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The "Workopolis Myth"

So what's the deal with "Canada's leading online recruitment resource" A.K.A. ?
[Did you guys know they are celebrating 10 years of existence?]

Welcome to what I like to call the "Workopolis Myth".

For those with little time to read or no patience, here is my advice in short: DO NOT submit applications over Workopolis. Instead, create, develop and POPULATE a comprehensive profile on their database. Leave no stone unturned!


Workopolis is one of the very first websites newcomers hear about. Thousands of readily available employment opportunities make it an attractive source for job seekers.

Everyone knows it's competitive. But hey! There is nothing to lose, right?

Canada's total labour force is close to 18,450,000 ~ See:

Workopolis alleges to have over 3 million Canadian candidates on their database. Assuming all of those "virtual beings" have a physical representation in the real world as actual human beings, and assuming all of them actually intent to look for work, that's an astonishing 16.25% of all Canadians of working age. Give it or take a few hundred thousand "fake profiles," that's still in fact some powerful information source for employers and a unique type of service that has proven to be a lucrative business model.

Now, you would ask: Business model? How?! What are they selling to employers?

That's where the myth begins: Job seekers believe Workopolis is a place where employers pay a fee for the "privilege" of receiving massive amounts of unscreened applications. That, to me, is completely irrational.

What employer in their right mind would do something like that?

Sure, these companies are also broadcasting themselves as the ‘employer of choice’ to thousands of unique visitors each month. But is that enough incentive to bring so many big labour market players (companies) to Workopolis? I mean, don't they have enough advertising out there already?

Furthermore, is Workopolis worth their hefty fees for the sake of receiving tons of unscreened applicants?

Click here to see their fees:

Let me break it all down for you. (I may be wrong here so I hope to hear your comments. Please don’t be afraid to make of this topic an enriching discussion.)

Employers DO NOT pay Workopolis in hopes of attracting candidates. Do you truly think companies like Rogers or BMO (just examples) need MORE candidates?! The answer is NO!

These large corporations have developed dedicated career websites to enable applicants to submit their resumes directly. In many cases, these are well developed interfaces powered by Taleo, a "talent management software" application.

Rogers and BMO (again, just two examples) DO NOT need more candidates because they get plenty through their own sites. So why have they joined Workpolis (paying such high fees) to simply repost the same jobs they have already broadcast in their own websites?

The reason is simple: Workopolis is worth the money and is such an effective business model (or at least it has been so far) because they offer these employers access to some very powerful and highly customized searching tools. Yes, good data mining costs money!

See ~

That's just a sneak peek at their database. Let's assume for a second that out of those 3 million people in the Workopolis database, only 750,000 are actual qualified/active job seekers. That’s still A LOT. Chances are, there are a few good people in there with the professional profile that a particular employer needs. has entered the recruitment market (virtually anyone can open a head-hunting firm with access to internet and $500/month fee) hitting Workopolis (+ and the like) really hard. Nonetheless, Workopolis still provides a data-mining database/platform that's highly more sophisticated than Linkedin's (somewhat limited) searching capabilities.

Let’s take a look at this link again:
Unbelievable, right? Well… Employers have been doing this for years! No secrets here!

Yes! They can narrow down their candidate search by specific school name(!!), area code, whether a candidate is willing to relocate, languages, designations, certifications, keywords, highest academic level, target salary, and the list goes on, and on. [That’s why you need a well developed and populated profile so you can be searchable]

Now, that’s a good reason for an employer to pay Workopolis. That’s why so many recruitment agencies and head hunters use Workopolis: They simply don’t have that many resumes in their own databases!

In addition, Workopolis’ data mining capabilities combined with the huge number of profiles in their database has no current competitor. Period.

Yes, LinkedIn has 50,000,000+ people registered (world-wide), including lots of Canadians, but their data mining capabilities are not as sophisticated and their profiles do not collect as much detailed info as Workopolis’ profiles. However, keep in mind that MANY recruiters, HR Staff and hiring managers are also using LinkedIn because is free or considerably less expensive (depending on the plan purchased.)

TIPS on how to best develop a Workopolis profile:

~ Find 20 job postings related to your general area of specialty (I already explain on a previous post why that oxymoron is so important.)
~ Highlight and rate keywords by total number of repeated appearances.
~ Identify the top 20 keywords.

As an example, a Mechanical Engineer may determine that the expression “Site investigations and field reviews” is common to all reviewed postings.

Say that out of the 20 job postings, the expression showed up 15 times. My suggestion would be for that Mechanical Engineer to include an exact (or similar) composition of the expression “Site investigations and field reviews” AT LEAST five times across her/his Workopolis profile and of course, resume. (Don’t forget that this expression could (and should) be included in other self-marketing pieces like email introductions and interview answers - A strategy must be develop for that. Ask your Employment Counsellor for help.)

Now that you have identified many relevant keywords, how do you achieve an effectively “searchable” Workopolis profile?

This can be easily done by entering keywords as relevant tasks, outcomes, achievements. It is much better if you do that as part of a project-based profile.

How do you select projects for your Workopolis profile?

1. Recent projects should have priority
2. Projects in which you had a very specific and well defined role should have priority
3. Highly successful projects with significant/quantifiable outcomes should have priority
4. Projects which involved similar research tools to those you would have to use in Canada should have priority
5. Non-managerial roles should have priority
6. Give priority to projects you remember well. It is important for you to be extremely comfortable to discuss the stages, actions and outcomes during an interview.

If you have questions on how to develop a project based Workopolis profile, send a reply to this post.

Your feedback will be much appreciated!