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?

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Hi Ethan-

You had a lot of great comments, where can I read more?

Ethan said:
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.
Jason,

One way is to organically grow into a job board. Grow the community first, see what they're looking for, then fill that need. You already have over 10,000 members here, and clearly job posts as they are now are working. This solves your traffic problem, as you know people will be here. Many of these other job boards start up with no community backing, and no significant traffic. Having a core base of traffic to begin with justifies your posting fee.

Combine that with some good PPC and organic search campaigns to drive additional traffic and your hr focused job board here could be hugely successful. Keep your posting price low, as Craigslist does and you won't lose people due to sticker shock. :)

Good luck, this seems like an ideal way to monetize this site and for all that people get from it, I can't imagine anyone would object.

:) Pam
Hey Pam, looks like on Thursday we are going to have a brand spanking new system here to handle Jobs. I had a look at the system yesterday and I'm happy with it. It';s funny, this post is from last year. revival. my bigger issue now is that yesterday there were 23 blog posts, they go up and then they are gone from the front page. If you have an idea, let me know how to solve it

pam claughton said:
Jason,

One way is to organically grow into a job board. Grow the community first, see what they're looking for, then fill that need. You already have over 10,000 members here, and clearly job posts as they are now are working. This solves your traffic problem, as you know people will be here. Many of these other job boards start up with no community backing, and no significant traffic. Having a core base of traffic to begin with justifies your posting fee.

Combine that with some good PPC and organic search campaigns to drive additional traffic and your hr focused job board here could be hugely successful. Keep your posting price low, as Craigslist does and you won't lose people due to sticker shock. :)

Good luck, this seems like an ideal way to monetize this site and for all that people get from it, I can't imagine anyone would object.

:) Pam
I am always available to discuss "building job board businesses" - e.bloomfield@jobtarget.com. I may just take your advice and write some more.
Jason,
Great post! I would love to get some insight on what people think the future looks like for job boards. It seems the most successful boards would be anticipating this - and driving it. Peter Weddle's IAEWS show earlier this month was a-buzz with job board owners talking about the future of their businesses and how Web2.0 and the shift in workforce demographics (Gen Y, localization, etc.) are presenting opportunities and challenges.

Anyone have any thoughts here?
Locality + Niche and/or a hybrid combination of those two.

However, I don't like the word "board" - boards are archaic & yesteryear; networks & communities are today & tomorrow.

Boards are a one-sided push of information; Communities are two-sided dialogue.

I could go on, but you get the picture. The "board" is dying - not dead yet, but dying slowly . . . just as every 'product' moves through a product lifecycle (introduction, growth, maturity, decline). Sure, there are new versions and iterations, but the further along the PLC we move, the more the savvy entrepreneur focuses on creative destruction (where, as you mention, they become acquisition targets down the line).

Of course, this is just speculation, but I think the "job board" of yesteryear will morph into the "opportunity community" of tomorrow . . .

The "Oppormunity", if you will ;)
I am not sure I agree that the "board" is dying - I realize that with in our "cutting edge" community of thought leaders we are looking at Web 2.0 and social media as the next phase of recruitment advertising - but the reality is if you speak to employers at large, most still view Niche boards as the new frontier. I realize that for most of us that seems antiquated but I have sales team that speaks with hundreds of employers every week ranging in size from 1 to 200,000 employees, and many of those conversations still include describing the value of online versus print (really) and more often big boards (monster/careerbuilder) versus niche.

I contend that distribution is the next phase and that communities are part of that. "How do I get my advertisement in front of the people I want to hire?" is the question I am hearing. Like any advertising the answer is multiple media distrubition and niche advertising.

Just my thoughts.
I've just launched a new site in Ireland www.iwantanwjob.ie The idea is to keep prices low to include sme's who wouldn't usually use job boards, as well as offering good value for agencies and larger employers.

In 3 years I'd like to be in the top 4 for Ireland but that will take a lot of work & money!!

Any ideas on how to get listed by Google? Wouldclove to be on the first search page

tom said:
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 ?
Speaking from experience - you do something different. You don't try to mimic someone else's success, you create your own. Set out to provide something truly useful. Then, you work, work and work some more - building relationships that mean something. Relationships that aren't just tied to your business. Sure, your relationships will lead you to supporters but that can't be WHY you build them. Your jobs should be genuine and not scraped. Your quality should be bar none, including your customer service.

Great food for thought on a Monday. :)

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