Paul Forster, CEO of Indeed.com, was recently interviewed in a podcast and had some interesting things to say about their business, the Indeed job search engine, and the current environment for employers and job seekers. One of the questions posed to Paul centered around Indeed being inundated with garbage job listings including scam listings, spam jobs, work-at-home scams, and phishing/identity theft jobs. At first, Paul didn’t answer that part of a 2-part question, but he did later on in the interview which I commend him highly for. Paul responded to the question as follows:
“[bogus jobs] are something that we take very, very seriously. We take steps to remove jobs and sources of jobs that are low quality. We have a lot of aspects to our search algorithms that are designed to do exactly that. It’s a constant challenge. To some extent it’s a cat and mouse game because people are going to put up jobs that are low quality. That’s inevitable. Just on the web not everything is going to be good quality.
But we believe Indeed is better than the alternative services for actually filtering and getting rid of those low quality job listings. We try to be as responsive as possible to feedback so when people email us or contact us and say, look, this job source is not good quality or their’s spam in there, or some sort of phishing kinds of things that you occasionally see, we make sure to respond as quickly as we can to remove that kind of content. I think it’s a very good question and something that is a priority for us.”
Again, I applaud Paul for addressing the issue and being open and honest about what is unquestionably a huge problem for Indeed. Because they aggregate the vast majority of their job listings from other job boards that have all these ‘bogus’ jobs in them, Indeed’s service is plagued by those same garbage listings.
Having said that, I take issue with two of the points Paul makes. The first is that if Indeed were truly serious about addressing the issue of spam jobs, phishing jobs, work-at-home scams, etc., they could easily refuse to accept job feeds from any job board that delivered such jobs. That would eliminate the problem immediately and create a far better service for legitimate employers and job seekers alike. Of course, that would also eliminate almost all of Indeed’s revenue which is generated from job boards such as Monster, Careerbuilder, TheLadders, etc. that pay Indeed for the traffic Indeed delivers to their site.
Unfortunately like most job boards, especially in the current environment, it’s near impossible for Indeed to be serious about placing the job seeker and the quality of their user experience ahead of revenue. It’s especially difficult for Indeed, because their customers are not actually job seekers or employers but rather the job boards whose jobs Indeed publishes. These job board customers are the ones that pay Indeed for the traffic Indeed delivers to their sites. Indeed’s concern about quality job listings is genuine only to the extent that it impacts their ability to deliver and monetize the job seeker traffic that they send to their customers – the job boards that publish their job listings, bogus ones included, on Indeed.
The second issue I have is that Indeed is better than the alternatives in filtering out these ‘bogus’ jobs. Indeed may or may not be better than Simplyhired at filtering out garbage listings, but neither job search engine compares to LinkUp which ONLY indexes job listings from company websites. Because LinkUp does not publish jobs from other job boards, there are no scam jobs, phishing jobs, spam jobs, work-at-home scams, or ‘bogus’ jobs. Almost as important, there are no duplicate listings on LinkUp because our job search engine only aggregates jobs from a single source – the employer’s corporate career portal on their company website.
Those two factors, combined with a bunch of unique and sophisticated features that create an unparalleled user experience, are the reasons why LinkUp is growing at a far faster rate than both Indeed and Simplyhired. I guess job seekers have found a better alternative than Indeed.