The days of “build it and they will come” are gone for online-based businesses, if they ever existed. Older job boards in particular seem to struggle the most when it comes to the ways that user experience expectations, changes in SEO, and mobile-friendliness have drastically changed their industry over the past two decades. But some brand new job boards can run into trouble as well.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you can make in running a recruiting site? How do job boards screw up their chances at success? Here are a few ways that job boards sometimes sabotage themselves.
1. Never Surveying or Re-marketing to Your Customers and Users
You don’t know what you don’t know, and neither do your customers and candidates. Maybe you offer great referrals to job search tools and services, but none of your candidates know about them. Re-marketing to your candidates – that is, marketing to candidates after they’ve been inactive – is a great opportunity to keep them engaged and help your customers reach more candidates.
The same can be said of re-marketing to employers who have used your service once or twice, but haven’t been repeat customers. Reminding them of what you offer, providing updates on candidate data and traffic can keep your brand on their minds. It’s also a great opportunity to learn more about who they are, what they want, and what they like or dislike about your board. Information like organizational size, job openings per year, their budget for recruiting, where else they advertise or whose services they also use, can provide vital insights into your customer base and how you can meet their needs.
Understanding candidates can also be tremendously empowering for job board owners, arming them with info on employment status, industry focus, search methods, and other key knowledge points that can be used to inform and market to their customers. Getting a sense of how job seekers, that group of most-important/least-important users, are using your website and how you can adjust your offerings to help connect them with employers, is nothing to sneeze at.
Not getting to know the employers, recruiters, and candidates you deal with, is a mistake that will cost you. By reaching out to inform and to learn, you establish your brand as helpful, interested, and active, and you can benefit from the engagement and knowledge growth that can follow.
2. Never Crunching the Numbers
We know we’re preaching to the choir here, but money matters. And while you may have a sense that costs are piling up or that you’re doing well – you need to know the details. An analysis doesn’t need to be something drastic and intimidating, involving algorithms and Big Data, but it even basic accounting can reveal crucial insights into your business. Do you know how much cash is going in versus going out, where it goes, where it doesn’t go, and how the website is performing?
Analytics for job boards has some metrics that are unique compared to other online businesses, but it boils down to tracking the different types of transactions occur. (Check out our Quick Crash Course in Analytics for Job Boards.)
Together with the data on how your board is performing, you also need to account for money coming in and money coming out. What types of products, services, or packages are you selling? You also need to account for other types of revenue, such as display ads or revenue from backfill feeds. Then, list out the operating costs for your business, such as website hosting, software, people you employ, or paid tools/services you may use.
Not taking the time to gather and analyze the numbers deprives a job board owner of the opportunity to look at the big picture of how their business is doing, where they can reduce costs or increase revenue, and where opportunities may be lurking.
3. Always Assuming It’s Do or Die
Maybe you’re struggling to run your recruitment or job board business. Maybe profits are declining, you’ve lost interest, or you just don’t have room in your life for the business anymore. So, what do you do? Run it into the ground and suffer? Shut it down? Neglect it and let it be overrun with spambots, a poor reflection of the success you once had?
But what about selling it? I don’t know about you, but I’ve watched enough HGTV shows to know that a house for sale will get better offers with a fresh coat of paint, fixing leaky faucets, and clearing out the clutter to make sure potential buyers can see the house for its good qualities, instead of its flaws.
Selling off a business isn’t always that different. Sure, you can sell it “as-is”, a “handyman’s dream”, but you’ll get less for it. And I suspect few people willing to buy a business will look at an old job board and think “a web developer’s dream” or “You can finally spend hours trying to extract decades of data and clean it up!”
If you are thinking of calling it quits on your job board, don’t make the mistake of letting it die without first evaluating the ROI in fixing it up and putting it on the market. A turn-key job board (with a solid brand, a database of customers and candidates, and room to grow) is going to be worth more than a fixer-upper.