The year in job boards: 2009 – what we learned

It was an ugly, painful year. I haven’t talked to a single job board owner – not one – who saw revenue declines of less than 35 to 70 percent. Many had to lay off employees, cut benefits, or otherwise pull back. They weren’t alone, of course – almost every aspect of our economy (Goldman Sachs excepted) has suffered.

So, we’re agreed – 2009 sucked. But surely we learned a few things, right? Hmmm….

1. Bailouts are for banks, not job boards (unless you’re Monster in Ohio, that is!).

2. Ignore social media at your peril.

3. Niche (and micro-niche) is where it’s at.

4. Job boards aren’t dying – they’re evolving (but the ones that don’t evolve probably will die).

5. People who write about “job boards dying” get great Twitter traction (say that 5 times fast!).

6. Applicant tracking systems are still the bane of job boarders everywhere.

7. It’s easier than ever to start a job board – and hard than ever to make money with one.

8. The ‘Big 3′ are still the Big 3 (and aren’t you glad we have them to kick around?).

9. Job aggregators are everywhere (haven’t I seen that job somewhere before?).

10. Cheezhead’s snarky commentary made the recruiting world more enjoyable – we miss it!

What did you learn this year?

Views: 105

Comment by Michael Rocha on December 17, 2009 at 8:57am
I agree with point number 4, well put.
Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on December 17, 2009 at 9:05am
Maren, There should always be a place for snarky in the recruiting world!
Comment by Alasdair Murray on December 17, 2009 at 11:48am
I learned the same as the previous year, namely that good quality candidates tend to come from good quality job posts, thus there is a certain onus on the advertiser to stop cut and pasting job descriptions and/or writing copy that is uninspiring to read and littered with errors. Not only does it generate bad response in terms of quantity and quality, it also puts off potential clients and is great PR for your competitors without them having to do anything except show people your awful job post.

Recruitment is the only area I can think of where so many pay so little attention to the quality of the advertised message. Indeed, for many recruiters, copy is an afterthought, a necessary evil, a chore. Why??? First impressions really do count and that copy is what generates your lifeblood - candidates.

So, if you are currently selling yourself short with your job posts, stop complaining about poor response and make sure as your part of the bargain, you write (or get someone to write for you) copy that really sells the company and the role. It honestly will make all the difference. It will generate better response, speak volumes about you as a recruiter (think of each job post as a nice bit of PR as well as just a job post) and also help up the quality of the content of every job board you use.

Go on, make improving the quality of your job posts a resolution for 2010! Who knows, next year people might be saying the one thing they learned is that the quality of content on the job boards has improved.


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