I’m a great believer in stealing ideas. Think about it: are most successful businesses truly original? Not often – instead, they take an idea and perfect it, then execute skillfully. (This applies to art, music, and literature, too – if you listen carefully, you’ll hear Matthew Sweet stealing from The Beatles, who stole from Buddy Holly, who stole from Hank Williams, who stole from….).
Are there ideas out there that are worth stealing for your job board? You bet! And just because another site is using them doesn’t mean you can’t apply them to your own niche successfully. So let’s get started:
- Idea #1: peer-reviewed candidates: StackOverflow is a technology site that added a job board – with a twist. They took their existing community activity and made it useful to employers linking into their Answers feature (think Quora for geeks). Employers can see what answers the candidate supplied to specific technical questions – AND how the community voted on their answer. Lots of votes = confidence in the candidate’s technical skill. A great idea that really just requires building a community and giving them a way to talk.
- Idea #2: referral bonuses: Yes, companies and recruiters have been using formal and informal referral bonuses for years to lure candidates to lure their friends. But recently we’ve seen first TopProspect and then JobFox add the referral bonus as a feature that employers or recruiters can add to their job listings. Both companies solve the age-old problem of handling the payment by doing it themselves – putting their payment system between the referrer and the employer. This should bring an increase in participation – the candidate will feel more confident of actually getting paid after giving up the info. If employers in your niche use referral bonuses, then you could definitely steal this idea.
- Idea #3: you’re not a job board or career site, you’re a candidate location tool: Pretend you’re LinkedIn. Now say, over and over, “I’m not a job board, I’m not a job board…” Yes, you and I know that LinkedIn is a job board. But their idea – the one you should steal – is that they act like they aren’t. That means they look at employers and candidates differently than the traditional job site. The value of that perspective? They can come up with new ways to ‘locate candidates’ – and connect them to employers. You may argue that they in fact aren’t doing anything new (who did they steal their ideas from, anyway?), but the bottom line is that both candidates and employers think they are. That belief, coupled with some astute work on LI’s part, has helped them succeed.
So there you go – 3 great ideas to steal. How about it – do you have one for me?