Maybe it’s the magic of reverse-psychology, but our most popular blog post has consistently been 5 Reasons Not to Start a Job Board since it was published.
It’s not that I don’t think people should start job boards. In fact, it’s kind of important to our business that people do run and start job boards. But, there are things that can cause problems for a new job board, and I’m interested in helping you avoid and overcome those problems.
So, back by popular demand, here are 6 more reasons not to start a job board!
1. You Don’t Know What You’re Selling
Why should anyone use your job board? Why should job seekers use your board, rather than using Indeed, LinkedIn, other large aggregators and job boards? Why should employers use your job board either, for that matter?
If you can’t answer those questions, you have a problem. This is usually the first thing to trip up a new job board. If you can’t think of what your board offers that other competitors (big or small) don’t, you’re going to have a hard time selling it to employers and candidates.
One of the reasons why job boards with a focus on a particular niche or regional market are successful is because it makes it easier to identify the problems of finding great talent and great jobs, and then work to solve them.
Make sure you know what you’re selling so you can communicate it to the people to whom you’re selling.
2. You Haven’t Built Relationships
“Build it and they will come” is not an option. Your job board will have a hard time succeeding unless you have relationships with individuals and the wider community of candidates and employers in your target market, niche, or region.
Relationships will come in more than one form – social media followers, a focus group you can survey, mailing lists, individuals who you can ask for ideas and feedback, as well as contributors, sponsors or future customers.
You need relationships to help get traction. Relationships will help you make your initial sales, get testimonials, and most importantly to build up your base of candidates and job seeker traffic.
3. You Expect Free Money
Is “make a living by starting a job board” the new “make a living by starting a blog”?
A bit of context – in the early 2000s when blogging was a new phenomenon, a relatively small number of people found commercial success by consistently publishing decent content, and by monetizing through ad publishing, selling merchandise, and affiliate advertising networks.
Then, everybody started doing it, and unless you’d already amassed a huge following, it became a lot harder to achieve the same level of success – and those who did continued to adapt and evolve their business model and strategy.
Job boards have had a similar evolution. Today, there is more competition, there are more tools and options out there for job seekers and employers, and you can’t continue to rely on the same old tricks to make money that you could 15 years ago. Which brings me to another reason not to start a job board…
4. You Aren’t Prepared to Evolve Your Business Model
If you assume that building an online business in 2017 is the same as it was in 2005, don’t start a job board yet.
In 2017, job seekers expect you to be mobile-friendly and easy to use, ad publishing revenue is challenged by ad-blockers, and the explosive growth of everything on the Internet means you’re competing for traffic in more ways than ever before.
Being prepared to evolve your business model could also mean narrowing down your target market even further, to focus exclusively on the most popular jobs or sought-after talent in your niche. It could also mean shifting your pricing, your products, or your services to meet the needs of your customers.
Once you get your business going, you may need to be flexible about what and how you offer products and services to your customers and job seekers. If you’re not prepared to make changes and learn as you go, maybe you shouldn’t start a job board.
5. You Have No Marketing Plan
There’s a podcast about art and comic books I sometimes listen to called “Make It Then Tell Everybody”. I love the title because it concisely boils down what you need to do: make it, then tell everybody. It’s advice that’s good for job boards as well. It’s not enough to have a great job board, you have to tell people about it. You have to market it.
And your marketing plan can’t just be limited to your launch. A big splashy marketing campaign at your start is great, but must also continue to draw in new job seekers and customers, and you must continue to engage and re-engage the people who visit or sign up.
How do you plan to tell people about your job board? How do you plan to keep attracting new people to it? How do you plan to keep people engaged and avoid one-time users?
Your marketing plan should answer these questions.
6. You Don’t Have Unique Content
If your job board doesn’t have anything that’s unique, why does it exist?
Do you offer jobs that don’t get posted anywhere else? Do you carefully curate jobs from other sources so that your job seekers find exactly what they’re looking for? Do you offer advice, information, resources, or a community that helps engage and support your job seekers and employers? Do you offer tools that make their lives easier?
Unique content is important not only for the experience of job seekers and employers, but for search engines as well. If nothing on your job board is unique, your SEO will suffer.
If you’re not willing to create and publish unique content, you might not be ready to start a job board.