BlackRock : Bad and good personalisation on one Careers site

The US investment manager offers vacancy listings personalised in two ways – but only one of them is useful

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The feature

BlackRock has a Careers website featuring an ‘Experienced Professionals’ page within an ‘Explore Careers’ sub-section. 
If the user arrives on this page after visiting a number of other pages on the site, a panel appears titled ‘Recommendations based on your browsing history’.
This heading is followed by the titles, locations and departments of five job vacancies. Users can click on one of the vacancies to view more details, or press a ‘More jobs’ button at the bottom of the panel to expand the list of recommended vacancies. The number of additional vacancies shown varied between 11 and 13 during our tests.
The Careers site also employs a location sniffer – but during our tests there was no evidence that this affected the personalised vacancy listing: ‘recommended’ vacancies shown covered a wide range of global locations.  
Above this panel is the caption ‘Want personalized job recommendations? Sign in with LinkedIn.’ Once activated, this shows another, separate list of vacancies, titled ‘Recommendations based on your LinkedIn profile’.  

The takeaway

Experiments with personalisation on corporate websites are not new– but they are currently very fashionable, and something that a number of software vendors are pushing hard. 
BlackRock’s attempts to offer personalised job vacancies based on the visitor’s browsing history are cleanly presented and clearly explained – though some users may mistakenly assume that their entire web browsing history is taken into account, rather than merely their visits within the Careers site. 
The feature is also, sensibly, offered alongside a range of other vacancy search options, including the ability to browse vacancies by business area, location, keyword and so on. 
But there are a number of problems with the personalise by browsing history feature.
First, Blackrock’s Careers site is extremely thin. This means that there are very few page visits from which the personalisation software can make a judgement about which vacancies to ‘recommend’. 
Second, there are no options to refine the personalised listing – by location or department, for example. 
In contrast, the option to view personalised vacancies by signing in via LinkedIn is much more convincing – because a LinkedIn profile provides far more information on which to base vacancy recommendations. During our tests, for example, activating this feature offered us a range of corporate communications and ‘digital analyst’ vacancies at BlackRock. Which are right up our street.
First published 20 November, 2018
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