Job portals – it’s a common enough term but if you are still wondering what job portals are, you can think of them as a meeting ground for recruiters and job seekers. Also called career portals, job boards, or employment portals, they bridge the gap between recruiters and job seekers. Simple right? Yet both candidates and recruiters still find themselves looking for good fits. One reason is the selection of the right job portal.
How do job portals work?
Before you type “best place to find jobs near me” or something similar into the search bar, here’s a glance at how employment boards evolved and how they work.
Traditionally, job advertisements appeared in print media – primarily newspapers – and candidates applied via post sending printed – or even handwritten – resumes along with copies of certificates. Then came the era of employment agencies. These were little offices where recruiters collected resumes and physically matched them to jobs. Some even conducted a screening – or mock – interview to help both the recruiting company and the candidate.
With the advent of the digital era, some enterprising agencies took their business online and began asking candidates to upload resumes thus generating candidate databases which were then marketed to organizations for candidate selection. As the databases became voluminous, technology advanced, and security became a concern, candidate accounts were introduced and today almost every career portal has a candidate login and a recruiter login – with search criteria for both so that they can filter the best-suited jobs or ideal candidates.
While most portals offer the same filters, each is still distinct from the others. Let’s understand this with a hypothetical example.
Let’s say you are an engineering graduate and you’ve been trying to bootstrap your startup with little success. So you decide to apply for a job in Canada. The first step would be to Google a job portal in Canada and enter Canada – or a state or city in Canada – as the location filter along with the keyword engineer. Since you are a fresher – never having worked before – you’d likely enter 0 or 1 in the experience filter.
You’d expect to see a list of opportunities for engineers in Canada. But that’s not quite how it works. Assume Naukri places more emphasis on qualification rather than location. It may therefore show you jobs that match your qualification but not necessarily in Canada alone. Also, Naukri offers what is called a Naukri Featured Listing product that lets recruiters feature their posting at the top for a certain period. These may not necessarily be listings from Canada or even in the engineering industry – yet they’d appear at the top of your list.
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Similarly, let’s say TimesJobs places more emphasis on YoE (Years of Experience) – or a recruiter has asked for a certain YoE. The algorithm may therefore first filter on YoE which means that a job in Canada that matches your qualification may not be shown because you do not have the required experience – a missed opportunity. Also, once again, the paid plan comes into play. Of course, posts, where the experience required, is 0-3 years may still show up – but lower down on your list.
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What we are trying to emphasize here is that the search criteria and the algorithm used to filter results are different on different portals – and so the results may be different. The same applies to recruiters too.
Types of Job Portals
There is little if any formal categorization of job portals. Indeed, sites like Facebook are also being leveraged by both recruiters and candidates to search for jobs or candidates. However, there is a classification inherent in the way various platforms facilitate job search.
LinkedIn and Fivver for instance are portals for professionals – and the two are quite different despite belonging to the same general category. Upwork – which is also for professionals – is different from both LinkedIn and Fivver in terms of how it works.
Naukri.com, TimesJobs.com, and Monster.com are three of the most widely known – and used – job portals that truly have job listings posted by employers or corporates. And then there’s Indeed.com, which offers job listings from both corporates and startups. It has a detailed protocol letting you customize your application for selected jobs – including a cover letter. It is perhaps the most flexible of all job portals from a candidate’s perspective. Other popular portals include Flexjobs, JobsforHer, Angeljobs, and TheLadders.
As recruiters learn to use technology there is a specialization creeping in among employment portals though there may be no actual limitation on the types of jobs to be posted. For instance, you’ll find jobs suitable for experienced people wanting to apply for a managerial level post on TheLadders whereas AngelList mostly features startup jobs. FlexJobs offers remote positions for the most part and JobsforHer is all about women empowerment.
Also, worth mention here is the fact that recruiters too are specializing in certain industries and often maintain their own database where they store details about potential candidates. It may be possible to connect with such agencies through their website or an online directory like JustDial.
Selecting the Job Portal – What you should know
With that background, let’s go ahead and type in “best job portal website” or “which is the best job portal” into the Google Search bar. Now here’s what you should be looking out for before you randomly create accounts on every portal that pops up on the SERP.
Free vs. Paid
If you are a fresher or lower down on the proverbial ladder, you’re better off with free portals. These portals make their income by charging recruiters rather than candidates. As you progress in your career, your job profile becomes more specific and you might want to offer your service rather than apply for jobs. At this stage, you might consider taking a paid plan or moving to a website for professionals.
Before you sign up, you should research the portal thoroughly on social media and job review sites like Glassdoor where employees who have used the portal or worked at a company talk about their experience. Quora is another place where you can post questions about portals, organizations, and jobs for the public to answer. Check out the features of the portal and ask about the companies that post jobs there to see if it is suitable for the type of role you are contemplating.
Ease of Access
Even when you do create an account, navigate the portal a bit before you enter your details. Most portals will let you browse available jobs before you create your profile. Look through some of these and see if you find anything that is interesting, matches your skillset, the industry where you want to work, and so on. If you find quite a few, then you can go ahead and post your profile for recruiters to see. Most job portals now also have a mobile app to facilitate applying on the go. You can download the app and see how it works. Once you are sure that the portal is for you, go ahead and create your account.
Until not so long ago, Naukri.com, Mosnter.com, and TimesJobs.com were the biggest players. However, of late there has been some criticism of Naukri and TimesJobs – particularly that they push the sale of their paid plans intensively. You can visit social media sites like Facebook to find out what people are saying about the job portal you are contemplating. Just enter the name of the portal in the search bar and see what turns up.
Another way to judge if a portal is worth its salt is to read some of their blogs and see what advice they have to offer and whether it matches your views. Not only will you get a sense of the authority the site holds and whether it is suitable for you, but you may also get a few useful tips to help you in your job search. You’ll also understand the type of jobs generally posted on the job website.
And above all, before you begin intensely looking for that dream job, you should of course know exactly what you are looking for – you should have a career strategy or plan. Then go ahead and follow your star.
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