Job Aggregators May Be Killing Your Candidate Experience

An Interview with Graham Thorton


If your recruitment strategy isn’t giving the results you need, it might be because job aggregators are killing your candidate experience. Even though job aggregators can sometimes be helpful, Graham Thornton, co-founder of Change State, offers a chilling warning: “recruiters beware.” When can job aggregators help, and when do they hurt? More importantly, what can you do to make sure you get the ebay results from your recruitment strategy?

Even the best recruitment efforts can deliver lackluster results, but Thornton is ready to help get your strategy off the ground and raking in top-notch candidates. In this episode, you will get an inside look at how aggregators create a winding maze for candidates to navigate that can leave top talent out in the cold, and gain tools for reaching and retaining the applicants you need.


Joyce Gioia returns on Ahead of the Curve: Normal 2.0 to examine how the hospitality industry is changing heading into the new normal.


Geeks Geezers Googlization in Amazon Music
Geeks Geezers Googlization on Spotify
Geeks Geezers Googlization on IHeart


[9:54] “Job aggregators have taken advantage of programmatic recruitment marketing to create a roundabout circle that negatively impacts the candidate experience.” 

[14:18] “You may have started looking for a retail sales job but by the time you get to the third or fourth job board or destination, you’re at a mechanical engineer role because the wires have gotten crossed!”

[14:49] “A mismanaged recruitment marketing plan can really be taken advantage of by job aggregators.”

[17:56] “If your company site is not one of the button options on a Google search, the likelihood is it’s going to a job aggregator.”

[19:15] “Data is worth a lot, and that is why these job boards are popping up.”

[27:57] “The smartest companies are the ones that recognize that consumers are the ones driving where we should go as a recruitment marketing firm.”

Podcast Notes

Show Notes

Finding the right candidate is a huge challenge for any employer. No one needs anything to make that process more difficult. However, by exploiting search engine mechanics, many job aggregators focus on making their profit over helping connect the right candidates to the best jobs.

Thankfully, these aggregators all work in similar ways, and Graham Thornton is ready to help employers dodge common pitfalls. Instead of letting negligent aggregators disrupt your candidate experience, Thornton shows how any employer can understand and beat job aggregators to find the best candidate.

The Problem with Job Aggregators [9:22]

Job aggregators have caused a major shift in how job openings are posted and filled. In the early days of job boards, candidates could quickly connect directly with companies. Job aggregators, however, get candidates stuck in a circle as they pull postings from all over the Internet.

To get a taste of this, just go to Google and run a search for “retail sales associate jobs.” The Google for Jobs part of the search page will feature results from a variety of online job boards and job aggregators, which are in turn getting their postings from different websites and other sources.

What does this mean for employers? You need to pay attention to what happens to your posting after you post it, wherever that may be. All of these sites that populate the Google search are vying for clicks, which your job posting can help them get. But this is what can kill your candidates’ experience.

Job boards and job aggregators are selling clicks to each other to generate more traffic, using job postings to draw in those clicks. This means that when a candidate clicks on a posting, they may have to navigate through multiple other sites to finally get back to the employer!

The problem with all of this is that it creates many different places to lose a candidate before getting back to the employer. It creates a terrible maze for candidates to navigate, and can prevent applicants from connecting with the position.

Getting Around Job Aggregators [15:53]

One goal of a good recruitment marketing strategy should be to avoid job aggregators–not because they’re bad, but because they tend to get applicants trapped in a circle, making it hard for them to get to the company that posted the job.

But one challenge is that Jobs for Google and other aggregators are very good at capturing applicants’ attention. And even beyond that, there is no way to get listed directly on many of these aggregators. They work by scraping the web for job postings, not posting new jobs.

The best strategy for avoiding the trap created by job aggregators is to make sure the job posting from the company site is linked directly on Google for Jobs. When a candidate searches for a job, the first thing they see is a link to the company site and not to a job aggregator.

Google has made it easy to learn how to make sure job postings get prioritized in search results. However, many employers aren’t taking advantage of this, and instead aggregators are using that information to generate traffic for themselves. 

Understanding the candidate experience is a crucial part of any recruitment marketing strategy. Employers should take the time to walk through the recruitment process as a candidate to see the path they take and catch any distractions that might pop up.

How Employers Lose to Aggregators [21:14]

Job aggregators are not only tough on candidates, they can create a losing situation for employers as well. Imagine a candidate that decides to click on your job posting, but is then redirected to a job aggregator where they can choose to go to your company site or to another job board. If they choose a job board, they will sign up, and then also be shown different, related jobs.

This is like a customer shopping in a store, getting to the register, then having the cashier give them a coupon for the store down the street! It is a quick way to lose candidates to competitors. 

To keep this from happening, employers need to look beyond click volume and understand how aggregators and job boards are directing applicants. There are good job aggregators out there, so it is crucial to weed out those that ignore down-funnel data to find the ones that curate a good candidate experience throughout the job search process.

Employer Brand in the Recruitment Process [25:57]

When recruiting, employers need to make sure that their brand matches the posting as well as what it’s actually like to work at the organization. This starts with understanding what the happiest employees value about the company and advertising those strengths to candidates. However, to retain new hires, the organization must be committed to maintaining this brand or they won’t stay for long!

Understanding employer brand begins with getting to know employee personas. What do employees value? What is the profile of a long-term employee? Then companies must evaluate how their values align to those of their employees.

The bottom line is that branding must be intentional and consistent. One the employer’s brand is established, it must be established with what they present to candidates, as well as what they present to employees and every other stakeholder.

Ahead of the Curve: Normal 2.0

Hotels are undergoing a dramatic change because of the global pandemic, and Joyce Gioia has some Hotel Hacks to help everyone navigate them. Additionally, true to her futurist credentials, Joyce offers a few exciting recommendations to hotels to launch into the new normal. 

Travel requires much more planning now as we strive to stay safe while still being able to travel as necessary. The basic safety precautions are nothing new: wear a face mask everywhere, and throw on glasses or a face shield whenever possible. Some hotels have even adopted higher cleaning standards which can give more peace of mind whenever you can find them.

Hotels now will even let you know whether a hotel room has been vacant for at least 24 hours before your arrival–just call ahead and ask!

Other risks of travelling include needing to eat out more or visit grocery stores for essentials. Joyce recommends looking ahead to the destination and planning where to get meals. One option is to take as much food with you as possible to cut down on time spent outside of the room. Another option is a “hotel picnic” with food from the hotel restaurant and a good movie in your room!

Joyce sees this kind of dining as a great opportunity for hotels. They can tap into the new necessity of dining in isolation by making and even selling waterproof blankets designed for bed-top hotel picnics. In addition, with families spending more time in hotel rooms, adjacent rooms can be transformed into game rooms, giving kids a space to play games while parents get a break. 

The final recommendation is to take a new look at hotel takeout menus. Since takeout has become a central part of so many lives, it’s time to reexamine what options are available for takeout or room service and how they are delivered. Soggy fries or cold toast need to be done away with in this new normal.