In the past 6 months, we’ve advertised for three different positions: a designer, a project manager, and a web developer. We’ve tried two different job boards to advertise these positions, Seek and 37 Signals Job board. I thought it was interesting to see the difference in the number of steps required (aka interface friction) between two sites performing essentially the same task:

37 Signals job board
step 1 “!/assets/uploads/2009/06/seek-small/01.jpg(step 1)!
step 2 (step 1)":/assets/uploads/2009/06/seek-large/01.jpg step 2
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Why such a big difference?

I was surprised that there was such a big difference in the number of screens – it certainly took a lot longer to get through the Seek process several times. But at the end of the day the ads were remarkably similar, and had similar results for us (see below). So how can one site collect my details in 4 short screens, while another takes 12 screens (some of which are 3 full screens in length)?

  • Seek has a gotcha with their advertiser signin process, where you can create multiple accounts for the same email address (not really sure why anyone would need to do this). If you try to get your password next time around, you have to call up to get it manually retrieved. So this meant a few extra steps for me.
  • 37 Signals doesn’t require an account to be set up – describe the job, put in your credit card, and that’s that. I’d imagine if I was posting several jobs a day this might become a drag, but not having an account and a password suits my requirements very well. It would be interesting to find out what percentage of Seek users post often enough to justify everyone needing to have accounts set up.
  • 37S don’t allow you to edit the job once it’s posted (thus removing another reason for a password). Again, this suits me, because I’m posting the full job on my own site, where I want applicants to have a look around rather than trying to explain everything on the job site.
  • Seek has a lot of extra steps such choosing a layout (they’ve recently added 3 more colours- woo hoo) and features I can pay a bit extra for, such as a screening survey. Not a big attraction for me- again, it would be interesting to know what percentage of people actually pay for and use these extra bells and whistles.
  • Seek also uses an external gateway (NAB) which is involves 2 extra screens, but seems a key difference between US and AU bank gateway processing.

So, did we find anyone?

I suppose the final measure of whether a job site is any good is whether we actually found someone through this.

  • 37 Signals: we got very few applications, but a fair amount of web traffic from the 37signals site. We found a wonderful project manager. No luck on the designer or developer position.
  • Seek: we got hundreds of applications, with a very wide variation in level of qualification, which took a while to sift through. We found the perfect developer, but no luck on the project manager or designer position.
  • Personal network – we found a great designer through personal networks, which hadn’t been very useful for the other two positions.

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