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What does Google for Jobs mean for recruitment

30th October 2017

In May 2017 at the annual Google I/O developer conference, Google CEO Sundar Pichai made an announcement that is set to shake up the recruitment world. He announced the launch of Google for Jobs, an initiative that aims to use Google’s search and machine learning expertise to make searching for jobs more efficient.

Since then we’ve seen Google for Jobs rolled out in the US, with other countries expected to follow. Although we’re yet to get an official confirmation, it seems likely that it will come to the UK at some point.

Whether you’re an employer or a candidate, a UK launch of Google for Jobs will impact your role in the recruitment process. Getting your head around it now, ahead of any potential UK launch, will provide you with a head start on the competition.

What problem is Google for Jobs trying to solve?

The job market is experiencing a disconnect — employers are facing talent shortages whilst job seekers are struggling to find openings. For some job roles this disconnect is undoubtedly down to a lack of qualified candidates, but for others it is simply a function of how difficult it can be to search for jobs.

The reality is that many candidates experience serious difficulties in finding jobs that are suitable for them — they know that suitable jobs are out there, but they have a tough time actually tracking them down. This difficulty stems from an inconsistency in how jobs are described across industries — the same job can be labelled with a variety of different names. When a candidate searches for a job using one specific title, they’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg — most suitable jobs simply won’t appear in the search results.

Although the level of inconsistency varies across industries (retail and hospitality are particularly troublesome), the net result is a big problem — Google says that 45% of employers in the US face talent shortages and struggle to fill open positions with the right candidate.

How is Google solving the problem?

The short answer is that Google is looking to use machine learning (algorithms that learn and improve over time) to better understand both the jobs that are available and the needs of each individual candidate. With this better understanding, they hope to be better placed to match employers and candidates effectively.

Google are achieving this by introducing new functionality within the familiar Google search engine to recognise job-related searches and pull relevant jobs from job sites and internal job boards. Google has partnered with a long list of large job sites in the US, working alongside them to build Google for Jobs into an effective tool. They’ve also told individual employers how to add structured data to their job boards so that their job listings come up in the Google for Jobs results.

The underlying functionality of Google for Jobs is built around a consistent taxonomy of jobs that groups similar jobs roles into families of jobs. As the algorithm learns over time, it becomes better and better at recognising that two jobs with different titles are actually the same thing. The better it becomes, the more relevant results each candidate will see.

When a search is made, Google for Jobs deciphers the candidate’s search query, adjusting for industry jargon, abbreviations and spelling mistakes. It then compares the query to job descriptions, not just job titles — it uses the taxonomy of jobs mentioned above to find all the roles that match the query. After the results are delivered they can be filtered based on commute time (using Google Maps) and other important factors.

Google’s hope is that the search results will be comprehensive, showing the candidate every available job that is relevant to them (whilst excluding irrelevant jobs). They hope that it will remove the need to search various job sites or employer job boards individually, reducing the time cost for candidates and making the whole process less frustrating. Early tests (using the API which allows companies to implement Google for Jobs within their own websites) have shown significant gains in the rate at which roles are filled. If a candidate has fewer barriers to finding suitable jobs, job positions are likely to be filled more quickly — there’s simply less frustration and procrastination.

What does this mean for recruiters?

If Google for Jobs is launched in the UK, it will provide a new way for candidates to search for jobs. You can expect recruiters to make the most of the opportunity, ensuring that their jobs are listed in the Google for Jobs results.

The improved search experience is likely to bring candidates and recruiters together more efficiently — candidates will know that the results they see are tailored based on their skills and experience. Once the candidate and recruiter are brought together, the magic will continue to happen in just the same way — expert recruiters will determine whether a candidate is correct for a role by considering a multitude of different factors.

At Arthur we pride ourselves on our ability to find candidates that are a fit both for specific job roles and for an employer’s values, goals and company culture. We make use of our contacts in the market to speed up the process and provide candidates with advice and support. Whether you’re a candidate looking for a job or an employer looking to fill a role, we’re always available to chat.

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