Job searching then and now

Anyone who remembers the dot-bomb period, somewhere between 2001-03 remembers a time and online job search experience wrought with interstitials, pop-ups, pop-unders, “Whack-a-Mole” banners and “Make eBay Millions” postings. As an industry, anecdotal evidence even pointed to the selling of resumes and e-mail addresses to the most dubious of third parties.

All in the name of survival.

Will 2009 take us back to the future? Likely. Times are tough. Job board owners are talking about 25-40 percent decreases in postings. Stories of layoffs at boards big and small abound. And it’s only November. December should be worse. Wait, did I say should be? I meant will be.

As a result, the industry should once again prepare itself for what is sure to be a deep dive into the mud. Once the layoffs have hit their zenith, the money-at-all-costs mentality will creep in. My guess is this will include everything from AdSense all-over to Indeed backfill to data selling to SMS spam to the return of strategies seen above in paragraph one.

Hey, ya’ gotta do what ya’ gotta do, right? Maybe.

If job sites en mass jump to survival mode, it means job seekers’ desire to bypass such sites altogether only increases. The sins of 2002 helped lead to a candidate constituency making its way, more-and-more, directly to employer sites instead of destination sites. But does the industry really need more backlash from a seeker community more connected and intertwined than ever before? Oh, who cares? Right now really all that matters anyway.

For those who weather the storm with less-than-appealing strategies, my hope is that they jump out of bed with whatever got them there. Monster’s love of interstitials, even after the collapse, for example, has brought them to the place they are today where they’re forced to make some really tough decisions.

The good news? Historical flipside says a downturn will once again give berth to a better species. Keep in mind, 2003 and beyond gave us, JobCentral and Simply Hired. It spawned LinkedIn and gave rise to Craig. I expect 2010 to do the same. It’ll just kinda suck till then.