Feed Me, Need Me (Part 2): A Primer on Jobs Distribution

We’re back with Part 2 of our 2-part primer on jobs feeds. This week we’re talking about distribution. Need to catch up and read Part 1? Check out Feed Me, Need Me (Part 1): A Primer on Curating a Jobs Backfill

When you’re starting out or in the midst of running a job board, there comes a point when you think about how you’re distributing jobs posted to your board. Like curating a jobs backfill, you’ll have to make some choices and educate yourself on your options. Distributing jobs is essentially becoming the publisher of backfill that someone else uses, and in most cases, you’re paying others to send you candidates for the postings you distribute.


Part 2: Jobs Distribution

  1. What is jobs distribution?
  2. Why would I want to distribute jobs elsewhere?
  3. Is jobs distribution a money-maker or just a cost of operating a job board?
  4. What options or variations of jobs distribution will I come across?
  5. Pros and Cons of Distributing Jobs
  6. Distribute Responsibly

1. What is jobs distribution?

Jobs distribution happens after an employer hits “publish” on your board. A distributed job post is an ad that is published to other websites, job boards, aggregators, and/or social media channels beyond its originating job board. Different distribution channels may use different methods to send those jobs out into the world.

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2. Why would I want to distribute jobs elsewhere?

By distributing jobs from your site to other places where candidates view jobs, you can increase the visibility of those jobs, the traffic that reaches them, and the number of applications they receive. When you acquire new job seekers and re-market to those new users on your site, you can get further value through their return visits, and receiving additional applications from those candidates. Improving application rates to your postings can, in turn, become a saleable feature in your marketing messages to customers.

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3. Is jobs distribution a money-maker or just a cost of operating a job board?

Jobs distribution is going to cost you money, and it’s a good idea to build it into your budget as a part of marketing to candidates, especially if you’re just establishing your site. Most aggregators and networking services charge to distribute jobs from job boards. By linking to or re-publishing your jobs, they provide a service to you by delivering visitor traffic or job applications.

Jobs distribution is a service that publishes links to all your job posts or re-publishes them in whole, and is usually sold directly to recruiters and job boards. Most distributors let you set a maximum budget (in clicks per dollar, for example), to deliver job seeker traffic. In that model, it becomes crucial for you to monitor the traffic they deliver and charge you for.

In other cases, offering jobs distribution on a job-by-job basis (rather than all the jobs from your board being distributed together) can be an upsell to employers and recruiters posting to your board. But the key is still making sure you effectively manage your cost and profit margins.

In either model, the value you get in return for distributing jobs can be higher than the cost of distribution. If your goals are to increase your application rate on jobs, gain new job seekers, and deliver more value to employers, it’s a good idea to experiment with your job distribution choices to discover what options help you meet those goals.

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4. What options or variations of jobs distribution will I come across?

a. Format: XML, RSS, API

Depending on what technology you use to power your job board, you may be able to generate XML or RSS feeds. These feeds can then be sent to other websites for distribution.

RSS feeds are what you’ve probably encountered when subscribing to a blog or news site. XML feeds work similarly, but can contain and organize more information. XML feeds also allow for some customization of how that information is imported or exported.

An API lets another website or software talk to your site’s database directly, and pull job information in real-time. One of Careerleaf’s customers uses this type of technology to create what is essentially a mini job board on their Facebook page. It uses the Careerleaf API to generate job listings and embeds a job search feature.

b. Snippet vs Full Content

You’ll recall from our discussion on backfills that some backfill providers let you publish the entirety of a job post, while others only allow a short snippet before linking out.

The flip side of this is how your jobs appear on the sites that receive your job feeds, and how much job post content is published. Knowing what your jobs look like when they’re published elsewhere helps you plan the user experience from the moment a candidate clicks on the job.

The other consideration is the quality of the click. There are two schools of thought on this:

1. Full job content increases click quality as the candidate better understands the job details and is more likely to complete an application

2. Click quality is secondary to the quickly getting the visitor to the receiving website, with the logic that more views will equal more applications completed

Personally, my instinct is that full content and higher click quality is more important than click quantity with high bounce-rates and potentially low application rates, due to the misleading or uninformative nature of snippets of content. This is something of an inbound marketing model, that follows the idea that targeting the right visitor is more valuable than high volume traffic with poor conversion rates.

When our customers export XML feeds of their jobs, Careerleaf gives them full job descriptions to provide better quality clicks, the same way we advise publishing job backfills with full job content and SEO-friendly URLs.

c. PPC vs PPA

PPC means “pay-per-click” and PPA means “pay-per-applicant”. This ties in with the cost of paying for jobs distribution services. In some cases you will be charged every time a visitor clicks a link that leads from the distribution channel into the site where the job post lives.

Similar to paying for PPC-based advertising, it’s important to understand what constitutes a click so that you can understand the costs and how much you benefit from them. If you get thousands of clicks but they all bounce, you’re not getting much value out of the exchange. If you get few clicks but notice you get new job seeker sign-ups or applications as a result, it may be worth your money.

PPA is a newer, and less common, way to pay for job distribution. In this model, you only pay when the distribution of a job results in an application from a candidate being received. It’s potentially a more effective way to ensure you’re paying for something valuable, but depending on the type of job, the industry it’s in, and the difficulty to fill the role, the cost of a PPA model may sometimes be significantly higher than a PPC model.

Another element of the PPA model to consider, is that the candidate will probably bypass registering on your job board entirely. Some job distributors will send candidates directly to the employer – your customer may receive the application via email, for example – or the distributor may absorb the candidate into their own database system on its way to the employer/recruiter. In either case, while you are delivering candidates to your employers, you may not get new job seeker sign ups as a result, and your employers may experience some inconsistencies in how they receive and manage applications.

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5. Pros and Cons of Distributing Jobs

  • You help your customers get more exposure and applications for their jobs
  • You can sell distribution on a per-job basis as a value-added upsell to employers and recruiters
  • You can increase traffic to your site
  • You can gain new job seeker users after they discover your site
  • It’ll cost you money
  • It may require some experimentation before you can determine what distribution channels and methods yield the most value for your customers and your board
  • You can get “addicted” to paying for traffic. If you concentrate your efforts too much on distribution, and neglect other ways to drive job seekers to your board and provide value for your customers, you may find yourself stuck totally dependent on paying other businesses to deliver your traffic.
  • You may create an inconsistent experience for employers if using a PPA model

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6. Distribute Responsibly

When you distribute jobs, your responsibility as a publisher of jobs is greater, because it includes publishing content in more places than just your board. It’s important to know what those distributed jobs look like and how it may affect your customers’ employer brands and experience, as well as what the experience is like for job seekers, who will hopefully stick around and become a repeat user of your board. If you’re publishing job content on your website and elsewhere, take care of the process as best you can.

Make sure you understand the cost and value associated with distributing jobs. Don’t put all your jobs-promotion-eggs into one basket, lest your distribution channels dry up and leave you scrambling for traffic and applicants. Balance it out with marketing to your existing job seeker and customer databases, as well as marketing and reaching out into the industry, niche, or community that you serve to engage new users, as well as the old.

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