The most common revenue models for job boards

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NOTE: The Doctor is taking the week off. In the meantime, here is a post from 2010 that continues to be one of the most popular ever. Wonder why? 🙂

I’ve been cataloging job boards for the past two years (for obvious reasons), and frankly, I’ve been surprised at how many sites rely on candidates for their primary revenue stream. Making money, of course, is always a primary focus for job board operators; after all, job boards are businesses, and if businesses don’t turn a profit, they disappear.

So inevitably, anyone entering the industry will ask: “How can you make money with a job board?” The answer is, well, both simple and complicated. But the bottom line is to solve your customer’s problems – right?:

Simple: Job boards have two core audiences: employers and job seekers. So most job sites will focus on one of those two groups – and most will choose the employer. Why? The employer has the ability to pay and the need to fill. Yes, as noted above, some sites focus on job seekers – but for every 1 site that is a ‘candidate-pay’ site, there are 10 that are ’employer-pay’.

Complicated: Ok, enough of the easy stuff. The devil is in the details! Let us chronicle the many ways that job boards charge employers and job seekers for their services.

Employers:

  • Job postings: far and away the most common revenue source
  • Resume access: the most typical ‘#2’, although the advent of LinkedIn and other social media have made this less popular
  • Highlighted job listings: Enhanced with fonts, images, search results location, and so on
  • Site advertising: Banners, buttons, tile ads, and everything in between – the traditional web-based visual ad
  • Company profiles: Enhanced, with logos, video, you name it – a spotlight on the employer
  • Targeted candidate emails: A custom email that is sent to a subsection of the registered job seeker lists
  • Newsletter advertising: Text or image (if, of course, the job board has a newsletter!)
  • Social media extensions: This can be as grand as the new Dice Talent Network or as simple as ‘Tweeting’ the employer’s jobs
  • Cross posting: Often included in the base price, but sometimes an add-on; job board posts the employer’s jobs to additional locations
  • Packages: Combining any of the above elements

Job seekers:

  • Membership fee: some sort of monthly or annual fee to access job listings and (possibly) related services
  • Visibility: promotes the job seeker’s resume in some way to increase the likelihood an employer will respond
  • Reports, etc.: Usually e-books on job hunting, interviews, resumes, salary surveys, etc.
  • 3rd party services: the classic example is the resume writing service; the job board will take a revenue split of what the 3rd party makes

Then there are what I would term as ‘miscellaneous’ revenue streams: AdSense, affiliates, and other types of revenue usually associated with how much activity the site generates.

What did I miss? What other ways are there to make money with your job board? Tell me!

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. WIEBE MULDER

    HOW ABOUT A “TECHNOLOGY FEE” OR “CONNECTION FEE” FOR AUTOMATED POSTING THROUGH AN ATS OR MULTI POSTER ON A FREEMIUM BOARD. ALSO CHARGE FOR HAVING APPLICANTS APPLY ON THE LANDING PAGE OF THE EMPLOYER (IN THE FREEMIUM MODEL ONLY BY EMAIL). WORKS FOR US ON SOME BOARDS IN THE NETHERLANDS.

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