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Your job board is not only a web site – get used to it

web siteBack in the olden days, a person built a web site, did various things to attract visitors (ads, blimps, billboards, TV – you name it), and then monetized those visitors. The web was all about driving traffic to a web site.

No category of sites were better at this activity than job boards. Remember those wacky Monster, TheLadders, and CareerBuilder ads? It seems like it was just yesterday…well, at least last year.

Times have changed. Yes, you still need a web site – but it’s not necessarily where everything (or even most things) happens. The web has migrated to mobile devices. The web has migrated to your television. The web has migrated to your car. If Google has its way, the web will soon push its way between the ‘real world’ and your eyes.

These changes have significant implications for job boards. You can argue that these changes can and should spur some serious introspection – and you’d be right. Your job board site is still important – but it’s not the only thing that’s important. In fact, you should think of your site as just one part of your overall system. Let’s break it down:

  • Push versus pull: Emailed job alerts have long been used by job boards to feed appropriate open positions to job seekers. The existence of job alerts is both a matter of convenience (for the job seeker) and necessity (for the job board  – it can’t count on having a job seeker return to the site). Job alerts push jobs out, rather than relying on ads and promotions that pull job seekers to the site. A few sites have migrated job alerts to SMS. Even fewer offer customized Twitter or Facebook feeds – despite the fact that many (if not most) of their candidates are on these platforms. Ask yourself – why make the candidate rely on your web site? Why not bring the ‘good stuff’ to him?
  • Mobile migration: A lot of that web traffic you enjoyed even a few years ago has migrated to mobile devices. Has your site? I’m not talking apps here – I’m talking functionality and visibility. If your candidate is sitting on a light rail train, bound for her home in the ‘burbs, can she search, bookmark, and apply for jobs? Do your jobs show up where she spends her time – like Pinterest, her favorite political blog, or at the bottom of her free copy of Angry Birds? No? Why not?
  • Personalization: Google and Facebook know everything about their users (or at least they think they do). They give advertisers the tools to micro-target and delivered very tailored messages to specific audiences. Are you taking advantage of this – or are you simply using your ‘one size fits all’ promo? Life is too short and ads are too expensive to ‘go generic’.
  • Personalization part 2: Does your site know its users? Try this: wander over to Amazon on whatever device you prefer. See if Amazon recognizes you. Most likely it will – and it doesn’t make you sign in, flash a badge, or endure a retina scan. So why does your job board? Forget web site. Forget technical. What you want your candidates to experience is a relationship – they are recognized, they are acknowledged, the information you know about them is used to make their (work) life better. Remember – you are not a job board. You are a service.
  • A new kind of web: Getting past a web-site-centric mindset means building a new web in your head – a web that visualizes the service you provide (linking candidates to employers) as transportable, personalized, and distributed. Your web site isn’t a job board. Your job board isn’t a web site. Instead, you deliver a distributed service to employers and candidates wherever they are, whenever they need it, however they need it. Sounds a bit ‘cloudish’, doesn’t it?

The web has always and will continue to change. Those who do not change along with it end up scratching their heads, wondering where they went wrong.

Change is a choice – your choice.

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