Job board networks: the idea that’s never gone away

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In the beginning, there was the job board, and the candidates rejoiced. So many jobs! So many locations! So much easier than paper.

The employers liked it, too.

But after a while, candidates realized that general boards were, well….general. They discovered that many (er, most) jobs were inapplicable to their interests. So they asked the job boards to make things easier. “Help us find just the jobs we want!”

Job board operators responded in a variety of ways:

  • Improved search options (i.e., searching by location, industry, skills, etc.)
  • Saved searches (so candidates didn’t have to recreate the wheel every time)
  • Job alerts (instead of searching every day, candidates could set up search criteria and then let the job board email results to them)
  • Segmenting the job site (i.e., areas for different industries, levels of job seeker, and so on)

But many job board operators saw another path: the job board network. Instead of trying to jam every type and level of job into a single site, why not create a network of job boards? Each board would focus on an industry, or type of candidate, or location. This path held another attraction for job board owners: they could leverage the investment in technology and candidate acquisition for their original site, and spread those investments across multiple sites.

It was (and is) a good idea. Here are a few well-established job site networks:

There are many, many more. In fact, one of the bigger job board industry stories of 2010 was the launch of the .jobs ‘Universe’ – basically, a very large (40,000 sites and counting) job board network. The only difference in this network is its scope (although Beyond’s site network is huge and better established, covering every imaginable job title).

So if job networks are so great, why doesn’t everyone do them? Well…they’re not as easy as they look. Running 30 sites, even on the same technology base, is not the same as running one site. Marketing and sales also becomes more challenging, and customer service is more significant, as you may have employers posting on multiple sites. Also, it takes a special mindset to run a network of sites – it’s a step up from a single site, and not everything can be automated.

Yet job board networks persist and thrive, generating significant income for their owners and providing more targeted job hunting experiences for candidates. I expect that they will continue to evolve and thrive for many years to come.

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Job board networks: the idea that’s never gone away -- Topsy.com

  2. Gary

    I am about to enter the ‘job post’ industry with my project. There are some great platforms available outhere.I waited 2 years before making my decision to launch.The advancment in software has been amazing to watch. Its not expensive either , you can have fully bespoke job board tailored to your requirments & development to look and feel professional with a fantastic CMS .for under 1k
    with good SEO (my site currently top 20 for ‘Jobs in Brighton’) & ranking higher on a daily/weekly basis,.
    My site is currently using wordpress, the transition will happen in next 2-3 weeks.
    with the official launch in march.
    I look forward to my launch, its been very challenging this last 2 years,exciting too.
    if i were to recommend a job board package it would be http://bit.ly/9izzEK
    The best on the market in my opinion for under 1k .
    Great post
    Gary
    http://JobsInBrighton.net official launch march

  3. Matt Wells

    Hi,

    Interesting post, as a result of a merger I have set up a small niche network of job boards around roles which involve the use of the CAD and 3D software.

    I have a ‘horizontal’ site called http://www.CADjobhunter.com which covers all roles across all industries, then from that there are 3 ‘vertical’ sites which work off CADjobhunter which are more industry focussed.

    1. DEVELOP3D Jobs (http://jobs.develop3d.com) which is focussed on the Product Design and Mechanical Engineering sector
    2. AEC Magazine Jobs (http://jobs.aecmag.com) which specialises in the Architectural, Civil Engineering and Construction markets
    3. http://www.3Djobhunter.com which operates within the digital content creation industry (animation, computer games, design visualisation)

    All roles appear on all sites, but the vertical sites default to their chosen industry.

    One of the great benefits i am finding is the ability to share marketing costs as well as allowing candidates profiles and CV’s to go in one larger pot enabling those with transferable skills between industries to be found more easily by recruiters.

    Would love to hear more discussions around this.

  4. Mick Wist

    Great post – the comments really speak to the core challenges that exist for networks of niche job boards.

    At the Locate Jobs Network, we’ve taken a hyper-niche approach with our network of niche job boards and have so far been able to keep the entire network (3000+ job boards) on a proprietary platform. As the network of sites has grown over the years, we’ve kept an eye on the possibility of moving to an out-of-the-box/open source CMS platform, but we haven’t made the jump yet. We’ve always erred on the side of “lean and mean” and thus opted not to offer some of the more common bells and whistles on our job boards. But the response has been almost entirely positive to the streamlined approach.

    Our biggest challenges currently involve determining relevance for accurate cross-posting among various niche boards, with the idea being to provide maximum exposure while still keeping the individual search funnels as small and targeted/relevant as possible.

    Ultimately, as we offer CV/resume database access and look to add more robust functionality (mobile apps, etc), we may be forced to explore different CMS options. I’d be interested to learn more about functionality that’s possible through existing add-ons and customisation of various CMS solutions for job boards. This site appears to be a very strong resource for the types of issues we deal with on a daily basis. Looking forward to exploring further.

  5. NIck

    Great post Jeff, i am in the process of setting up a semi niche network of job boards and its nice to see other people who have made the push and gone ‘network’ as well. Interesting that you mention networks run less on automatic and use more a human touch when compared to the larger job boards as this is the approach we have taken to allow more flexibility to our customers and more control over our websites.

  6. Michael Carrillo

    Jeff, very interesting post. I currently have a very robust job board http://www.cpgjobs.com in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry better known as the CPG industry.
    We pretty much own the space. We have not begun to network with other boards yet, but I know that this something I would like to pursue. What makes us unique is our personal service to our employers and our members. We are doing our best to take this to the next level.

  7. Mark Alderton

    Launching a job board sounds easy but actually it requires a lot of work and a lot of money.

    http://www.cvwow.com have invested thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours into the technology behind their growing job board and it is now (18 months in) being recognised as one of the fastest growing job boards in the world. CvWow are now a well established fixed price recruitment organisation that offer unique advertising solutions and an award winning job seeker platform.

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