3 great ideas to steal for your job board or career site

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?

Views: 439

Comment by Adam Riemer on April 26, 2011 at 10:18am
Thanks for the mention Jeff.  One of the main reasons we encourage the Recruiters to offer the referrals is that it encourages candidates to reach into their talent pool and help get you access to more passive candidates as well as people who may not have found your listing otherwise.
Comment by Paul Alfred on April 26, 2011 at 10:34am
Jeff, I am surprised that you of all people would describe LinkedIn as a Job Board ...  Why is is so hard to understand that Linkedin purpose was to allow for an exchange between " Trusted professionals" within your network which allowed Users to trust the Service enough to put their Professional profiles on LinkedIn  ... Now its" Best Use" as used by users defined as Recruiters, Corporate recruiters found a tool to access passive profiles ... Theses profiles are not candidates until they are engaged and have actually passed or submitted a real resume for you to engage them making the LinkedIn User a potential candidate...     Perhaps a blog is needed to explain this further ...  LinkedIn may have changed its business focus to re-coup a market demand for their Online service with respect to the the Recruitment/Employment market ...
Comment by Jerry Albright on April 26, 2011 at 10:39am
Paul - can I ask why you are so dead set on not recognizing Linkedin for what it is?  That being a resume/job board?
Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on April 26, 2011 at 10:45am
Paul, not sure what you mean by 'me of all people'. I look at job boards every day, work with them, breathe them. LinkedIn is ultimately a job board that has social networking features. Where does the money come from? Job hunting, posting, recruiting.
Comment by Donna Frazier on April 26, 2011 at 10:51am
I agree with Paul that although it does have "job board features", even more so in the past 2 years - it is also widely used for marketing services...I know, I get 20 solicitations a week!  I use it primarily for recruiting - no doubt.  However, I also use it to promote my company.  When utilized properly, LinkedIn can be a valuable tool to let hiring companies know that your organization is quality oriented, etc.
Comment by Dave Nerz on April 26, 2011 at 11:19am

Call it what you like.  It really doesn't matter what LinkedIn is called, what matters is how it is used. 

Each audience has it's own point of view and reason for use of LinkedIn.  When a recruiter is using it to locate candidates and pitch an opening to them, it is a job board to the recruiter and the potential candidate until they say "no, I was just using it for connecting with other professionals".  The question might then be "why did you check the box interested in 'job inquiries'?"  If that box did not exist and recruiting was not permitted (and a revenue stream) on LinkedIn, there might be a case for it not being a job board. 

Comment by Paul Alfred on April 26, 2011 at 11:32am

@Jerry, the point I want to make is that when we talk about Web Services we need to first define why the site was launched in the first place in lay man's terms speaking as a Recruiter "Yes its a job Board" - From a Portal Developer standpoint - Linked has "mixed best uses"  and we need to define how Users interact with LinkedIn  - Example - If I am a Executive in HR for a Large Company and I noticed that a Key Employee has his/her  profile on Monster " A Job Board" I am going to have a problem and question his motives  or start preparing to replace him/her.  


if that same Employee has his "Profile" on LinkedIn I am going to understand that he is showcasing his background amongst his peers and colleagues - There is no "Perceived threat" of him leaving as I have defined the Portal "Best Use"  I hope this clears this up ....

In response to Jeffery  You cannot define LinkedIn as a Job Board until the user you have engaged has  indicated they are on the market and has passed over a resume.  So to take from Dave's response " It mattes how it is used" ...  


I do  Portal Strategy work so when I address  Jeff  I am getting technical with him - If LinkedIn has "Recognized a Revenue stream so be it"  If Hr Executives decide to question Employees adding profiles on LinkedIn - then Linked initial Purpose to the Market would have evolved.  This is the point I am making ... And I expect  a Job Board Guru like Jeff to be more explicit with respect to how he defines the LinkedIn Web Service .... 

Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on April 26, 2011 at 11:39am
Paul, I think we just have to agree to disagree. From my perspective, the primary business operation of LinkedIn is jobs - in particular, resume searching and job posting. Yes, it gets money from other channels (as do traditional job boards), but IMO, follow the money. At this point, it's more a job board than anything else. But the point of my blog post is that, to their credit, they've managed to create a position that they *aren't* a job board - much as 7-up defined themselves as the Uncola. Classic positioning. Very well done. And I think other job boards should take a page from LI's book.


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