It's hard to envision the growth and success of job boards without the third jewel in the crown: evolution. Resistance is a bit futile, as some of the longstanding industry giants have recently learned. Today, relevance depends on a keen sense of what advertisers and jobs seekers expect from a job board. And that changes as technology grows and finds its way into the mainstream.
From the industry's early 1990s inception through the heights it has reached today, evolution has kept job boards germane to finding talent and finding a job. And that has kept the revenue rolling in. Now there's another evolution taking place. When you adapt to the changing talent-sourcing and job-seeking needs, you can be part of it.
Job boards generate revenue. At least the successful ones do. And that's because they provide a valuable service in a way that matches or exceeds expectations. Today, those expectations might seem elusive. But the information and technology are there to clear the way. Fortunately, that's not as complicated or challenging as it might seem.
Which Job Boards are Most Effective Now
In the earliest days of digital job boards, the fact that they existed at all was enough to bring in advertisers and job seekers. The sheer convenience, not to mention the novelty, meant more employers and prospective job candidates had a meeting place, so to speak, where they could connect. But that's not enough in today's market.
As with any technology, almost as soon as it emerged, industry leaders and software developers were already imagining ways to make it perform better. The current changes in the industry reflect the same core set of ideals. Provide what the people want in a way that they want it. Give them a reason to get there. And try to predict what they didn't even realize was important. These elements require a combination of industry and tech knowledge plus information in the form of feedback and data analytics.
That contradicts the Field of Dreams philosophy, "If you make it, they will come." Entrepreneur magazine says that's a "disastrous" approach anyway. The mere creation of a fully functional job board bears no guarantee of success. It worked for Monster in the beginning. But as talent sourcing, job seeking and technology advanced, they stayed true to their roots. Then Randstad Holding bought them out.
It might seem ironic, but smaller and niche job boards are strong and thriving now while some of the giants struggle. That reflects the course that talent sourcing and job seeking are on. PC Magazine says "staying laser-focused on their respective niches" has helped these smaller job boards come through the turbulent times that did in some of the big competition.
Because smaller offerings can cater to the precise needs of their community, they have an inside relevance track. For example, PC Magazine mentions Gary's Job Board, which is geared toward the trucking industry in and around Denver. By enabling features that trucking companies and truck drivers want, the job board has become uniquely relevant and hosts about 2,000 job postings monthly. Any job board has the power to become the go-to provider for a niche industry.
Technology That Makes or Breaks a Job Board
Evolving tastes and an increasing reliance on technology are forming the next generation of job boards. Anyone can search Craigslist for a job. And they might even find one. But that service is just about as basic as it gets.
Effective job boards revolve around the technology that they employ. Some of it primarily benefits advertisers and some benefits job seekers. But all of it benefits the job board owner in the long run. You can approach a job board one of three different ways. Build and host it yourself, use a website widget for a job board that's hosted elsewhere, or leverage the technology of a partner to build your own white-label job board.
Another important technology shift in the industry is mobile. Practically everyone uses a mobile device. And many people use one all day every day, from the time they get out of bed until the time they climb back in again at night. It's been no real surprise that job seekers expect to search and apply for jobs using a smartphone or tablet.
But technology goes deeper than surface functionality. Big data. You've heard a lot about it, and for good reason. Within this mysterious collection of information live the facts that can help you transform your job board into exactly what users want and need. But interpreting it, of course, is a challenge. Data analytics has become a big industry on its own. And from it springs predictive analytics.
Programmatic advertising is another game changer. Major newspapers have begun using programmatic advertising, and it's changing job board ad buys, too. It helps advertisers get the most effective use of their budget and places the right ads where the right people will see them. And because it's automatic, based on predictive analytics, everyone has a more streamlined experience.
Why Job Boards are Such a Wealth of Revenue Potential
Revenue is the real name of the game. It's naturally the main reason job boards exist. With advancing technology and a major lightening of the manual workload, a job board today has at least as much revenue potential as ever before, probably more.
Steadfast, custom job boards that are enjoying great success don't have the volume of the big names. But they have other things going for them. Smaller employers, says PC Magazine, have a better opportunity to advertise. And while the overall traffic might come nowhere near major job boards, the focused effectiveness of a niche board also breeds loyalty.
There's also revenue potential in traditional advertising and resource offerings. Additional monetization is possible through third-party advertising, downloadable resources for job seekers, downloadable resources for employers, rev-split third-party services such as resume writing, and the list goes on.
One of the greatest challenges is getting a job board off the ground. But depending on the software you use (or design), you could back-fill the site with postings from other job boards on day-1, and partner with a job board network to keep advertisers and job seekers coming in. That's part of the RealMatch story.
A strong job board partner gives you the advantage of cutting-edge technology and industry reach. But instead of requiring more of your resources and time for a better product, it takes less. And that frees up valuable time for other work, such as developing your brand through social media and other marketing strategies.
Which Costs are Involved With Running a Job Board
Profitability depends on the cost of operation, of course, which is where the three job board approaches come in. If you elect to use free software, you'll save money on the front end. But it can ultimately cost more. You'll be responsible for everything from writing the code into your website and ensuring its compatibility to bringing in the job ads on a consistent basis. This is a manual operation.
Subscription-based job boards give you the advantage of support. There may be an up-front fee, plus the ongoing cost of the subscription service. Unlike free software, you'll get regular updates that keep the functionality current and bug-free. But you'll still have to direct-sell job ads to populate it on your own and work to drive in job-seeker traffic.
If you go the licensed software route, you'll pay more upfront and less later on. Licensing requirements mean you'll need an additional buy-in for every server. And when software updates are released, you'll be responsible for installing them. And in most cases, you'll populate the job board and drive in traffic.
Then there's the partnership-based solution. It's the closest thing to effective plug-and-play in the industry. This is how RealMatch operates. Through a partnership agreement, digital publishers and the job board provider share revenue on every job listing. Publishers get a job board that's populated and operational out of the gate, and the software provider gets a share of the job ad revenue. And because it's web-hosted, any publisher can take advantage of the additional revenue that it brings.
Free sounds great, but remember the volume of work that's involved. Subscriptions costs add up. Licensing can be expensive. And all of these options require the skills of an advertising department to keep the ads coming in plus marketing and advertising to drive in traffic. More publishers are opting for a partnership-based agreement because it reduces in-house work while it generates revenue.
The job board industry is changing right before your eyes. The giants are restructuring for a new era or they're going the way of the dinosaur. But coming up through the middle is a sea of white-label job boards. They offer a level of targeted effectiveness and functionality that the big names have yet to perfect.
Luckily, this is one evolution that embraces publishers of all sizes from large to small. There's revenue to be had in operating a job board. And there's an opportunity to shine a little brighter as an expert in that area, too. But instead of requiring more of your time and resources, it might require less for a better product than you could (or would be inclined to) build on your own.
If you're in the market for a new source revenue, you're on the right track.