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Sep 15, 2011
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Taking the next logical step in its evolution from job search engine to job board, yesterday Indeed unveiled its resume search service.

The carefully planned launch had been scheduled to occur today, but an error in distributing the press release forced the company to lift the embargo it had placed on bloggers, analysts, and others who got a preview of the service earlier this week.

It’s a straightforward search, identical in most regards to the site’s job search. It is keyword based, though it will accept some Boolean and Google query types. Searches can be easily narrowed by simply selecting from a menu on the left that shows up on results pages.

Searching and reviewing resumes is free and will remain that way. But contacting the candidates — free for now — will eventually cost. How much, said Chris Hyams, Indeed’s VP of Product, who piloted the demos, won’t be released for a while.

For now, the “goal is to introduce the system to as many people as possible,” said Hyams.

Job seekers will appreciate the simplicity of the system. It accepts all forms of resumes and will import a user’s LinkedIn profile. Users can elect to keep the resume private and not findable in a search, or make it public. In the latter case, the contact information is stripped out. Employers use a form to contact the job seeker, who decides whether or not to respond. Job seekers can also apply to jobs they find on Indeed with their resume.

The interface, said Hyams, was designed for ease of use. “We always start with the question: What is best for the job seeker?”

Since Indeed began collecting resumes several months ago it was only a matter of time before the site offered resume search. After more than a million resumes, the time, obviously, has come.

Even Hyams more or less joked about the resume service being an open secret, especially to the job boards whose relationship with Indeed can best be described as “frenemy.”

“This is not going to be an earth-shattering surprise,” Hyams said earlier this week during a preview.

Pardon the pun, but indeed it isn’t. There’s been no response from the job boards, nor is it likely any of them will have much to say publicly. Many of them are Indeed customers, buying PPC ads to drive traffic to their own sites. Many of them, though far fewer these days, depend on Indeed to distribute their own listings to a broader market.

Indeed and SimplyHired, the two leading job search engines, built their business by scraping listings from job boards. But in the nearly seven years they’ve been at it, both sites have developed relationships directly with employers. Many of them provide a daily feed of their jobs to each site. Many of the job boards do that, too.

However, in the last year, fewer listings from job boards have been showing up in searches on Indeed and SimplyHired. The CEOs of both sites told me directly they are not discriminating against job board listings, but clearly, the preference in cases where the same listing comes from a direct employer and also from a job board is to go with the employer’s listing.

It’s a matter of benefiting the job seeker, Indeed’s Paul Forster told me, as did SimplyHired’s CEO Gautam Godhwani. The employer’s listing is one click closer than the job board’s.

Yet, as recently as a few weeks ago, I’ve heard from job board operators who insist they’ve been told by employees at one or the other of the search sites that there are problems with the format of their feed, or they have poor quality listings, or they have been the subject of job seeker complaints, or … In each case the operators swear they’ve made no changes and had been indexed previously, in some cases for years.

For smaller job boards, the traffic from Indeed and SimplyHired — now the 3rd and 4th most trafficked job sites respectively — can be critical. Some job boards exist almost entirely because of the distribution they get from the two search sites, so not being indexed can spell disaster.

Listings from CareerBuilder and Monster, mainstays of the jobs inventory for both sites for years, have also dramatically diminished in volume. A Monster spokesman said his company never provided a direct feed of its listings, but was scraped. Any change there was made by the search sites. However, he added that Monster has seen no impact on its traffic. A comment echoed by CareerBuilder.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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