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Simon Devitt

Hi Matt

Good points well made. Always doubted the use of these response stats however continuing to increase the tranparency of data does help honest sites and hinder the more creative with figures. On the consultantion front my experience at ABCe was that they were always crying out for more input from clients and agencies so I assume they would welcome your and others views since these standards are likely to continue to evolve. If they have got them wrong they will want to know.


Alastair Cartwright

Hey Matt,

Measuring the quality of applications is certainly the Holy Grail. Not sure 'as an industry' we will be able to get there.

My guess is the job boards themselves wanted their application data to be audited. Let's hope this was based on conversations they had with their clients.

I am sure you and your clients are privy to lots of interesting and useful data.

Maybe you should consult your clients and go to ABCE with an alternative (better) proposal. Rather than wait to be approached.

You guys are quick to criticise this kind of initiative, but rarely do we hear you come up with any recommendations of your own.

john whitehurst

the reason the agencies were not involved - is because they did not get involved ...

not much more can be said ...


Quick to criticise....did not get involved? Thanks for the feedback. In reverse order......difficult to get involved when you don't know something is happening but my thanks to Mr Devitt to pointing out that there is an opportunity for genuine feedback, happy to join the debate and to reiterate...thanks must go to ABCE for putting this on the agenda in the first place!

Quick to criticise? Not really, just not prepared to accept meaningless press releases. This is a multi million pound industry and quite frankly someone has to provoke some kind of debate on what's going on.....it looks like I have!


I think perhaps, Mr Cartwright, that it is you choosing not listening.

Evaluating quality would be great - but with worryingly few clients truly tracking applications effectively enough to even know this themselves then that's gotta be a good few years off.

ABCe wants to help the job board evaluator? - pressure job boards to get their CV and jobs-by-email databases audited. That, for my money, would give me a dependable and truthful reflection of the sites' real usership. Far more robust than information "collected via an online questionnaire... [that] shows the quality of a site’s audience" - which I will continue to question the relevance of over and above mild interest.

If I recall correctly I believe a number of us contributing to this blog sat in a room just off Fleet Street in 2003 and told both you, Alistair, and an ABCe rep that this was what was needed. Still, was a long time ago.

And why don't Job boards get that data audited? It’s been put to me before that this is because any auditing at all potentially leaves them open to being spun against - and surely nothing is more sensitive than quality of their database. Job boards also don't necessarily believe there is any commercial value in demonstrating the integrity of their database (direct from one of the horse's mouth that one) – disappointing, I’d pay for integrity (that and results of course). And I'm not confident that many do indeed practice / have always practiced database cleansing as rigorously as they might (or indeed are duty bound to by data protection laws) - certainly on a personal experiment conducted about 18months ago at least one or two didn't seem to.

So there you have it. I'll send an email to ABCe offering my input next time they want to chat about what people might really find of use when evaluating job boards (it is a bit of a niche sector after all), and I'm sure my DigitalRecruiting peers will do the same.

Let's hope there's a wind of change blowing that will at least see a reduction in the spin sweeping across even more places than just the Labour Government.


Interesting comment Alex, if I'm remembering rightly ABCE offered database auditing to Job Boards several years ago.....as yet no uptake it would seem...shame!


This is a really core and difficult issue and my only comment is that lets not forget that JobBoard Audits and Research are MARKETING paid for by individual sites or online industry. They are not about seeking absolute truth - they are about promoting using online (ideally those objectives dont conflict). Therefore by definition - we either need to fund research ourselves (virtually unheard of in recruitment advertising)using our own pooled data or convince the boards that they will get more business if they audit in a different way. At present, they clearly remain unconvinced.


Yes Dom good points it is about self promotion at the end of the day. Let's also not forget that unlike in the offline world where they are the top dog, ABCE have some serious competition in the online world. Not only that, in practise not having an ABCE audit means jack s**t if you are a job board, because you get the sales anyway if you deliver response and /or have a big enough sales team. Jobsite / Totaljobs have hardly been marginalised commercially by not being in ABCE or NORAS! It's that fact alone which makes me question why Monster and Fish4 bother! At the end of the day when you consider that auditing and / or things like NORAS gives you little commercial advantage (despite the self promotion)and that also none of it matters anyway when you start tracking results.....
a) Why bother
b) Why are we even bothering to argue about it anymore!!!!!

Simon Devitt

Interesting Matt

Whilst sites without the audit may claim not to lose sales. Certainly at fish4 when there were few other sale points being able to prove large traffic numbers with an ABCe audit vs other sites claims meant we won business. For fish4 to win someone else must have lost.

For you well informed advisers it's not so relevant or informative but for the less frequent buyers of recruitment an audit certainly gave more confidence.

It's worth arguing about because with higher standards the cheats are less plentiful and our industry as a whole is embraced even more quickly.

Of course results are most important but for in-frequent buyers in a fast changing market place quality assurance is important. Unless of course you think that all recruiters should only use your and your fellow intermediaries services!



Of course I do Simon! Fair enough though

Peter Gold


Well done on starting this one off; think I found a dummy on the floor though!

Whilst data is of course useful it doesn't really show the quality but even of a job board does deliver quality CV's the employer (not thinking of agencies now) does actually have to do something with it.

I get fed up of hearing the 'we are the biggest job boards' crap and certain sites courtesy of NORAS have an alternative claim to fame of yet more unproven worth (don't worry Alastair - I'm not saying it is crap just unproven).

Job boards do of course result in hires but most employers don't track this accurately and let's be honest, the boards don't really want them to as they can then be taken to task on actual cost-per-hire.

It is actually down to the individual employer to accurately measure which channels deliver and then make their decisions based on this; data is data but results are results. Until the employers do their job then no matter what stats are provided, the status quo will remain.

Simon Devitt

Peter one thing is for certain the status quos is not remaining. Things may not be changing as fast as many would like but they have changed and are changing.

I'm not sure why good jobboards would not embrace recruiters accurately measuring of cost per hire. A well run market leading site used by an inteligent recruiter would stack up very well against expensive talent management systems, recruitment consultants, newspapers, ......
You are right though a more analytical approach from the majority of recruiters would move the best solutions forward faster. It is difficult for jobboards to speed this up though. But what they can do is raise their own standards and prove this which is where quality assuarnce such as ABCe helps.



Coming from the sales side and having worked on 5 job sites I know how stats are played with. I've caught sales people out a number of times via ABCe and it's helped me leverage the right deals for my clients. Maybe the likes of BroadBean & iGrasp tracking through to hire could help us out in this area by dynamically ranking those with the most applies to job roles that could be categorised some how, therefore revealing a bit more about the average user applies to particular roles? Of course iGrasp can track through to hire and job posting tools can collaborate to do the the same so more information could be gleaned.

Joe Slavin

fish4Homes is now on a pay for performance model and I expect someday that fish4Jobs will be too.
When you align the customer's needs with your own, you have a perfect business model, end of story.
Happy to explore options with any interested parites.

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