5 Steps to Making More Money With Your Job Board

For job boards that find themselves struggling to retain their past successes in the ever-changing world of recruiting, there are five core things you need to do to stay competitive and make more money.

1. Be Niche. Start Niche. Become Niche. Get… Niche-ier.

Generalist job boards – those that deal with all types of jobs on a national or international level – have the most competition. Not having a niche makes it really hard to stand out when it comes to your marketing, your SEO, and your overall value proposition to customers. (If you expect someone to search for “jobs” and find you on the first page of search results next to Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, Glassdoor, Craigslist, Facebook, and other big established job boards, you’re going to have a long, expensive, and difficult road ahead of you.) 

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Your Guide to Planning a Job Board Tech Update

Established job boards have many advantages in the marketplace – a solid brand, a customer base, job seekers, and insight into their niche about the problems that need solving and what does – and doesn’t – sell. With all that going for them, it’s easy to understand why job board owners who have been around for a number of years might be apprehensive about updating their job board solution. If it ain’t broke, don’t fit it, right?

The trouble is that many older job boards have custom-built solutions that have begun to visibly age or are no longer meeting the expectations of job seekers and employers. And even though they might see their profits shrinking as they struggle to keep up with shifting expectations and changing technology, it can be difficult to make a big change when you’ve become accustomed to your current solution or business model. Reasons for updating your job board tech may vary, but regardless of what you do want to change, you really don’t want to risk losing what is working for you.

So how can job board owners reduce the risk involved in making a big change to their technology? I’ve outlined four steps below that can help you prepare and plan for updating or switching your job board solution.

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Does Your Job Board Have a Defined Niche?

The online recruiting industry is a big and bustling place, full of competition, but small job boards that are niche have a lot going for them.

Many new job boards can find themselves struggling to stand apart from both older, more established job boards and those mammoth-sized, generalist platforms. One of the questions we encourage job board entrepreneurs to ask themselves is, “Am I niche enough?”

This blog post will outline how new job boards can think about being niche, explore ways to further specialize, and highlight a few helpful tools that may help.

How to Get Nichier

If your chosen niche is too broad (for example, a whole industry), your first step may be to look for patterns and trends among your jobs, customers, and candidates. Let’s take a look at some dimensions you can explore in your quest to get nichier.

  • Industry and Job Function: These are very likely your first steps towards going niche, but don’t neglect the possibilities of combining the two. Many types of jobs are found across industries, so look for high demand or under-served combinations. (For example, accountants in the nonprofit sector, or event planners in the hospitality industry.)
  • Region: This is probably the best way to get more niche. Instead of trying to conquer the globe or your entire country, try starting with a city or a state/province/county with which you already have some experience and familiarity, or where it’s possible for you to do in-person networking, promote your job board, and build relationships.
  • Contract Types: I suspect this will continue to be an important way that both candidates and employers will narrow their searches for jobs and talent. Part-time jobs, summer jobs, internships, seasonal work, freelance/short-term contracts, or shift work are all examples of types of work contracts.
  • Pay Categories: Similar to contract types, but still worth exploring as a potential niche factor, is types of pay. Recruiting hourly workers vs contractors and freelancers can be quite different, as can recruiting for those getting paid $40-$60k per year vs those in the $200-$300k pay bracket.
  • Qualifications: Many jobs (like driving, construction, engineering, childcare, etc.) require specific types of certifications or licenses. In other cases, employers may prefer candidates with particular types of backgrounds. For example, an employer hiring for a finance role may want someone with a degree in statistics over one in business, or a business communications job may benefit from someone with a liberal arts degree.
  • Personal Traits: This is where you can really get creative. Some people may have specific needs or interests, and that may cross over with certain demographics.
    • Demographics: Employers today are increasingly conscious of workforce diversity and may need help reaching and recruiting women, people with disabilities, and minorities or marginalized groups (for example, LGBTQ people, or people belonging to specific ethnic or cultural groups).
    • Past Experience/Personal Interests: Switching careers is pretty common today, so why not target a particular type of transition, such as former athletes turned writers, or former educators turned financial advisors. Certain hobbies and passions might also be a great way to harness a particular market – some online gamers might take to quality assurance work, or cosplayers might find careers in the fashion industry.
    • Specific Work Needs/Preferences: Many claim that we’re in a candidate’s market today and top talent will go after the opportunities that suit their lifestyles. Focusing on employers that offer remote work, flexible hours, work/life balance, or great healthcare plans could be a great way to go more niche.
  • Employer Traits: It’s not just about what candidates want, and looking for things that make some employers distinct, their size and type of business, or on particular types of hiring paint points can help you narrow your target market.
    • Values: Some organizations pride themselves on being environmentally-friendly, committed to diversity, or being socially conscious and encouraging volunteerism among its employees. Or maybe their whole thing is on-site catering and ping-pong tables. These employers want to connect with candidates who will share their values and enjoy their culture.
    • Size and Business Needs: There can be big gaps between small-to-medium sized businesses who are relying on email and spreadsheets to organize their recruiting, and large companies with lots of roles to fill but need to get targeted exposure to their jobs. Focusing on solving the problems for a particular type of employer is a good way to go niche.
    • Hiring Gaps: What are the types of problems that employers in your niche are experiencing? Whether it’s employee retention, poor candidate experience, or employer branding, addressing these pain points can help you specialize.

Tools to Research Your Niche

Research tools:

  • Google’s Ad Preview Tool lets you preview what search results look like – you can enter keywords, and the location and version of Google being used (in Canada it’s google.ca, in the United Kingdom, it’s google.co.uk, etc.)
  • Google Trends & Keyword Planner can give you insights into how popular certain keywords and searches are
  • Stats & Demographics – Our guide to researching what social media platforms will be the most effective at reaching your target market has some tips and links to sites you can use to access demographic information.
  • SEO Tools – SEO.com lists eight tools they suggest using to research your target market on the web.

We always love hearing about job boards discovering and establishing their niche. If you have a great niche job board story, drop us a line!

Association Job Boards for Non-Dues Revenue Streams

Membership-based organizations tend to rely heavily on the dues or fees that members pay to join and access the benefits offered by such associations.

Membership fees can vary greatly, depending on their niche or industry, and on whether the association is a for-profit or non-profit organization. Non-Dues sources of revenue for associations also traditionally include events or conferences, sponsorship, selling or reselling education/training courses, fundraising or donations, and grants.

Online career centres or job boards also prove to be effective at generating revenue while adding value for both members and industry partners, and help associations stay true to their mission.

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The API: Your New Best Friend In Recruitment Tech

API. Ape-y Eye? Application Program Interface. It’s a thing. A big thing. It’s a thing you should know about. If programming languages aren’t your thing, don’t worry. That’s what I’m here for: cutting through the buzzwords to help us all understand what it is and how it impacts recruitment technology.

An API acts like a translator between two pieces of web-based software.

For example: let’s say you use a third-party application to track and analyze how many followers you have on Twitter. When you create your account, it doesn’t ask you to enter your email and a username or password. All you have to do is log into your Twitter account, and give the app permission to talk to your Twitter data.

An API does that.

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Turning Your Job Board into an Online Community

Job boards are a tricky business. They have two types of customers, and in many ways they aren’t buying what you offer–they’re buying what they have to offer each other.

As a job board owner, you are the facilitator, the venue through which they are able to find each other. You create and maintain a space that attracts both parties.

Despite evidence that job boards are a significantly big, if not the biggest, source of hires, many employers and recruiters don’t always feel like they get their money’s worth. They want quality applicants. If you’re not attracting those applicants to your board, you’re never going to make your recruiting customers happy.

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Choosing a Niche for Your Job Board

For recruiters, using a job board is one of the most effective actions to take to find qualified candidates for an open position. If you’re thinking about creating a job board yourself, it may make sense to choose a smaller niche to focus on in order to attract the highest quality recruiters and candidates alike. Niche boards allow you to have a more refined marketing strategy, and to get to know the demands of your clients inside and out for a better product. Here are a few factors to think about as you compare potential niche areas for your job board.

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