I’m in the #DiceLiveLounge at #SHRM12. My friend John Sumser is holding court, with Tom Silver, from our hosts @employersondice. John is asking about the changing role of job boards, and the job market in general. It’s inspiring to hear Tom speaking about what their technical candidates and employers want from Dice. it is a bit of a cross-breed. between the traditional job board,where there are jobs and they are easy to navigate, and the need for genuine community where technical people can connect and share. He talks of the need to provide development opportunity, and that a big part of the community aspect is helping people to identify where they need to reskill, and providing both the community infrastructure and access to development resources.
Tech is the growing part of the economy, and it is where the talent shortage.is, and that there is opportunity in retraining that the community wants. Asking the question on what the job seekers are actually doing when they arrive at the dice site. It is easy to add funky features that look cool, the acid teat is if anyone really uses them. It was interesting to hear from Tom that the community features, which are largely self-managed are the fastest growing sections of the site. It seems that there is a real appetite for more than just jobs, and for recognisable social features. The user behavior shows why job boards need to be thinking community, and community by members rather than by management. What I would call the community DJ approach.

When you go to the Dice.Com site, the first thing you notice is the social feel. It looks more like a blog than a job board. the first link is to sign up for the talent communities. The navigation is also deadly simple with very limited clicks. I think this is key to keeping users on the site, allowing them to go where they want to go with limited effort. There’s 12 separate talent communities from android developers to on-line games developers. People in the tech space want to connect by peer group. The user features within the communities are more Mashable than job board,, with follows, shares, connect and more. It’ is an exciting change from the job listing format.

Talent expert John Sumser says: “Dice was the original talent community. It began life as an online bulletin board for tech contractors in the pre-web days. Over the years, the universe of technical talent has always come to dice to figure out tech issues and find the next gig. Today, they are reawakening their roots.”

The Dice Tech Talk forum has over 35,000 active users, it is a hive of discussion and activity. The communities are an extension  of this, and are the fastest growing feature on the site by users. As Sumser points out, the principles aren’t new, but in my opinion, the appetite among users is at its highest, driven by social traffic. traffic coming from a social source, want to feel they are landing in a social place, with all the features they recognise from the more traditional social channels. This is perhaps the template of what job boards need to become, where jobs and CV uploads take second place to community, and a reason for belonging.

Bill

Disclaimer: The posts for #SHRM12 are sponsored by Dice.Com. the content and views are my own. It’s a post I wasn’t asked to write, and one that I feel needs sharing.