged to enable high volume job listings. Instant search and display. Too much of a good thing brings inevitable downsides. There will always be black holes in the universe. Job seekers now peer into the glass darkly looking for the volume control and wondering where their ‘dream job’ is. However, the vastness of the information on job sites provides a hidden source of value to job seekers other than specific vacancies. How can you research them to help with your job hunt?

Not all job sites are the same

Some job sites are dumping grounds for the bland, the vague and click bait. The good ones save time and personalise. They inform and empower job seekers. I’ve argued before that you have a better chance of landing the job you really want through networking and tapping into the unadvertised job market. Why? Using job boards can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s hard to stand out. You are at the mercy of the robots scanning for a match. However, you become a magnet instead of a needle when you attract employers towards you through targeted promotion of your personal brand. The real you is much more visible.

Research from Reviews.com shows the different nature and quality of job sites that have multiple purposes. For example:

  • LinkedIn has job posts, provides a vehicle for your personal brand, facilitates conversations through online groups, and is a blogging platform. The research puts it top for networking to help gain introductions, the first step to getting an internal referral. Also, it’s where the majority of recruiters find their best candidates.
  • Glassdoor provides company trends by industry, location and job title and anonymous employee feedback on their employers, as well as job vacancies. The research rates Glassdoor the top job site as it has the freshest daily posts and detailed company profiles so you can see if you’re a fit. It even has charts to see how reviewers rate companies over time.
  • Indeed is the most comprehensive aggregator of vacancies – “the Google of job sites” according to Reviews.com.

Researching job sites

What really gets you the job is all the metadata these sites provide…it’s more about the context and tools they give. Reviews.com

Online job search expert, Susan P Joyce, suggests that you read between the lines, so you can identify the employers you want to target and focus your information-gathering efforts. Job sites are rich with useful insights if you look at what the vacancies suggest. For example:

  • Company profiles
  • What companies are hiring, when and locations
  • Job roles within specific industries or sectors, including new job types and fastest growing jobs
  • Salary levels by job type and industry
  • Skills, mindsets, and attributes employers seek
  • Keywords to use in your job applications and online profiles
  • Who you know who already works there (and Alumni from your university through LinkedIn)
  • Clues to the company culture, including best places to work award winners and highest rated CEOs
  • Business priorities: What problems do the vacancies suggest need addressing? What issues are not being articulated where you have something to offer?

Landing the job you want involves multiple job search methods. Researching employers is an essential part of your job strategy if you want to make the leaps from an applicant to a candidate to being hired. Make smart interrogation of job sites part of your research plan, so you spend your time wisely and productively.

David Shindler

David Shindler

David Shindler is founder of the Employability Hub online learning centre, Director of Learning to Leap and widely respected in the industry as an employability expert. David understands the ‘soft’ skills, attitudes and behaviours needed by employers and can help people improve them to get the job they want.

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