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The year in job boards: 2009 – what we learned

job boards 2009It was an ugly, painful year. I haven’t talked to a single job board owner – not one – who saw revenue declines of less than 35 to 70 percent. Many had to lay off employees, cut benefits, or otherwise pull back. They weren’t alone, of course – almost every aspect of our economy (Goldman Sachs excepted) has suffered.

So, we’re agreed – 2009 sucked. But surely we learned a few things, right? Hmmm….

  1. Bailouts are for banks, not job boards (unless you’re Monster in Ohio, that is!).
  2. Ignore social media at your peril.
  3. Niche (and micro-niche) is where it’s at.
  4. Job boards aren’t dying – they’re evolving (but the ones that don’t evolve probably will die).
  5. People who write about “job boards dying” get great Twitter traction (say that 5 times fast!).
  6. Applicant tracking systems are still the bane of job boarders everywhere.
  7. It’s easier than ever to start a job board – and hard than ever to make money with one.
  8. The ‘Big 3’ are still the Big 3 (and aren’t you glad we have them to kick around?).
  9. Job aggregators are everywhere (haven’t I seen that job somewhere before?).
  10. Cheezhead’s snarky commentary made the recruiting world more enjoyable – we miss it!

What did you learn this year?

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Those really are some great lessons to observe, Jeff, nice recap. I think one of your comments you made on the BlogTalkRadio show this week could also be included here. Paraphrasing: No recruiter will ever state that any job board or any other media are as valuable as they want them to be.

    That is, recruiters are always looking for ways for talented, interested, ready to move candidates to jump into their boat… and only their boat. The major problem recruiters have with job boards is that EVERYBODY uses them… and I thought that was the primary benefit they offered all this time.

    One other observance I’ve made this year is how the incredible explosion in ways to connect with people via technology has affected the recruitment environment. Whole new technologies are being developed to manage the social media technologies, in an attempt to make order out of the chaos. If you haven’t seen it, check out this video:
    Absolutely amazing.

    The more ways there are to connect, the more difficult it is to find people. While these new technologies have amazing UI and UGC, are they really making for better resources, or just better looking resources?

    Job Boards have a place as long as the internet is a primary hub for information. It’s the same reason why classified ads in the newspaper were always valuable, as long as the newspaper was that primary hub for information.

  2. Evolution is necessary. We may not like it but in technology, you either embrace it or you fall behind – rather quickly.

    Thanks for your list here. Aggregators will evolve also – but I may just be a little prejudice. 😉

  3. Niche Job Boards – Yes – Also Discount Niche Job Boards. 2010 will be the start of the term “Discount Job Boards” as 1999 was for Niche Job Boards. But I am just saying that. Dean Davis – Discount Niche Job Boards – Since 1999

  4. Very interesting post.

    I would add that the lines between social media sourcing and job boards are becoming blurry with the introduction of sites like TweetMYJOBS and TweetAJob.

    And, that the job seeker app process has changed. In the old days, job seekers applied for jobs via the job board site and waited. Today, they find the job, then go to their network on Facebook or LinkedIn to get “referred” in, often bypassing the standard process. This skews downward, many of the stats recruiters rely on to check the success of job postings.

    Keep up the great job board commentary!

    Marci Reynolds
    J2B Marketing
    Job Seeker To Business™ Internet Marketing Services

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