You want to start a job board, but you’ve asked yourself some tough questions and realize you may need to do some legwork before you’re ready to go all in. Don’t lose heart – Careerleaf’s pre-launch plan for job boards should help you reach your goal.
If you decided you’re not ready to launch yet – look at the reasons why and turn them into milestones along the path to starting a profitable job board business. The criteria you’re using to judge whether or not you are ready likely involves four key areas: market research, candidates, employers, and branding.
Build a Candidate Following
To get employers to be your customers, you need to prove you can deliver the kind of candidates they want to hire. To do that, you need to establish a connection with the candidates you and your would-be customers want to attract. There are a lot of great, cheap ways you can start community-building before you launch your job board, including:
- Social media: share content, resources, and advice with the candidates you want to target. Take advantage of the hashtags, groups, lists, and search functions that social media platforms provide to discover and engage with the online community in your target industry. Interact with people and start providing value now.
- Blogging: plant your flag and start creating your own valuable content and resources. You can also contribute content to other industry blogs to expose your brand to wider audiences in your market.
- Start a Group or Mailing List: you might already be in the habit of finding and sharing amazing jobs within your space – why not start a social media group or mailing list to share them with subscribers? This is especially valuable, because people who have opted in to this service are more likely to want to use the amazing job board you’re going to launch.
Connect with Employers
It’s a good idea to start building relationships with employers early on. They’re a resource you will rely on, not just for your post-launch revenue, but they can also help you build your candidate following and keep your industry knowledge up to date. Some ways to connect with employers pre-launch include:
- Interview them for your content: since you’re already putting together resources and content for candidates, ask to them for the best advice they have to give candidates, what they look for in who they hire, and about their struggles and challenges in recruiting. Don’t be shy about your job board ambitions, either – let them know where you’d like the relationship to go.
- Sponsorship/Advertising Opportunities: ask employers if they would be interested in advertising in your newsletter or on your blog. It’s a great way to test how engaged your job seeker following is, and will help your sales when you launch.
- Pre-Sales: offer an exclusive, value-packed package for employers who buy before before you launch which lets them be first-to-market to your candidates.
Market Research – Know Your Niche
Let’s say you’ve tried some of the above, but you’re not getting much traction. It might be that your target market is too broad. Do some more research on your niche – is there a sub-group that is underserved or who has highly valued skills?
- Do the math: numbers and statistics on employment trends, demographics, and industry trends can reveal a lot. Is there a skills shortage? Is there an industry that’s drying up but whose workers have transferable skills? What roles are most people in your niche working in? How many Google searches are there per month for the roles and/or regions you plan to cater to?
- Networking: talk to people, go to events, and find out what’s helping or hurting their careers and what kind of trends or challenges their industry is facing.
- Job Search: is everybody trying to hire for the same role? Do job postings stay up for months on end or get re-posted regularly? What roles aren’t posted very often? Draw up a few job seeker personas and try searching as if you were them – how easy or hard is it to find the jobs they want? This experience can help you discover the pain-points or frustrations that your target candidates are having, and what may drive them to use your future job board.
Branding – Don’t Let it Stop You
Branding is important, but if you can’t settle on a name, logo, or domain, don’t let that stop you from getting started. If you’re not 100% married to your branding, here are a few ways you can avoid making it an obstacle:
- Use Your Name – if you don’t know what your company brand will be yet, use your own name. Establishing your personal brand first can give your job board’s brand credibility when it launches.
- Let it Evolve – Start off with one brand, and if you later decide to tweak it or completely change it later on, that’s okay. Domains can be re-directed and usernames can be changed. Plenty of businesses have re-branded and lived to tell the tale.
- Involve Your Community – engage your candidates and employers to get direct feedback on your branding as you create it. You could even turn it into a promotional campaign to drive traffic or behavior on your job board. (“Vote on our logo poll, and you’ll be entered to win…”)
So there you have it – if you’re not quite ready to launch your job board, try out our suggestions to help you get there.