What Are Job Aggregators: Interview With Cornel Mueller (Part 2)

by Etienne Besson on 24 July 2012

in HR Tools,Interview,Recruitment

This is part 2 of my interview with Cornel Mueller, co-founder of the job search engine Jobagent. In this part we cover copyrights of job ads, the future of recruitment and whether Evenbase is trying to cut their losses?

Check out part 1 where we discussed what job aggregators and job search engines are and what makes them different from job boards.

Job boards must acquire customers and employers must write and publish job ads. Some might say that aggregators just steal what others have created. How well do you sleep at night?

The question of copyright and authorship of digital content is indeed a hot topic. However, can you imagine the owners of Google not sleeping well at night? Fact is that we’re only collecting and structuring what is freely available in the internet – pretty much how Google is doing it but on a much smaller scale. In addition, our own job aggregator jobagent.ch does not use job ads posted on job boards, so we are not “stealing” job ads from our competitors.

Neither are we stealing intellectual property of employers. In fact, we are doing the employers a huge favor. We make the job ads they post on their website available to a much larger audience – for free! After all, employers want their job ads to be found and read and that’s exactly what our job aggregator does: route traffic to the job ads on company websites. Besides, a lot of customers, employers and recruiters simply copy or adapt job ads they find on the internet instead of writing a new one. So, there isn’t much original content out there to start with, is there?!

In your opinion, what will be the biggest change for recruitment in the next 3-5 years?

I’m convinced that there will be several changes in recruitment in the next few years. Not only will job boards more and more disappear from the market but also the whole recruitment process will fundamentally change for job seekers as well as for employers.

a) The development in the job market in the US has shown clearly that job boards are becoming obsolescent and squeezed out of the market by job aggregators. Job seekers will favor the qualitatively and quantitatively stronger job aggregators over job boards. In the US this change has already taken place: Of the five top job sites there are four job aggregators (e.g. Indeed, Careerbuilder) but only one job board (Monster).

However, this change is not only due to the new requirements job seekers pose to a job site but also to a change in focus on the employers side. In the near future, the goal of employers won’t simply be to attract great number of candidates but also to present themselves to candidates in the best possible way. This cannot happen through a job board that only publishes the employer’s job ads. Candidates need to be lead to the company’s recruitment website where all the important information about the company is located. This is exactly where job aggregators bring a distinct advantage since they bring traffic (i.e. candidates) to company websites.

b) Nowadays, the application process seems to be getting more complicated instead of becoming simpler. Instead of simply mailing out their CVs, candidates are kept busy filling out long and repetitive application forms. In order to disgruntle potential employees, employers as well as recruitment agencies will have to redesign their application process and create a simple, fast and effective way for candidates to apply.

c) New recruitment strategies and tools will be developed by and for recruiters. On one hand do regular job ads on job boards or on company websites many times not suffice to find an adequate number of good candidates for a job opening, especially for highly skilled employees. On the other hand, do they produce extravagant numbers of candidates for a single job opening that swamp the recruiters. Therefore, recruiters sooner or later will have to change their approach to recruiting and start playing a more active role (e.g. contacting candidates directly through social networks, CV pools, etc.). In addition, there is a need for smarter tools for finding potential candidates as well as for a smart pre-selection of candidates that will facilitate the recruitment process.

If you feel like playing the SWOT game, what are for aggregators the main:

  • Strength: quality (especially in the case of semantic job search engines) & Quantity (ALL job ads)
  • Weakness: level of familiarity depends on business model
  • Opportunity: Decline in prices and margins (price for a job ad in the 90ies: ca. 5’000 CHF, in the 2000s: ca. 500 CHF, in the mid 2010s: ca. 50 CHF on job aggregators) and related cannibalization of job boards through job aggregators
  • Threat: Google producing their own job aggregator

Bonus Question: Evenbase, who also owns job boards like jobsite.co.uk, recently bought the Italian aggregator Jobrapido. Assuming that job boards and aggregators are competitors, isn’t it a bit too disruptive to add Jobrapido to their portfolio? Or is it a sign that job boards are going down and Evenbase are getting ready to cut their losses?

Evenbase is most likely observing job market trends in the US where job search engines (and aggregators) overtook the leading positions in the online job market. Buying a big job aggregator like Jobrapido might be a sign that they think of replacing their job board with a job aggregator or at least complement it with job ads through an aggregator.

Thank you Cornel for this fascinating interview!


Cornel Mueller (@jobagent) is the co-founder of X28, the company that created and runs Switzerland’s biggest job search engine jobagent.ch.

Furthermore, Cornel will also be present at the very first HR TweetUp Zurich Tuesday, 24 July 2012 (event to be held in German).


Here’s part 1 of the interview with Cornel Mueller in case you missed it.

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