Stepping Up Your Game to Compete with the Big Guys

On Halloween we blogged about how the greatly exaggerated death of job boards may in fact be a kind of renaissance (or Zombiepocalypse), given how many not-a-job-boards are out there expanding their services into the very much job board-like territory. (Again, it’s not what you call it that’s important, it’s the service of publishing and selling job ads and candidate/resume database access, among other things.)

And with that, there is the worry that smaller job boards, such as niche, regional, or even internal or company-specific career sites may find themselves outmatched by the Big Guys. It is a real concern not just for recruiters and hiring managers, but for those who provide services in the online recruitment and job search space, and it’s not one to be laughed at.

The natural advantage of a site that caters to a niche category, be it a particular industry, contract type (for example, remote jobs or part-time jobs), or specific types of workers with roles like nurses or pilots. Their candidates are already interested in the type of roles advertised on their site, and are far more likely to be qualified for their jobs than the masses on larger, generalist websites. The end result is that while advertising a position on a niche board may result in fewer applications, 41% of recruiters rank niche job boards as resulting in higher quality candidates. This board owner points out that companies may even shorten their time to hire using niche sites, because less of it is wasted sorting through irrelevant candidates.

To be clear, no one is saying the larger sites don’t have value–clearly, they do. But there’s also a great value in cultivating a community around an independent careers site that serves a particular audience. And when that audience is engaged and active, it has the potential to be a fantastic resource and ready-made talent pool for recruiters and employers.

Alright, so we know that online recruitment sites who specialize and develop their audience of job seekers can provide great value to employers, and focused job seekers can increase their chances of meaningfully engaging with employers.

But can your awesome-but-underdog careers site really step up their game and compete with the likes of LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster?


Competing doesn’t mean you’ll be pulling in the same kind of dough and traffic those guys do, but you can successfully compete for their business and the talent that frequent those sites.


1)     By going mobile
2)     By providing a good user experience
3)     By giving candidates a reason to stick around

There are more ways to increase your competitiveness, but those are the basics.

So how do you want to compete?