Back in the early days of job boards, technology was fairly straightforward – you hired programmers, told them what you wanted, and they created it. As we moved past 2000, many job boards were adding features piecemeal, updating their sites occasionally, and generally moving forward in a hodgepodge fashion.
Job board software vendors first appeared around 1999, when Jobbex introduced its first pre-packaged offering. As the decade progressed, more vendors moved in, and at last count, I found 20 different companies competing in this market. Even better for job board operators is the fact that these software offerings cover a wide range of situations, from a 1-person startup to a full-scale multi-national board.
So what does this mean for established boards running proprietary software? First, understand that pre-packaged software makes it easier for new companies to enter your particular niche. Second, realize that a software company entirely devoted to job board software will – by necessity – continually upgrade its offering, adding new features and tweaks (Remember how Excel pushed Lotus 1-2-3 out of the spreadsheet market?). That inevitably puts pressure on everyone to improve their sites (which I think is ultimately a good thing).
Finally, most job board software packages have another built-in advantage over older proprietary systems – they’re new. They are built on more recent code platforms and are designed to incorporate a bevy of features that simply weren’t around in 1999 – or even 2005.
Of course, it’s not all wine and roses for pre-packaged systems. A job board that can afford to create fully customized software has the ability to add features that may not be part of the mix for a pre-packaged system. A customized site can also (theoretically) react quickly to technical or competitive changes in the market.
In my opinion, for most sites, it makes sense to take a hard look at your existing software platform – and then to examine the current job board software offerings. You may find, as with so many other aspects of your business, that it makes more sense to buy instead of build. The time you save might be well spent selling and marketing, instead of troubleshooting.
(Note: I am currently working on a job board software buyers guide that will be available in the next 30-45 days NOW. Check it out here! If you have used or are currently using a pre-packaged system, please send me your thoughts and comments!)[Want to get Job Board Doctor posts via email? Subscribe here.].