Using the web to look for work: Implications for online job seeking and recruiting

Bernard J. Jansen, Karen J. Jansen, Amanda Spink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Purpose - The web is now a significant component of the recruitment and job search process. However, very little is known about how companies and job seekers use the web, and the ultimate effectiveness of this process. The specific research questions guiding this study are: how do people search for job-related information on the web? How effective are these searches? And how likely are job seekers to find an appropriate job posting or application? Design/methodology/approach - The data used to examine these questions come from job seekers submitting job-related queries to a major web search engine at three points in time over a five-year period. Findings - Results indicate that individuals seeking job information generally submit only one query with several terms and over 45 percent of job-seeking queries contain a specific location reference. Of the documents retrieved, findings suggest that only 52 percent are relevant and only 40 percent of job-specific searches retrieve job postings. Research limitations/implications - This study provides an important contribution to web research and online recruiting literature. The data come from actual web searches, providing a realistic glimpse into how job seekers are actually using the web. Practical implications - The results of this research can assist organizations in seeking to use the web as part of their recruiting efforts, in designing corporate recruiting web sites, and in developing web systems to support job seeking and recruiting. Originality/value - This research is one of the first studies to investigate job searching on the web using longitudinal real world data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-66
Number of pages18
JournalInternet Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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