I belong to the LinkedIn group PROS in Workforce and Economic Development, closed to industry professionals. I really enjoy some of the dynamic conversations and resources that are shared among members. However, once in a while it becomes painfully obvious to me how much of a divide there is between the work and understanding of many workforce development professionals and the work of Corporate America. It happened today when I received a digest email from the group with this question:

Working on a project to find the preferred web sites/resources that people use to search for jobs. What are your favorites or those that you recommend ??

What I found in the handful of answers was that many of my peers across the country dwell within the federal or state systems (one-stop shops) and don't often peek their heads out - however, to their credit they are beginning to use LinedIn. Besides one-stop shops, answers ranged from LinkedIn, Jobcentral national labor exchange, following Jim Stroud (rock on buddy-great advice for felons today!) and AARP WorkSearch, to DOL's Job Search Challenge where one must search through over 16,000 responses listing over 600 resources (slightly overwhelming?) many of which really could use a good weeding out.

The question was asked in earnest by someone conducting research for a Workforce Investment Board. I cringe at the fact that with the information he was provided, the government is actually going to receive feedback that the products they designate our dollars to are highly effective.... And so the vicious circle continues.

I could not help but to fight the good fight... and so I contributed this:

Whether true or not, the corporate perception is that state one-stop system and its job boards are for labor, blue collar and low paying jobs. Therefore, many employers of white collar and well compensated jobs do not use the system - they do not wish to attract what they would perceive to be unqualified candidates.

Other obstacles for employers are that state systems tend to be cumbersome (it could be compared to filling out a US Census American Community Survey) and not user friendly to post and market jobs, do not tie in with applicant tracking systems (ATS), and are not linked with social media sharing tools. Good recruiters have so many creative and effective free ways to make their job postings viral and wide reaching they prefer to use those tools.

Companies with slashed recruitment budgets are posting less and less on big job boards because of the cost and avalanche of untargeted, unqualified resumes that pour in from all over for any job due to the high amount of unemployed. When a company is not prepared to pay relocation costs it makes little sense and is not cost effective to conduct a national search on a big job board.

Our solution in northeastern PA was to create a free to post regional job board supported by chambers of commerce, business and industry and other economic and workforce development agencies, in 2004. The platform became outdated and it became time for a new look, updated functionality and features.

I took over project management from another organization and relaunched the new WorkNEPA last week. It is well branded in our region and employers and job seekers know to use it. From all indications since the relaunch last week, with the incorporation of web 2.0 and mobile features and functionality (now powered by Job Rooster), it will have more success than ever. Even the smallest employer now has access to free job posts that aggregate to Indeed, pre-qualifying questions, text SMS capability and social media sharing, to ensure jobs are promoted widely. We have a Facebook Fanpage and Twitter account that repost all jobs into the far reaches of cyber job search and also repost on the appropriate targeted LinkedIn local group job boards - all nicely indexed on search engines like Google.

I also recommend to job seekers that they use LinkUp - a job board aggregator that scrapes corporate career pages for jobs that are often unadvertised on external job boards. Additionally, when I speak to job seekers, whether it is at a local job club or networking event, I refer them to my own website for job search tips and techniques (OK so I self promoted a tad LOL).

I'm interested in knowing your take on government sponsored job boards. Whether you're a Recruiter of Job Seeker, do you use them, and if so, which ones and are you happy with the results?


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