In the April 2, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a manager says he’ll never post another job on Indeed.

Question

IndeedIndeed.com – what a joke! The first time we used Indeed was last year. We got scads of applications and scheduled four interviews. One candidate showed. The rest were all no-shows. Fortunately, we got really lucky and hired the one person who showed up. To be fair, for another job we scheduled four interviews and only one was a no-call, no-show.

The last time we used Indeed was for an accounting position. Again, we received scads of resumes (53) and reached out to 10 people for interviews. Only four accepted. We then scheduled and confirmed them. None showed up or bothered to call to cancel.

What interested me about your article (The Bogus-ness of Indeed.com) was that we had been attributing the no-call, no-show behavior to “Millennials,” but your article has caused me to think that it may also be a by-product of using an online job board. We stopped using Craigslist for the same reason.

This is the problem with job boards. They are completely anonymous with no accountability. As a result, their “applicants” are free to be flaky without recourse. This is the last time we will use Indeed.com. Do you think anything has changed since your 2014 article?

Nick’s Reply

Maybe we can all put our heads together. I’d like to know what members of this community conclude by analyzing Indeed’s marketing and Indeed’s claims about its “success rate” in filling jobs.

What’s up at Indeed?

Something big changed at Indeed.com since that 2014 article. Indeed’s revenues went from $434 million (2014) to $777 million (2015) to $1.229 billion (2016).

In its 2018 annual report, Indeed’s Japanese parent, Recruit Holdings Co., LTD., reported 2017 revenues of $1.976 billion attributed to Indeed.com.

That’s a 355% increase in revenues over three years. (Gosh! Do you think somebody in HR is spending a awful lot of money on Indeed?)

What did you say was Indeed’s success rate getting Indeed’s job applicants to show up for interviews?

Since it seems you actually hired one person across three jobs you posted on Indeed in the course of a year, I suppose that’s a 33% success rate, eh?

What do other readers make of the numbers?

Marketing, Indeed

In May 2017, Indeed published this on its company blog: REPORT: Indeed Delivers 65% of Hires and 72% of Interviews from Job Sites. The article includes statements like these:

  • “Indeed gets jobs for more people than all other sites combined”
  • “Indeed continues to deliver more hires than any other job site”
  • “According to SilkRoad, Indeed delivered 65% of all hires made in the United States from online sources in 2016, which represents a further widening of an already commanding lead”
  • “Indeed delivers 2X as many hires as all other top branded external sources”
  • “Indeed is responsible for 65% of all hires from job sites: effectively twice as many as all other online sources combined, and almost six times as many as second place Careerbuilder”

Who needs any other job board, website or even any employer’s own career page?

Aggregating, Indeed

Where do all those jobs that people get on Indeed really come from?

Here’s what we learn about Indeed on Wikipedia:

  • “The site aggregates job listings from thousands of websites, including job boards, staffing firms, associations, and company career pages.”
  • “As a single-topic search engine, it is also an example of vertical search.”

Indeed.com is a search engine that searches for just one thing, everywhere: job listings. Calling Indeed the source of 65% of all hires seems akin to calling Google the #1 source of all information because people use it to search all other websites.

The SilkRoad “Report”

The Indeed blog posting referred to above is actually about a “report” published by a company called SilkRoad: Sources of Hire 2017: Where the Candidate Journey Begins – Your Guide to Finding the Best Candidates. (That link will open the report in your browser, but you may download it from SilkRoad, which makes it freely available.)

The report claims to be a “quantitative survey” of more than “1,000 customers using SilkRoad’s applicant tracking system (SilkRoad Recruiting),” based on “15 Million Applicants, 392,00 Hires, 655,000 Interviews.” However, the survey, sampling, data gathering, and analysis methodology are not described.

The report tells us where employers found the people they hired. It breaks the “sources” of hires into two categories:

  • Internal Sources of Hire: employee and personal referrals, HR, a company’s own careers web page, and internal employee movement like promotions
  • External Sources of Hire: other job boards and online sources

Here’s how SilkRoad presents the numbers. Please pay attention.

  • 52% of hires are made via Internal Sources
  • 48% of hires are made via External Sources
  • 65% of External hires are attributed to Indeed

What SilkRoad never calculates for the reader is the percentage of all hires that are attributed to Indeed. It’s a simple calculation: 65% X 48% = 31% of all hires.

Every HR manager I know says that virtually all jobs are posted online to comply with equal opportunity hiring regulations. So I’d like to know what readers think: How can SilkRoad tease apart “Internal” and “External” Sources of hires?

What does it mean that “Indeed Delivers 65% of Hires… from Job Sites”?

According to comScore, Indeed.com was the #1 job site worldwide in 2018 based on total visits. Since Indeed “aggregates job listings from thousands of websites, including job boards, staffing firms, associations, and company career pages,” WTF are we really talking about? Is anyone impressed by that?

Take a quick look at the SilkRoad “report” and Indeed’s claims in its blog posting. What do you think it means?

Indeed at the CareerXroads

Going back to the turn of the century, my good buddies at CareerXroads — the first real job-board watchdog — conducted annual surveys of the Source of Hires at hundreds of companies. (Check this example.)

I eagerly read every one of the annual reports they issued. In over a decade, the results did not meaningfully change. Accounting for “internal” and “external” and “all” hires, every year all the major job boards in aggregate seemed to deliver only around 10% of all hires to companies surveyed.

But CareerXroads stopped conducting the survey. Here’s why: Tracking Source of Hire Is A Train Wreck. In its 2015 report, CXR said:

The quality of the data currently found within ALL ATSs [Applicant Tracking Systems] is still, and especially today, too ugly to use for effective decision making. Vendors who bolt on other solutions to cherry pick internet candidate movement collect equally flawed data. They [mostly] embarrass themselves with their hype over their claims to be measuring ‘best source of hire data’.

If the oldest job-board watchdog gives up on trying to suss out the “Source of Hires” after over a decade of trying, what’s up with SilkRoad’s conclusion that Indeed is the source of 65% of any kinds of hires?

What do you think?

Back to our hiring manager

I’d like to thank the manager who submitted this week’s question and commentary. Yours is one of the most compelling critiques of Indeed that I’ve seen from an employer. Thanks for sharing it. Even if you filled one out of three jobs you posted in Indeed, the stunning no-show rate may be the most interesting bit of data in your story. It seems to suggest that Indeed delivers drive-by job applications. (I agree with you — I wouldn’t blame Millennials.)

Members of this community continue to recount in detail their experiences with drive-by recruiters “soliciting” them via Indeed and other job boards.

I’ve contended for years that when employers post jobs on heavily trafficked job boards, all they’re doing is turning on a fire hose. Scads of people apply just because they can click a button. Indeed and its ilk teach people that job hunting is a crap shoot, a lottery, a numbers game, a mindless enterprise. Even if you win, you know that if you show up for an interview, you’ll probably lose. So why show up? (See Reductionist Recruiting: A short history of why you can’t get hired.)

This in turn leads those very employers to criticize the quality of America’s workers — they complain there’s a “talent shortage.” But when companies go dumpster diving for job candidates, they shouldn’t be surprised at what they (don’t) find.

What’s your take?

“Indeed delivers 65% of hires.” Yup? I know job seekers are frustrated with the likes of Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor (which is now owned by the same company that owns Indeed) — because you tell me right here on this forum.

But I’d love your take — your analysis — of the marketing information published by Indeed and SilkRoad and the other data described above. Do me a favor and run some of the numbers that are designed to make employers spend their billions of recruiting dollars on automated recruiting.

What does it all add up to? 65%? 31%? Of what? Nothing is going to change if we don’t figure it out and talk about it earnestly and loudly.

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60 Comments
  1. Indeed has definitely gone downhill. I can recall have to tell it to filter out “help wanted” in the “without” category in advanced search. Otherwise, it would actually show pictures of “help wanted” signs that some spotter spotted as a “job post”. Then there are the jobs that show up even if filtered out (or supposed to be filtered out) because the companies paid extra to have them sponsored.

    Also, it should be pointed out that I had, without any filters, about 1.2K jobs around me lately. After telling it no to sales, driving, staffing agencies, help wanted, and all jobs older than 15 days, I think it went down to about 180 jobs left.

    Yes, Indeed counts staffing and temp agencies, so if StaffCo or Manpower find a job, they count it was a “job found” even if it was the staffing/temp agency that posted the job instead of the employer.

    And Indeed has job ads for state government jobs too.

    • @Mongoose Lover: I’m still able to do advanced searches where you can enter words to exlude. At one point it seemed to have disappeared but I was able to find it again. Being able to exclude words in a search is essential (though you’ll still pull up too much garbage).

      • I said that I can use advance searches to exclude. What I said was that some things, like sponsored job ads, get a special “privilege” to bypass the filter and will show up anyway.

        So if I tell it to exclude “sales” but someone who has a sales job paid Indeed to have it sponsored, then it will show up in my search results anyway.

        • “Sponsored jobs.” Sheesh. So what does it mean that Indeed promotes that you can search for the right jobs using criteria you choose, but then it gives you OTHER jobs in the results. Other jobs that somebody paid to stick in your face and to intrude on your results.

          A few years ago I wrote an article about a similar money-making deal LinkedIn offered to job seekers. They could pay to make their profiles “pop up higher” on the results an employer got when it searched LinkedIn for suitable job candidates. I referred to this as “payola” — an old term used in radio to describe a bribe.

          https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/6547/linkedin-payola-selling-out-employers-and-job-hunters

  2. Indeed is great if you want to look busy and appear to be applying for jobs to please some requirement. It’s not much help if you’re actually hoping to get called into an interview for a job, much less hired.

    I think I’ve gotten only a handful of interviews from Indeed and NO offers from anything I applied for on there and I’ve been using them since fall 2014 and have applied for a couple hundred positions.

  3. At least to Indeed’s credit, they at least try and keep up the APPEARANCE of a legit job finding site, unlike places like Monster, which appear to be filled by the type of Indian guys that want to offer you “tech support” for your computer.

    • Sorry, typo, meant to say “type of guys like the Indian guys that want to offer you ‘tech support’ for your computer”

    • Years ago, Monster admitted, or was forced to admit, that their business model no longer was getting applicants and companies together in order to create a hire, but to sell advertising. And it apparently is stated as such in their terms of service, if you can stand to read all 43 pages of it.

      • This sounds like we need to stop doing Facebook and FaceTime and start doing face-to-face.

    • I received a call from a staffing agency you’ve all heard of. The call was from a guy working on permanent placements. The guy sends me a job opening at Monster.com.

      Let that sink in for a moment.

      Why can’t Monster source their own candidates from their own job board?

      • @Bob: I’ve wondered that myself. In Silicon Valley that used to be a test of any company, expressed rather bluntly: “Do they eat their own dog food?”

      • Just FYI, Monster.com is owned by Randstad Staffing. (if that happens to be the staffing agency, that may make sense)

  4. And I thought it was LinkedIn, which was THE job board, which filled everything….

    Last year, a small company, which I had though about for a while, happened to post a job, on both LinkedIn and Finn.no (the largest Norwegian job board, as I am Norwegian). As I happened to know the COO from before, I simply sent him an email, he asked for my resume, we interviewed.

    For other reasons than the company itself, I did not take the job, but If I had: Would LinkedIn or Finn really claim that they were the source for the hire? Even if it really was personal knowledge?

    • Karsten — Perhaps LinkedIn / Finn could be considered the source of the hire. Would you have known of the job without seeing it on-line? Would you have sent your resume to the COO “cold” or otherwise contacted him / her?*

      Job boards are good sources for research, for looking at job descriptions to guide the writing of resumes, to get a fair sense of what’s happening in certain career fields or certain geographic areas, to further search on LinkedIn for people to network and informational interview with.

      But as a general purpose, one size fits all means for applying to jobs, job boards don’t seem to measure up.

      For example, had you sent your resume (and / or application) in response to the job board’s advertised job opening, I imagine there was close to a 95% chance an ATS would have rejected you.

      * This is why networking + informational interviewing is such an effective job search methodology.

      • This company is so small that they probably do not have an ATS :)

        I would probably have cold called the COO anyway, it was only the last kick in the butt that they opened up. And, the ad was also on their own website, so you could as well argue that the source was http://www.thenameofthecompany.no.

    • @Karsten: No, it was CareerBuilder. Check this from a column I wrote in 2017:

      https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/11363/job-boards-lmao

      “A few years ago, while I was researching a story I wrote for PBS NewsHour (Is LinkedIn Cheating Employers and Job Seekers Alike?) a CareerBuilder spokesperson claimed the job board accounted for nearly 50% of all jobs filled by staffing and recruiting firms — but told me the study behind the numbers was not published.”

      50%. No evidence.

      Indeed’s claim of 65% comes from SilkRoad, which doesn’t explain (as any big survey does) its sampling and analysis methods. “SilkRoad said!”

      Gimme a break.

      There is a reason CB, Indeed and all other job boards do not report audited success rates. Guess what it is.

    • I came across a job description from Indeed, forwarded to me by a friend. But they left off the company name, yet it said it was in the same town where I live.

      The job description had a sentence with a very specific set of 3 words describing the companies products.

      I am in Manufacturing / Quality Ops and it struck me as unusual. So I highlighted these words, pasted to Google with the name of the town where I live. Up popped a company, and the exact same words in sequence were part of their “About Us” section of their website. Looking further, the entire sentence was exactly the same. In the job description was more of the same words.I knew it had to be them, their business was just too specialized.

      But the company had not listed the job on their Careers page. For management jobs that is not unusual if they want to replace someone. Turned out they weren’t, it was a legit opening and HR was too lazy to post it.

      Through LinkedIn, I found someone I worked with, who knew someone at that company. A couple of phone calls later my resume was in the hands of the employee, who sent it on. But they frown on employees sending it around HR to the hiring manager, so he followed protocol. It was rejected because it didn’t come through the Indeed and the staffing agency who created the Indeed job posting.

      3 day old fish if you ask me.

      What can I say, my friend and his contact were stunned.

      By then they had more than enough “candidates” so I wasn’t contacted or interviewed.

  5. It’s very interesting and helpful to hear (in this discussion) that sources like Indeed, CareerBuilder and ZipRecruiter account for very few actual job hires (in spite of their purported success rates). I also agree with Nick’s finding that a lot of “drive-by” recruiters are using these places to troll for resumes trying to find fitting candidates for companies’ openings (I’ve found that “fitting” here is more like “cramming a size 10 foot into a size 6 shoe”). I’ve heard from a lot of these “drive-by” recruiters lately, and very few interviews (or responses AT ALL) have come of them.

    Another sideline that this discussion hints on is the vetting (via ATS or otherwise) of the candidates these sites do come up with. There are at least a couple of places advertising on social media (particularly Facebook) that proclaim they can help tailor your resume to get past ATS, polish up your LinkedIn profile and otherwise “coach” you to get a job no matter what your failures in getting one are/were…in other words, helping you “get noticed” in places where hiring is seldom done on (and for high fees). Whole businesses, therefore, are created for doing what they should know will provide very little help to their clients.

    I guess there IS some value in looking at what these sites provide in the job descriptions, but the “requirements” they list seem almost impossible for anyone to meet. So it’s gotta be more about networking or otherwise getting a hiring manager to actually TALK to you that really gets you in there.

    • @Bob: I think you’re right. The “employment industry” has created a huge machine:

      * designed by database jockeys who know nothing about hiring and recruiting
      * funded by investors who don’t care whether jobs and workers are matched
      * paid for and supported by an HR profession that’s paid for everything BUT filling jobs with workers who are shown to be successful 1, 2, 3, 5 years out (HR never heard of “outcomes analysis”);
      * excused by federal bureaucrats who find it easier to blame workers for not having the right talent, than to address the structural problems of “the system”
      * ignored by the C-suite and board of directors because “HR’s job is icky – we want nothing to do with it”

      This machine does not work. Around it have sprouted associated industries that sell “how to beat the system” services.

      Garbage in, garbage out. Now consider how such a faulty system that in truth seems to deliver far fewer good hires and far fewer good jobs, produces revenue growth of 355% for its operators and an increase in stock price of 160% in 3 years.

      Such a deal.

  6. I am currently looking for a job in a social services field. I have been using Indeed because they actually post the most jobs from what looks to be direct employer posting for my career field. I weed out the old stuff. I have gotten the same response as when I apply on the employers career websites. I have had one interview from Indeed posting but the employer was flakey and its a no for me whether or not they ever even offer me the job. What I am noticing is everything is responded to via email. I get bulk thank you for applying emails from the employer and some say this posting may be for a future opening. Even to set up the interview, that company was emailing me and there were errors in the email so I knew this was not someone paying attention to what they were doing. Emailing a response from the employer shows how little the employer cares. I have an interview on Friday at a local hospital and someone from HR called to set up the interview but could not explain the job. She’s going to email me something about the job but I have not gotten it yet. I went to a job fair from this same local hospital through the state’s unemployment service and it was a train wreck because the employer was not going to interview anyone nor take resumes. The workers were there to make sure you applied via their online portal. They looked me up and said I had already applied and they would email the hiring manager to say I had been at the job fair. This really ticked me off, waste of time standing in a long line. And the state’s job service sent me a notice to attend because they were hiring for jobs in my profession. Yeah, right. A month later I hear from the HR lady for a position I applied for 3 weeks ago. The wait kills applicant’s desire or interest. I believe that this no show business is because applicants know they are just meat and that the employer doesn’t care. I am an older adult and the process is making me not care. And yes, I understand Nick’s information and how this online stuff goes against his ideas and why his ideas are better. I applied for something via LinkedIn and now some new Indeed service called Nexx (I think) has recruiters emailing me for insurance companies. They write a BS email saying they think my education would make me great for blank job, and it sounds so canned. I hit delete.

    • @Kathy:

      “Emailing a response from the employer shows how little the employer cares.”

      HR (“the employer”) cares that its automated process can quickly chew through so many job applicants that it can tell the board of directors that it processed X number of applicants last month to justify its budget and what it pays Indeed.

      HR does not get paid to fill jobs. Nor does Indeed. Both make more money when the employer AND the job seeker keep going back to Indeed to keep looking.

  7. Some organizations want the firehose of applicants… over and over agin.

    It’s not unusual for an organization to keep posting the same openings month after month.

    Recycling the same openings over and over is just as bad as no-show interview candidates.

    Nick,

    You should do an article on whether we’re in a candidate’s market right now. I have the major staffing firms telling me we’re in a candidate’s market with near zero unemployment for certain job specialties.

    • @Bob: All that matters is that the employment system corrals most job seekers and forces them to diddle keyboards, read and spit out keywords, and wait for ATSes to “find a match.”

      Here’s the really good news: This means you have virtually no competition. Everybody is in that corral, rolling digital dice to get a job. They are out of your way. The path is totally clear.

      If you GO AROUND and actually talk to people in and around a manager’s operation to get introduced to talk shop — you’ll find no competition.

      It doesn’t matter what kind of market anyone tells you this is. If you’re very good at the kind of work you do, or if you are capable of quickly figuring out how to help make a business more successful if they hire you, then you can get a great job at a company that needs you. Why? Because there are loads of good companies that always want to hire people who can help them make more profit and be more successful. (Profit can be defined in many ways.)

      Now please consider who’s telling you about the state of the market. Staffing firms? What are they? They are not employers. They don’t have work that needs doing. They don’t make or sell anything. They take a slice of what other companies pay workers — for doing what those companies’ HR departments and managers should be doing: recruiting and hiring good workers.

      Staffing firms suck value out of the economy, pay out of your pocket, and profit out of companies’ bottom lines. More here:
      https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/10569/consulting-cluster-fck-economy

      • @Nick, Let me ask everyone this question:

        When I found the opening at MIT, I downloaded the job description. MIT left the hiring manager’s name in the job description.

        Now, there’s a catch: The hiring manager left & his job at MIT is available as well. So, I now have two opening to apply to.

        I’ve found the old hiring manager on LinkedIn. He’s still working on something related to MIT.

        Is it appropriate to directly contact this guy on LinkedIn for assistance? Is there another option?

  8. Nick, like you I read every word of the (formerly) annual CareerXRoads reports on hiring. Consistently, referrals accounted for the lion’s share, while job boards only a small percentage. One of my favorite takeaways from a conference presentation by Gerry Crispin of CareerXRoads: “If you are a referred candidate, you have a 100% chance of getting an interview” (assuming you are qualified for the position); if you are a cold candidate, that number drops to maybe 5%–10%. So while a networking-based targeted search SEEMS like more effort and less direct, it is actually the most effective and efficient way to find a job.

    Please keep spreading the truth. Looking for a job is not much fun and a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be a black hole or a discouraging slog. It can be a series of interesting business conversations that ultimately lead to a new opportunity.

    • @Louise: Please look at the SilkRoad PowerPoint carefully. They admit that most jobs are filled via referrals, then quickly put that aside and churn up a 65% success rate from a slurry of “findings” whose source is undefined and for which the methodology is not explained.

      It’s not a survey or a report. It’s public relations in the service of marketing.

  9. Slightly off topic, but this was a fun LOL post on StinkedIn about companies not reading cover letters/applications, https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/activity:6514958279754551296/

    • @sighmaster: That was a hoot. Did you notice in the comments how all the HR people circled the wagons?

      • Yep, typical StinkedIn where it’s all sunshine/lollipops/rainbows in hiring land and if your version of reality is different then there’s something wrong with you, have a bad attitude, etc.

        I also saw someone comment that the job received nearly 700 applicants (StinkedIn has reinstated the # of applicants stat, albeit it’s only visible on the job preview pane), seems rather odd to me that a job would receive so many applicants during this time of “full employment”…

        • PS — who needs 700 applicants? Do you know the overhead cost of processing that many wrong applicants?? Sheesh!

    • Thanks for that, Sighmaster. I just went over there and had my way with them. Bill Freeto’s right: HR is circling the wagons. I think I broke a few wheels. :-) Please join in – it’s quite a discussion!

      • You were on quite a roll over thare at Linkedin, Nick!

      • I agree. It was a fun read. I don’t know if I broke any wheels, but I sure took a swipe at them with a fairly sharp ax!

        • @Stephen: OUCH!

          • @Nick: Was I too harsh? I thought I was pretty tame until one of them came back and told me to “stay in my lane.”

            • @Stephen: Harsh? Nah!!! We don’t need no stinkin’ lanes… and who made them a cop? ;-)

    • Yes, there was a comment that they got 670 applicants. That is 660 too many. After all, they need only one good candidate in the end. Which shows that its recruiting process is dysfunctional in the first place.

      Granted, a company cannot craft 669 tailored rejection letters, but that is a poor excuse. Because the need to have an ATS with automated letters is to put a bandage on a self-inflicted wound.

      • RE: “they need only one good candidate” — Ten bucks says even one isn’t needed and the job is fake. Chewy advertised a graphic designer job on StinkedIn where I watched the # of applicants stat creep up to nearly one hundred, three months later it appeared on Venturefizz (which is Fake Jobs Central).

  10. Nick,

    Indeed is a scam. It is completely worthless like zipRecruiter, Career Builder, and the first job board Monster.com. I remember desperately trying to change careers. I would visit these job boards, and I kid you not, I would see the same contract jobs posted on ALL of these boards. They would disappear for a few days, then return to the sites. What a complete waste because I have never found a job, ever on these boards. I only know one woman who found a job on Indeed, and that was over ten years ago.

  11. I gave up on all of them. Removed all the apps, including indeed, LinkedIn jobs and Glassdoor. Insanity.
    All the notifications drove me nuts bc it was the same crap jobs over and over.

  12. I view Indeed as more of a job scraper pulling in from other sources rather than a board where every listing is actually posted by a company. After sites like Monster and CareerBuilder went down the crapper and became totally worthless and unusable, Indeed was a fallback.

    On the one hand, it’s useful to see what’s out there. On the other, it’s discouraging because it just highlights that there aren’t good jobs or companies. I really find little to nothing of interest. So one might say, “Freeto, this just shows that you shouldn’t bother looking online, even on occasion.” The bigger problem is that when I read the industry press, I see few if any signs of human intelligence anywhere. It would be one thing to identify a company that I respect and is on top its game, and then pursue that company, trying to go around HR.

    • @Bill: Indeed brags that after scraping all the other job boards, it fills more jobs than they do. Duh. What’s Indeed going to do when it puts all the sacks of blood it sucks out of business? This is a business model to watch…

    • One of the good things about Indeed is that, unlike on some job sites (often employer sites, sad to say) where you have to go through third party ATSs that make you fill out all of this stupid unnecessary data, Indeed.com is one-click.

      I actually know that Indeed.com is likely to get my resume buried in a flood of other resumes, but, on the flip side, I also know that many Indeed.com ads that lead to “Apply on company site”, if you go there, you’re dealing with Taleo or some other stupid timewasting application.

      If I thought that I had a strong chance of getting the job (not just an interview but the job itself), I’d put myself through the 1-2 hour application, but otherwise, it seems better to try the one-click thing so that there’s a slim chance I might get called but I’m not out 1-2 hours of my life like I’d be at a company site if I don’t even get so much as an interview.

      I don’t like having to put in every employer and all of their info (the information is already on the dang resume that you required!), put in a list of references complete with email address and/or phone number (even for menial level jobs), sometimes seeing questions about job gaps, sometimes seeing questions about salary requirement, loads of demographic questions that the government mandates (how does Indeed get around that?), personality tests, and sometimes even fake optional (they’re “optional” but when I decline them, I get an email telling me the application won’t fully go through until I complete them) third party surveys about TANF, food stamps, or whatnot. And, on top of that all, I often have to create accounts with this ATSs or whatever they are just for the privilege of filling out the application. And, at the end of it all, I still may not even get so much as a view from an employer.

      I could do all of that for ages, or I could do it in about 20 seconds on Indeed and likely get, at worst, slightly less than the same result as doing it on the company site. Which option do you think I’d do, especially if applying for more than one job that might be a good fit?

  13. The only ones who are happy are Indeed’s shareholders. They’re getting a great return on their investment, especially with those numbers. Jobs aren’t filled, job hunters aren’t matched, but employers are stupid. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing time after time yet expecting different results? Indeed is successful (for its shareholders) because employers are lazy–they’ve outsourced hiring to someone else instead of doing it themselves. They plow a lot money into these sites, then complain about the talent shortage, or that people don’t show up for interviews. But how many fake jobs are posted on these sites? How many fake jobs do employer HR departments post on their own websites?

    It is completely discouraging to be pushed to websites and portals so the computer can decide whether I’m worthy of being interviewed, then to hear managers and owners complain that they can’t find anyone. HR gets away with this because the C-Suite lets them. Some managers have no power, and I’ve learned to walk away from those.

    Like Kathy, I’ve been pushed to HR personnel, who couldn’t tell me the first thing about the job, let alone the last, but they’re doing the screenings and making decisions about who gets interviewed. I even had one employer tell me to apply through Indeed or Career Builder. I thanked him and walked away.

  14. I suspect the major source of Indeed’s revenue is not from HR advertising; it is selling data. They have a huge database of resumes and companies. They can extract income and other demographics. It is an advertisers paradise. The fake jobs are there just to register resumes/suckers for ads that will pop up all over the internet.

    • @Ricardo: SHHHHH! Wait till we sell our stock, THEN let the cat out of the bag! :-)

  15. I was unemployed for 8 months then landed a job that isn’t great so I continue to look. What I found was this.

    All of the internet job boards are all the same. Some jobs are light openings, which landed me some interviews but here is the problem. These employers often interview you when you don’t meet 100% of their requirements. Which sets up the applicant for the dreaded rejection letter.

    I have found almost all temp agencies are worthless and don’t really have openings but post they do to stock pile resumes for future use. Getting hired is getting harder and harder because employers are expecting the unicorn in applicants that meets every one of their requirements.

    Getting an offer is like winning the lotto. It’s always someone else that gets the offer and not you. And the worst part is you sit down and do an honest assessment of yourself and only apply at jobs you feel fit your skills and experience. Only to receive rejection email after another. Who are these phantom applicants getting the offers? And most of the time I see the same job I interviewed for reposted because the chosen candidate washed out.

    • @Brian: It’s a numbers game and the numbers cut both ways. When inordinate numbers of people apply it really is a lottery. And the explanation about why the n-th person wins the lottery is the same explanation for why you are rejected and why someone else gets the offer: There is no explanation. That’s why the job you landed isn’t great. The employer hired the wrong person from too many.

      There is no integrity in the system.

      The answer is to reject the system.

    • Are you me? I could have posted the exact same thing. I think about half of my interviews were completely pointless because they weren’t seriously considering me for the position. I was just meat in the room so they could say they conducted a real search.

      I also see employers repeatedly posting the same jobs. In this metro area of 5+ million people with a dozen colleges and universities, if you can’t find the skill set you want, your expectations are unrealistic.

      It’s crazy because a LOT of skilled, congenial people who are *eager* to work are languishing. Instead of putting their energy and skills into activities that actually need doing, they’re doing HR’s data entry work by filling out ATS, for free.

    • @Brian: You ask, “who are these phantom applicants getting the offers?” I think there are two parts to that. First, your reference to “phantom” applicants and you seeing the same job posted again later does suggest instances of either fake job ads or cases where the person hired washes out.

      There’s also the question of who is getting initial responses, interviews, and offers, when so many other experienced, well qualified applicants get nothing at all. And I mean nothing. The people who are getting hired aren’t phantoms.

      The key here is to recocognize which category of applicants are systematically discriminated against, and which category(-ies) are given privileges and preferential treatment. HR is also controlled and dominated by a certain category, or demographic. Who do you think they are going to prefer, their own kind or those they believe to be their enemy?

  16. From a (small) staffing company’s perspective:

    Background: A year ago, I bought a small staffing company. We focus on light industrial and administrative positions, almost all temp-to-perm after 90 days, mostly for small companies that aren’t large enough to have an HR department. My philosophy is that, if we treat candidates right – find them a great job fast – we will be ultimately be doing the right thing by the employers. My team strives to get 2-4 interviews for every person within a week. Side note: people have been treated so poorly by staffing companies, it’s a big barrier for some people to want to work for us. We get it, but it does stink because we know we can be effective.

    Job boards: We don’t use them, although we’ve been dipping our toe into Facebook (lots of no shows, similar to the OP) and we’ve been making sure we are optimized with Google for Jobs. Most of our candidates are referrals (we have GREAT references). At the same time, we have to let people know we exist – often our job postings for companies we serve are the only postings that exist.

    Are there other thoughts from this wonderful group about *good* ways to get the word out? We are trying to do IRL things, like have a booth at the local Maxwell Street Day event. But I don’t want to exclude technology, either.

    • @Annette: You say that your firm is dealing mostly with “temp-to-perm” for “small companies that aren’t large enough to have an HR department.”

      I have a different perspective on why companies go the “temp-to-perm” route. It’s not because they lack an HR department. That would presuppose that the owners and hiring managers aren’t capable of using their own minds to judge applicants and need to (or want to) leave those important hiring decisions to HR.

      Rather, it’s that they don’t want to take a risk and have a full-time, permanent hire on their books, even if there is the usual probationary period.

      They want the benefit of an extended test drive with no risk to themselves. They are users. And when they do take somebody on permanently, does the employee get a raise from what they were getting after your cut, to what the client was paying you? I’ll bet not. If I’m correct in my assumption, the temp-to-perm arrangement also serves to allow employers to get people at lower salaries than they’d have to pay if they if they had done direct hire in the first place.

      I did the temp to perm thing once. Never again. It wasn’t because of the agency, but the employer.

      • @bill, interesting that you decide to make assumptions about my business rather than answer my question, but whatever. Let me give some more information, then I’d still love feedback on my original question.

        Companies work with us on the “temp to perm” route because A) they are small and generally they suck at hiring (Why would this be a surprise? This blog is replete with stories about how people don’t do recruiting well. My company is improving the hiring process, in part by treating the candidate well), and B) temp-to-perm allows a small company to pay for our recruiting assistance over time rather than a large dollar amount up front.

        In our area, wages are competitive and rising. Companies are not paying the employee less because my staffing company is paid for our services, just like anyone Nick places in his headhunting business doesn’t get paid less because Nick is paid.

        Oh, and it also happens quite frequently that someone decides they don’t like the job, so they ask us to find something else for them. Either side is capable of determining that it’s not a good match. I don’t have a breakout on whether it’s more often the employee or employer that causes someone leaves early and doesn’t get hired on – I’m a small shop myself.

        I get that you had a bad experience with a staffing agency – as I mentioned, we encounter it all the time.

        But I’d like to get back to my original question: what do people consider a *good* way to use technology to get the word out about openings? I’ve hated Indeed for years for all of the same reasons you list, but I don’t think the answer is cutting out all technology, either.

      • I once worked at a temp-to-hire position. I was supposed to be hired after 3-6 months. My boss wanted to start the process after 1.5 months, which I took as a good sign.

        Never happened by the time I quit at 9 months. Another guy there was going on a year of temp-to-hire when I quit.

        Everyday, the operations director complained in our morning meetings that his temp labor costs were killing his profits because he had to not only pay people but also the markup.

        When I had my exit interview, my supervisor said that he was told by corporate there would be *no* offers to anyone. He left shortly after I did.

        Ironically, given what staffing agencies charge, he could have hired me, given me a raise, and still reduced his bottom line cost for what he was paying for my services.

        The only way I will ever again consider temp-to-hire is if I’m in a need-to-pay-the-mortgage-to-avoid-eviction situation. And I will only do it long enough to find a permanent position.

  17. @Annette: I was speaking in general about other reasons companies go the temp-to-perm route, not about your business. And as I had said, the bad experience I had was due to the employer, not the agency. (4 months into it, the company announced they were shutting down the entire department at corporate and decentalizing the functions to regional offices. Somebody admitted to me that that had been their plan before I was brought in under the false pretense of temp-to-perm instead of straight temp. It ended up lasting 8 months, but you can guess how that looks in online resume management systems that have no provision for flagging a job as being temp or a set contract.)

    I suppose that where you try to get the word out could depend in some cases on the industry your clients are in, which could vary. More generally, what type of people are inclined to consider temp to perm? Younger people perhaps, including those right out of college or high school? The long-term unemployed and underemployed? They’ll tend to older, due to age discrimination. So where do you find them? If you’re getting anywhere close to achieving your goal of lining up 2-4 interviews so quickly, it sounds like you’re WAY ahead of other agencies and that sound like something you could promote.

  18. @annette So I am the small company that does not have an HR department, and we have learned over the years we must do temp to perm because as much as we like the person we hired during the interview process, 50% of the time, things don’t work out (you always have your best foot forward while you are first dating). If someone works by 6 months, we never fail to term them to permanent.

    Question not addressed above: How am I supposed to find qualified applicants for a position that may only come up once very 5 years while NOT using an agency? We don’t a website or career page or enough employees to network. The old fashion way was post your job opening in the newspaper. I thought Indeed/LinkedIn were the “new” newspapers. Seriously, how is a small company with a rare job opening with no HR department supposed to find qualified job applicants without the cost of going through an agency?

  19. For me, Indeed’s only value is as an aggregator. It brings to my attention opportunities that I might not have found on my own.

    I would never register with Indeed, or apply through them, or submit my resume to them, or use any of their services. That’s all bogus. I’m certainly not impressed by their statistics, which President Trump would call “total bullsh*t.”

    The first thing I do with a lead from Indeed is to go to the advertising company’s website, to see if the job still exists and was described accurately. From there I apply ATH techniques: Do I know anyone who works there? Can I get in to one of their events? What can I talk about in a ‘business meeting’ with them? Etc.

  20. I had multiple job offers immediately by applying through indeed. It could just be the hot job market where I live, but indeed was all I needed to get rolling right away in a new city.

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