Tread Carefully

Tread Carefully

As you may know, one of the things my company does is publish print guides to job boards. By our count, there are at least 50,000 of these sites now operating in the U.S. That, however, was before the economy went south.

I guess it was inevitable, but with millions of Americans now looking for work, I’ve seen an explosion of individuals and companies getting into the job board business. The watchword for both recruiters and job seekers, therefore, is tread carefully.

Some of these sites are being launched by reputable organizations and entrepreneurs who know what they’re doing. Unfortunately, some of them—and I believe it’s a growing number—aren’t just clueless, they’re dangerous.

How so?

For job seekers, they will sell your name and contact information (found on your resume or application) to marketers who pester you with products you don’t want or to identity thieves who will pretend to be a legitimate employer and ask for your social security number so they can hire you.

For recruiters, they will take your money and not deliver the service they promised or the quality support you deserve. And all too often, they will cash your check and then, lacking a sound business model, promptly go out of business, putting you on the hot seat and your own job security at risk.

So, what should you do?

Before you use a job board, look to see if it’s displaying the Member icon of the International Association of Employment Web Sites. It’s the trade organization of the global online employment services industry. (In the interest of full disclosure, I founded the association five years ago.)

How can it help you? It has a Code of Ethics to which its members must adhere. It’s not perfect, but it’s the closest thing you’ll find to a Good Housekeeping seal of approval among job boards. The Code is published on the association’s site for all to see as is a list of its member organizations.

Oh, and for all those naysayers out there who doubt the effectiveness of job boards, we’ve been polling job seekers on the best tool for finding a job since 1966. Last year, over 2,000 people took our poll, and when we asked them how they found their last job, job boards were ranked the #1 source and four times better than the next most effective source—a tip from a friend. That doesn’t mean you should ignore other methods of searching for a job, but it does mean you will sell yourself short if you ignore job boards, especially those that are members of the International Association of Employment Web Sites.

Thanks for reading,