I’ve observed that approximately 90% of the music put out at any given time is just not very good. Much is mediocre, and some is simply appalling. Well, folks, this is true of many industries, and it’s true of the job board industry.

Why? Well, honestly, job boards are more complex than they seem, both in design and operation. Add to this the never-ending winds of change and competition, and you can see how a job board operator might hit a few false notes.

So in the spirit of preventing job board unhappiness, here are 5 ways you can screw up a job board (and how to fix them):

1. Think that the employer is your primary customer: The employer pays the bills (usually), but ask yourself: why is the employer interested in my site? Because they can reach the right job seekers. Get quality job seekers looking at their jobs, and you’ll have happy employers.
2. Make job seekers jump through hoops. Job seekers are key to paying the bills (see #1). So why make their lives miserable by requiring registration to simply view a job? Or bombard them with interstitial advertising? Think and design your site like a job seeker and see your numbers improve.
3. Make your site cluttered and confusing. Sure, you want to jam every single service you offer on the home page – but ask yourself, are all services created equal? Focus on the most important ones, and intelligently relegate the others to tabs, sidebars, links, and so on – or risk having job seekers and employers throw up their hands and run away.
4. Ignore the outside world. Does your site still rock to the 1999 groove? Well, unfortunately it’s actually 2010 – and just like hairstyles, sites need to get a trim and styling every so often. Also, forces like Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on are probably part of your audiences’ lives – so your services should reflect that.
5. Offer little of value. Does your site rely on Indeed for most of its job postings? Is its resume database stale? Does it only offer one way for employers to reach job seekers? Then you’re not helping your audience. Not sure what to offer? Ask your job seekers and employers. They’ll tell you.

How about it? What other ways can one screw up a job board? I’m all ears!

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