Job Board Revenue Models for Publishers – Part 1 of 2

Last week we discussed what online publishers with job boards today look like, as well as what particular advantages and disadvantages they may have in the job board industry.

Online magazines, blogs, news and media websites have a variety of options for using a job board to generate revenue. Some of these revenue models are dependent on their technology solutions, the presence of print publications, and internal business structuring. Of course, not every publisher job board will fit neatly into these categories, and you may see your business reflected in more than one.

This week we’ll take a look at the Job Page/Hands-Off Model, and the Print Sales Companion model.

The Job Page/Hands-Off Model

This model has been around for a while, but may be dying off over time. The concept behind this model is a job page created by adding some code given to you by a technology provider. You are essentially embedding your technology provider’s job posting system and job search engine onto your website. With this set up, you get a portion of the revenue if someone buys a post through your site, but you’re also serving as just another portal for entry to your vendor’s aggregated pool of jobs, candidates, and employer accounts.


The Pros:

  • Low Cost & Low Risk – You typically don’t pay for such a service of this kind, and don’t have any obligation to produce sales or results for employers.
  • Low/No Maintenance – you can set it up and never touch it again. Since it’s not costing you anything, there is no pressing need to manage or optimize your job page.


The Cons:

  • “Pocket Change” Revenue – You’re splitting your revenue with your vendor, and the hands-off approach usually results in only the occasional sale, with small amounts of incremental revenue.1
  • Shared or Diminished Branding – Your job board is labelled with somebody else’s brand on your website. It’s also easy for users to be directed away from your site to the main aggregator or network you’re connected with.
  • Shared Data – Your customer database is shared with other publishers using the same service. This means your competitors and many other businesses will have access to the same contacts you gain through your job board.


The Job Page/Hands-Off Model is low risk, low cost, but doesn’t give you much room to profit, experiment, customize, or expand.

1 This is a huge loss when you look at the revenue to traffic ratios of our customers versus those of publishers using this model. After the collapse of Simply Hired we got an inside view of some major publishers’ numbers and were astonished at how little they made in revenue.

The Print Sales Companion Model

This model is one used by publishers whose primary focus is on their print publications, but have a digital presence as well. The online job board is an additional distribution channel for the recruitment-centered advertising sales made through their print publication, with online job postings function as as an upsell to employers and recruiters.

The Pros:

  • Focus – By primarily targeting sales from employers who buy print ads, you can be laser-focused on attracting candidates to your job board.
  • Existing Sales Channels – You can leverage your existing sales channels and current roster of customers to make online sales by providing upsell opportunities. Selling online job posts as part of a package with print recruitment ads lets you add further value for your customers.
  • White-Labelling – Using a solution that lets you showcase your brand on your job board means you take advantage of the established reputation of your print brand, which lends credibility in the eyes of job seekers and employers.
  • Diverse Revenue Streams – Depending on what technology you use to power your job board, you can expand the types of products and services you sell. In addition to job posts and featured listings, using job backfills, monetizing your candidate database and establishing referral programs to connect job seekers with career services and employers with recruiting services can also add to your job board’s total revenue.

The Cons:

  • Missed Opportunities – If you’re focused on selling to your print advertisers to the exclusion of gaining new customers through your online job board, you’ll miss out on opportunities to grow.
  • Little Ventured, Little Gained – Similar to the Job Page/Hands-Off Model, if a publisher treats its job board as a source of occasional, incremental revenue only, there is less incentive market the job board online and sell through it directly.
  • Fulfillment – Because your sales are focused on convincing customers to adopt not just one medium (print), but two (print + online), fulfilling sales goals can be challenging depending on customer needs and expectations, your sales team, and the technology you use.

Optimization Tip:

The revenue generated through this model is directly proportional to the value you provide. Obviously, recruitment ads need to deliver candidates, but some of your customers might also value the ability to showcase their employer brand or use candidate management tools on your job board.


The Print Sales Companion model is a great way to leverage existing customers and relationships with print advertisers. This model works well in conjunction with a focus on marketing your job board to candidates from your existing readership and beyond. But the possibilities don’t end there – by providing candidate management tools and employer branding opportunities, you can create more value for employers and sell products and services to them directly online.

Stay tuned for next week, when we’ll cover two more revenue models for publisher job boards. In the mean time, check out last week’s post on the advantages and challenges publishers have with their job boards.