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You have dozens of job board questions – I have (a few) answers

job board questionsSometimes, job board questions pop up – particularly if you’re doing a webinar! A few weeks back I was lucky enough to host a webinar (sponsored by RealMatch). I talked about the various and sundry challenges facing job boards in the coming years. Judging from the number of attendees AND the number of questions, it was a smashing success – so thank you! I had a limited amount of time to respond to questions that day, but I did promise to try and answer as many as I could afterwards. Little did I know what this would entail! There were a LOT of questions.

Nonetheless, a promise is a promise – so below you see a decent percentage of the job board questions. I did not answer all – some were too vague, some were specific only to a particular site, and some were structured in such a way as to entail a book-length response. So, with that caveat and without further ado, here goes:

Q: How much video content are you seeing with job boards as far as video resumes and video interviews?

A: Very little. A few sites, such as GetHired and SparkHire, specialize in video resumes/profiles/interviews, but most sites either have never offered them, or have tried and dropped them. Why? As far as I can tell, employers are either skittish about the technology and/or liability, or they simply don’t see the need. I do see real value during the hiring process for using video interviews for certain types of positions.

Q: Job description challenge is decades old. Can you share any tips to get employers to improve their job descriptions?

A: Getting better job ads from employers is a never-ending challenge. There is often a disconnect between the hiring managers and those in charge of writing and placing the ads. Job boards that get the best results from their clients do so by: a) gathering and promoting the data on how good ads produce great results; b) showing their clients how to make the ads better; c) providing additional support materials (via white papers, case studies, webinars, etc.). Yes, it’s time consuming. But it produces better results – which often means more revenue and renewals.

Q: How important is content marketing for job boards?

A: I believe that content (other than job ads) is very important for job boards, for several reasons: a) it improves your ‘stickiness’ with job seekers; b) it improves your SEO; c) it provides additional opportunities for revenue; and d) it helps distinguish you from competitors. The catch? Good content takes time and effort – and you must continually refresh it. One solution? User-generated content.

Q: Can you talk about ways a site with an existing brand can work to strengthen it?

A: See the answer above re: content marketing. Also, look hard at your visuals – the site, the logo, the overall look and feel of every customer-facing thing you do. Are they coherent, attractive, and distinctive? Also, think about what kinds of things you want your site associated with: charities, contests, publications, etc.

Q: Do you think it is possible to gain critical mass with a brand new board from scratch, or would it be better to purchase another board and revise/promote?

A: It depends. If you’re going into an existing, crowded category, you may be better off purchasing a board. If you have a truly unique technology or approach, perhaps creating a new board is better. If you’re a content expert for the niche, creating a new board may make sense as well.

Q: for a med-large biz looking to build board, would you recommend Commercially available Off-The-Shelf software or build in-house?

A: Again, it depends. If you are not doing anything particularly unusual, AND you don’t have any in-house tech talent, you’re probably better off buying job board software (and remember, almost all vendors provide customization). Job board software is deceptively complex and hard to do well. On the other hand, if you have lots of in-house techies and lots of special demands, you may want to roll your own. Q: Am looking for a resume search engine for employers. I have custom fields such as security clearances, etc., that need to be added.

Q: How do you compete against Craigslist?

A: I wouldn’t. They are in a different world. If you’re losing your clients to Craigslist, you need to look hard at how you’re running your site.

Q: Question about RealMatch – do they cover the UK?

A: Not at this time – they are focused on the U.S. and Canada.

Q: Is it important to have a lot of advanced search options for job boards, or do they not necessarily matter?  What seem to be the most beneficial for candidates?

A: Search options are very important. Remember, the search engine is one of the primary tools you give job seekers to access your jobs – so you need to make it as flexible, powerful, and easy to use as possible. The traditional model of a ‘simple’ search box with an option to ‘expand’ to an advanced search page is good – and job seekers expect it. I also like the way Indeed and SimplyHired offer a left-side menu of additional search refinements – very easy to scan and use. How do you know if you’re getting it right? Look at your analytics – the number of searches, job views, and time spent per unique visit should all go up. If they aren’t, you need to do more.

Q: Where do you think job boards will be 5 years from now, extinct?

A: See this post – it sums up my thoughts nicely.

Q: Who pays better for backfill, Indeed or SimplyHired?

A: They’re comparable, in my experience.

Q: What are some of the most important metrics we can use to measure our job board?

A: The most important metrics are usually tied to candidate activity and engagement, in my opinion: number of unique visits, time spent per visit, number of pages per visit, number of jobs viewed per visit, resumes uploaded, jobs viewed per job search, and the ratio of job alerts to registered candidates. On the employer side, your renewal rate is most critical.

Q: Explain using LinkedIn for login

A: This is a convenience issue for job seekers. Rather than having to create a new username and password for your site, they can simply use their existing LinkedIn info. By making it easier – lowering the barrier – you should see more registrations and more usage.

Q: Do metatags and keywords still play a major role with the big search engines?

A: They still play a role, but they’re not as important as the overall site content and structure. So make sure not to focus exclusively on these 2 aspects.

Q: What is the best way to allow candidates the ability to share jobs via social media?

A: Really, if you allow them to share via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, you’ve covered the important ones. Depending on your niche, there might be some social media channels that are equally popular, and if so, you should include them, too. As always, follow the candidate!

Q: In light of Indeed kicking off job boards, where should we go to buy good quality traffic to keep our unique visitor counts up (notwithstanding improving SEO)

A: Indeed does not seem to be eliminating all job boards but it would probably be unwise for any job board to rely on them as a primary source of traffic. There are of course other aggregators, including TopUSAJobs, Juju, SimplyHired, and Jobs2Careers. These can all provide similar traffic. Also, I should mention that the sponsor of the webinar, RealMatch, has its own network of sites and can drive traffic to your site.

Q: Can you talk more about Mashups?

A: Mashups are just a new way to talk about combining different types of content and services into one site/service. So, for example, instead of a standard job site with a database of jobs and the ability to upload your resume, you might have a job board PLUS a HuffPost-style news area with user-generated content PLUS a Glass Door-style area that looks at employers from the job seeker’s view. What you decide to ‘mash up’ really depends on your audience – what would work best for them, keep them engaged over the long haul, and offer the best chances for monetization?

Q: what is your thoughts on the new Facebook app “Branch Out”  its new, any initial thoughts?

A: See my post on BranchOut.

Have more job board questions? Keep reading the Job Board Doctor blog!

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