Search Engine Uncovers and Maps Job Openings

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The creators of a new job-hunting Web site say they've built a specialized search engine that digs around the Web looking for jobs that may not be advertised elsewhere.

The search engine is part of ZubedJobs, a Web site that launched on Wednesday with a focus on showing vacancies within the U.K., said Ian Haynes, chief executive of the Triad Group, which runs Zubed Geospatial, which created the site.

The custom-built search engine isn't directly used by end users but instead brings content to ZubedJobs. The search engine has been engineered to recognize words related to careers offerings within companies' Web pages, performing a kind of semantic analysis.

To find jobs, the search engine is fed a list of companies, such as those listed by Companies House, the U.K. government's official registry of businesses, Haynes said.

ZubedJob's search engine then seeks out their Web sites and automatically navigates to wherever a certain company is showing vacancies, Haynes said. It then captures the data and plots it on Google Maps, which results in a tidy display of positions by locale.

Job hunters input a post code on ZubedJobs, and it shows a range of postings in the approximate area where the job is. Hovering a mouse over a blue teardrop will show a list of hyperlinked vacancies. When a posting is clicked, a pop-up window shows the job's details.

While there are plenty of job-hunting sites on the Internet, ZubedJobs' creators are hoping its features will stand out from the rest.

First, many companies will only advertise their jobs on their own Web sites, which means unless people are looking at a specific Web site frequently, they could miss out, Haynes said. Other companies can't afford to advertise, so listing it on their own Web site is the cheapest option.

Secondly, it allows employers to potentially find interested people who live in the area, which is positive for communities as well as potentially reducing commute times, Haynes said.

ZubedJobs is free for job seekers as well as for employers who want to submit postings to the site. Haynes said the site plans to make money from companies who want premium positioning of their job ad after a person starts a search.

For example, if someone searches for a job related to C++ programming in Milton Keynes, England, a company could choose to pay a premium to show their job ad at the top of the right-hand column of the Web site. Right now, there are no ads on the site."Everyone gets a [vacancy] entry but if you want your entry to appear above others, that's what you're paying for," Haynes said.

Haynes wouldn't say how much ZubedJobs plans on charging employers for that option. ZubedJobs' monetization plan may work better when the economy improves.

Right now, it's a client-driven market, meaning that there are too many people seeking too few jobs, so employers aren't having to compete so much for workers. Haynes said he soon expects employers to embrace paying for ads on the site once visitor traffic has increased.

"Even today there is a need for candidates, and people will pay for that need," Haynes said.

ZubedJobs' search engine is now scanning about 1.8 million U.K.-focused Web sites, Haynes said. Some Web sites it scans every day, while others every two, three or four weeks depending on size. Haynes said they'd like to scan sites no less than once a week, with Web sites of large companies scanned every 24 hours. ZubedJobs is still building up its server capacity and plans on increasing its bandwidth.

If a job ad expires, it will be removed from ZubedJobs' active listings. If the vacancy is withdrawn, it will be removed from ZubedJobs the next time the search engine scans the employer's site. But ZubedJobs cautioned that its site is still in beta testing, so it will need some fine tuning.

ZubedJobs will keep an archive of vacancies that people can view to see where certain companies have needed workers in the past.

To increase the number of jobs on the site, developers are also creating APIs (application programming interfaces) that will allow companies to automatically supply vacancy listings through whichever recruitment software they're using, Haynes said.

So far, ZubedJobs will just launch in the U.K., although if it goes well, it could expand to cover other geographies.

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