Ok, I just watched the short video of Gataum Godhwani talking about SimplyHired - Joel Cheesman interviewed him.

It made me think of lots of things but I want to talk about the job board part of it. Now, there are so many choices for someone who wants to start a Nich Job Board. You have JobTarget, Jobamatic, Beyond, Edgio and JobThread

Big Companies are buying them up and I am sure the day is near when Chris Russell or Steven Rothberg gets an offer they can't refuse. The point here is that it is getting easier and easier to build an infrastructure that will allow the job board to exist and accept payment for postings along with adservers and everything.

There are a couple of things though. The first is that maybe it will not make it easier at all. Look at how easy it is to build a social network. There are many recruiting Ning sites now that have popped up since May and not many are active on a weekly basis. The other is that I never really see any instructions from the jobboard in a box companies saying, Ok we are really providing the easy part, now you need to go out and build a business and click here to see how to do it.

There are tons of industry specific job boards today and I bet a whole pile more are coming. How do you build a successful job board?

Tags: boards, job, recruitment, seo

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Good question Jason. The answer is basically the same as how do you build a successful blog. Hard work, savvy marketing, consistent content. And oh yes, find a niche that you can succeed in and offer something different. I guess thats one of the reasons I started Job Boarders in the first place.
A great post which highlights one of the most conflicting issues for the job board industry: the low cost of entry is making it easy to launch a job board Vs the low cost of entry means everyone is launching a job board.

In my opinion, with so many job boards flooding the market, the only way to be successful is to deliver something unique: be it serving a unique audience, marketing in a unique way or delivering content that is of a uniquely 'high quality'.

On the last point, 'high quality', job boards need to really think about how an editorial process can make them stand out from the crowd, and on the down side how expensive it can be to maintain.

No out of the box solution is going to provide the unique aspect; technology is not the answer, just an enabler for entry into the market. It's the unique approach the business takes that will decide if it's a success or not.
Jason - great topic. I think there are still people out there that think if you buy a good domain, and put some "technology" behind it you'll have success. I call it the "if you build they will come theory." I tell everybody I speak to that the key to a successful job board is JOB SEEKERS. If you can attract job seekers you can build a successful job board business. Entrepreneurs are great at getting partners and often great at selling products/services to other businesses (B2B) - but don't understand job seekers (B2C).

Here are my thoughts on getting job seekers in competetive market:

* Niche - you should have a solid niche and a solid understanding of that niche. Geographic niches count.
* Partnerships - affiliate with other organizations that already have job seekers in your niche. Chamber's of commerce, professional associations, blogs, other media. Don't forget that the world does exist offline - so involvement with event based organizations and newtorking groups is also helpful.
*Content - First make sure you have good "job content" that means you have to start with jobs before you have job seekers. Some technology providers include this with their services (JobTarget does, of course). You cn also add "backfill" from sources such as Indeed. You also need to consider non-job content relevent to your chosen niche. Certainly blog content works and rss feeds, etc. but work with experts in your niche, masters of the domain, to contribute - they wll because they need exposure too.
*Unique Benefits - Job seekers are just like you and me (sometimes they are you and me) - theydon't have time to look on every board, to post their resumes on everyboard, to respond to every email, etc. So attract te seeker with unique benefits - for example JobTarget uses an annonymous resume bank - meaning all of the spamers aren't looking at my email and contact information and I can approve the employers I want to communicate with. There are other ideas out there - but you should figure out how to stand out in the competitive enviornment.
* Design - The technology providers often do not provide your site design (some do) - make sure your site is driving the behavior you desire. Get candidates to complete a profile for example - make sure that it is easy to find, and that the benefits are explained well. They won't spend the time if they don't know the benefits. Seperate the job seeker and the employer aspects of your site. You have two audiences - make sure you speak to them differently and seperately.

I could go on and on...but I think these are some good general starting points.
The words SEO spring to mind.

I would suggest before even putting the detail up and making it look as flashy as your new porsche that you sooo desperatley want .

It is an overlooked issue , we have been designing job boards for over 10 years now and those guys that say " $50 and well will guarntee you 1st place on every major search engine " are so far off the mark you may as well go down the pub and spend it there !

I totally agree with Chris on consistency .

If you spend $10,000 on a job board you may find that you may need to spend at least another $10k to get it singing at the top of the charts.

The question is where do you want your job board to be in 3 years time ?
The true killer app job board will be not-a-job-board-site. Think of it this way. When someone comes to you- desperate to learn how to network in order to find a job, I'm sure you try to help them and, at the same time gently tell them that the real opprtunity to learn about and engage in networking was when you had a job. The real value proposition for networking is connecting to people in order to give...not get.

Sites that exist for "jobs" as pure plays are inevitably going to be replaced as employers find new ways to reach their targeted audience....not as the focus of their audience's interest but as something they discover in their peripheral vision. Affinity-specific restricted networks (corporate alumni, fraternities and sororities, professional associations, school alumni, etc.) will be great communities of interest to corporations who will find cheap, user friendly ways to insert information "in the peripheral vision" of the members.

On the other hand, serious career management sites that offer potential jobseekers highly relevant information can succeed ...but there isn't a single one among the 40,000 job boards that comes close to meeting the minimum standards I would set (versus the standards others might set ...but that is a much more intense discussion).
I echo Gerry's sentiments. The job board is a commodity because regardless of where you post your resume it will be picked up by all the others in one way or another. The true value is the "extra sauce" of the board - the network, the advice, the help, the services, the targeting you name it. Offering career management services a la Jibberjobber with a dash of matched job opportunities will build a truly valuable board.

Cheers

Mark Newman
HireVue
Jason,

If I ever write anything, just disregard it. So far I failed launching:

www.RealJobs.ie – The First Irish job site for Employers only. Lasted a year.
www.IrelandJobs.ie – the first Irish jobs aggregator. Got sued left, right and centre. Lasted about the same, about 12 months.

The above classifies as: Catastrophic Failure.

www.EmployIreland.ie – well actually this one is running for about 2 years now and is still growing but is not really a market leader.
www.eRecruit.ie – a first Irish multiple job posting software / service – has less than a mere 20% of the market after 2 years.

The last two would be something like an Ongoing Failure.

And that is not all, I also have a special category: A Failure in the Making!

The list is:
www.RssJobs.ie – the first Irish RSS-Only Jobs site. (I predict a 6 month ‘half-life’, and a transformation to a Catastrophic Failure.
www.Jobs-Ireland.ie – flirting with the open source? In the recruitment industry with the private data stored? Recent Monster hacking still rings a bell. This smells like a potential court case in about 12 months when 99% of het CVs leak from the site to some public display site.


And there is more in this Failure in the Making category actually. It is a long list. I am really busy. Overworked!

So if I try to give you the advice... on how to make a job board?! Just ignore it!


Ivan | www.JobsBlog.ie
When you read all the replies to this post it actually begins to make sense to me why so many sites exist without really making a difference. Everyone appears fixated on finding a marketing silver bullet rather than providing a service where the success of a job seeker and an employer in finding one another is clearly evident.. The success of 99.999% of the job sites must be inferred from: repeat business, traffic numbers, etc.

Whgat data does exist suggests that fewer than 8% of all hires are attributed to job boards by employers. This does not bode well for the future.
We just started, on May 1st, ClinicalGigs.com. It is a niche job board for clinical trial research careers and jobs. Getting the software off the ground is always the first large hurdle and we had some problems at first with the developer. One thing here is that, you must have is ownership of unencrypted software, because no matter how smart you or your developer is, it's not going to be right the first time. Besides, once you get it online, you are going to want to add new features, make changes, and do other things that are going to require you to tweak the code.

The next hurdle to overcome is having both enough jobs posted to attract candidates and enough resumes in your database to attract employers. We got started with a modest amount of both. We used this to our advantage by reviewing each resume and approving them for permanent inclusion to our database. This has an advantage over other competitors resume banks because every resume in our database is going to be relevant to our clinical research employers. We are narrowing the amount of data that they need go through and boosting the number of relevant resumes that they see.

We are just now entering the marketing phase... getting the word out about clinicalgigs.com is now the next and most important hurdle that we must cross to move down the road to success.

We believe that most job boards do not give much control to the candidates over their resumes. We have a status system that lets the candidate control and set their job seeking status to one of the following:

1. Not actively job seeking
2. Not actively job seeking but would be open to a better job opportunity
3. Actively in a job search

When they first register and upload their resume their status is set to "Not reviewed". Once they are reviewed and approved, they can go into their profile and update their jobseeking status. When the candidate set their status to "Not actively job seeking" their resume switches to private and is not available for viewing.

By having the job seeker be able to control their own status and resume, we believe that this gives the employer a benefit as well. The employer can sort resumes by the jobs seeking status and look at the active job seekers resumes first to save time.

We are also making plans to treat contract position and contractors in a way that is more tailored to contract and consulting services.

We think that less data… more relevant resumes and jobs is a key for success.
Great question and very topical for us having just launched www.my-ijob.com, we are, as far as we know the UK's first video centric job board.

Having spent the last 15 years as a recruiter I hope I understand what customers are looking for (B2B) and also what job seekers are looking for (B2C). Customers want the very best talent that’s available and job seekers want to work for the very best employers, so in theory that should be very easy to bring together? well yes and no, the job seekers are becoming much more savvy than their predecessors, they know through social networking and such like that company X isn’t such a great place to work and that company Y is, so they head for company Y.

The job boards are all very much of a muchness, jobs my email, etc etc, I would agree with Ethan (previous post) in that the uniqueness and content are going to become much more important in attracting candidates a) to the site and more importantly for the customer b) getting them to apply to the vacancy.

Technology is important generation Y want everything now, on the go, before they get home. With mobile technology allowing sites to be created and used via mobile phones and the ability to watch videos on the way home from work the job seeker can apply for these jobs that really capture their imagination and still get to the gym in time for their class.

As always thoughts and feedback on www.my-ijob.con are always welcome, despite what I tell my kids, I don’t know everything
Jason, if you are interested, I have a domain name I am more than happy to part with it's www.videojobs.com I am looking for a billion dollars but if you want to negotiate I am open to that.
Jason, sounds like an offer too good to miss, but I think we'll stick with what we've got. Good luck.

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