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Introducing the JobBoardGeek Podcast

JobBoardGeek PodcastWhat the world needs now is another podcast, right? Well, maybe so – maybe the JobBoardGeek podcast. I’ve been thinking about doing a podcast for a while, but it took the prodding of Steven Rothberg and Chad Sowash to make the Doctor actually get moving on it! (Thanks, Steven and Chad!!). But why, in a world with tens of thousands of podcasts would you want to listen to another one? A few reasons:

  • JobBoardGeek is 100% about the business of connecting candidates and employers. Nothing else. In other words, it’s about what you do.
  • JobBoardGeek is useful – I want you to take away at least a few nuggets of good info from every episode.
  • JobBoardGeek is amusing – notice I didn’t say ‘entertaining’! My co-host Steven Rothberg and myself refuse to take the industry (or ourselves) very seriously. Life’s too short.
  • JobBoardGeek is compact. Each episode is around 20 minutes.
  • JobBoardGeek is enlightening. We will talk to folks from all areas of our industry – job board owners, suppliers of tools, analysts – you name it. We aim to open your mind to new revenue models, new tools, and useful tricks and tips.

So check it out. Our first episode gives you a little background and the map forward. Let me know what you think!



0:00:03.2 Jeff Dickey-Chasins: Hello. This is Jeff Dickey-Chasins and I’m welcoming you to Job Board Geek. It’s the podcast about the business of connecting candidates and employers. And today, I’m here with my co-host, Steven Rothberg of College Recruiter. Hey, Steven.

0:00:20.2 Steven Rothberg: Good morning, Jeff. Good to see you.

0:00:22.1 JD: Yeah, good to see you too. It’s that time of the year where things are starting to get colder and it’s hard for those of us of a certain age to move as quickly as we used to, but it’s great to be here with you this morning, and I’ve got a heater going, so everything is good.


0:00:40.4 JD: Yeah, I know, I would laugh too. This is the inaugural recording of the Job Board Geek Podcast, and we thought that what we’d do this time is just basically sort of give you an intro about ourselves and who we are and where we come from, what our take is on the industry and what our goals are for the podcast, so I’ll go ahead and start with myself. I am also known as the Job Board Doctor. I do consulting in for people that work in job boards and recruiting and sourcing and all sorts of stuff, and I also write a blog, which you may have had a chance to read at some point and have a newsletter as well. I’ve been in the industry since 1997. I started out with a little company called Dice. I was their original marketing and sales director, and during the time I worked with them, they went from making about $6 million a year to $65 million by the time I left and won’t say that I was responsible for all of that, but I had a hand in a little bit of it. It was a very exciting time to be with a the job board. Worked with a number of job boards over the years, and then in 2009 started my consulting business.

0:01:55.5 JD: And since then, I’ve worked with about 650 job boards around the world, in literally every continent except Antarctica and every country that you could possibly imagine that would have a job board. So it’s a lot of fun, I’ll be quite honest. I think job board people and people that run recruiting sites are just really interesting people and they get to do great stuff because they, as I said earlier, connect candidates and employers, and they help both sides, so sometimes being the in-between is a great place to be. I have some strong opinions about job boards and recruiting, as you’ll find out over time, or if you’ve read my newsletter, you probably already know that, but that’s sort of my little background and we’ll get into some more details, but I wanna turn it over to you, Steven, and maybe you can tell us a little bit about where you come from and what you’re doing.

0:02:55.8 SR: Sure, but if it’s okay, just before we do that, you said that you’ve been in the industry since 1997, I think it’d be a shock for a lot of people to know that this industry even existed in 1997, but maybe we can talk about that a little bit later on.

0:03:10.0 JD: Oh. [laughter] That’s a good point and actually, it existed before ’97, to be quite honest.

0:03:16.5 SR: Yeah.

0:03:17.3 JD: Dice, the company I worked for, started in 1990 as a bulletin board.

0:03:22.2 SR: Right.

0:03:23.9 JD: So this sort of stuff has been going on for a long time.

0:03:25.3 SR: Yeah, and they weren’t first. They were early, but they weren’t first.

0:03:29.8 JD: That’s right.

0:03:31.7 SR: So I’m Steven Rothberg, I’m the founder, and a fairly new part of my job title is Chief Visionary Officer for College Recruiter. The visionary part of it comes from a process that we use to manage our company called the Entrepreneurial Operating System, EOS, a lot of people call it, and there’s this role in the organization for a visionary, which is for people like me who tend to have more ideas than they have capabilities of executing them, so that’s kind of what my role has evolved into. I work with a lot of our large customers, vendors, partners, and a lot of my job is to kind of be trying to look down the road two years from now, five years from now, 10 years from now, and help to position our business to better serve our customers. College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. We’re one of the job boards that Jeff has helped over the years. We’re a long-time client, and our customers fall into two different buckets, and it’s one of the reasons why Jeff and I thought that it would be good for us to collaborate on this.

0:04:46.8 SR: We have a hybrid business model. Some of our customers are small employers, they post a job here, a job there. Some of them are really large employers and literally are posting thousands or even tens of thousands at any given time, and some of them are rather other job boards, and so we kinda see the business from different perspectives, we at College Recruiter. In terms of me personally, live in Minnesota, so a little bit north of where Jeff is at, although he assures me that the weather where he’s at in Iowa is quite similar, I’m not sure if it’s quite as cold there in temperature.

0:05:24.4 JD: It’s actually worse, Steven. It’s worse.

0:05:25.4 SR: Well, I think that’s just because you’re a wimp, but well I think we can agree on that.

0:05:30.0 JD: Yes.

0:05:31.0 SR: And I grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, and like to joke that I’m the only person in Minnesota to ever have moved here for the weather.

0:05:46.7 JD: Yeah, that’s a good point, and I should say, Steven brings up a good point, I was born in Texas, which has forever shaped my inability to handle cold weather, but I’ve kind of lived all over the country. I lived in Seattle for a while, in New York for a while, in Kansas for a while, in Pennsylvania for a while, so I’ve had a taste of a lot of different types of environments, but I gotta say that it’s truly impressive to be in Iowa in February, where the wind originates at the North Pole rolls across Canada and it gets colder and colder and dumps everything on Iowa. It’s an experience.

0:06:27.1 SR: Well, those of us in Minnesota, we’re used to dumping our trash in Iowa.


0:06:34.5 JD: Okay. Well, and just so people don’t get the wrong idea, we’re actually not going to talk about the relative merits of different geographical locations every week, but one of the things that Steven brought up is… One of the goals that I had with the podcast is connecting candidates and employers. And if you notice, I focus on that more than I focus on the moniker of Job Board, because I think Job Board, it’s like the word band-aid, it’s just become the shorthand for a large number of different types of platforms and services that are essentially doing the same thing, but they’re doing it in a lot of really different ways and they achieve different results. But it’s a good shorthand for basically saying, “Hey, that’s the service out there that’s putting the employers and the candidates together.” And so we’re gonna use that shorthand, but I hope you realize that some of the guests that we have on, when we say, “So tell us how your site works?” They’re gonna say, “Well, first of all, we’re not a job board.” I hear that all the time, and that’s fine. But when I do surveys of candidates, the shorthand that sticks in people’s head is Job Board. They understand what that is. So you gotta go with the flow on some of this stuff.

0:07:52.5 SR: So would you say that LinkedIn is a job board?

0:07:55.4 JD: Absolutely.

0:07:57.4 SR: Yeah, it walks like a duck and talks like a duck and therefore is a duck.

0:08:01.6 JD: Hey, if you go through any human resources conference and you start talking to people and you say, “So what’s LinkedIn?” Most of them are gonna say, “Oh, it’s a job board. That’s what I use it for. I use it for recruiting.” And it has a lot of other features, just like a lot of these so-called job boards that we’re gonna be talking about, have a lot of other features for various reasons, but the core of the value prop, or certainly the way that these sites make money is by doing that connection that we were talking about. So we’re gonna explore that, we’re gonna be bringing on a variety of people that run different types of services and come from really different places. Hopefully, they’ll be talking about how they got there and why they use the particular model that they have, and what kind of challenges they’ve run into over the years. And we’re gonna get into stuff like what Steven is heavily involved with, which is some new aspects of the market like programmatic, pay per click, pay per application, pay per hire. That’s an area that you know tons about, Steven. You guys are deeply involved in that, right?

0:09:11.2 SR: Yeah, absolutely. And for our niche, geographically, and as well as just the fact that the vast majority of the jobs on our site are pretty much entry level, it makes a lot of sense for us. And one of the things that I’ve really appreciated from some of our discussions, Jeff, is that you’ve been really great about talking about how it makes a lot of sense for us, and it makes absolutely no sense for others. Like you were saying earlier, this is not an industry where every job board runs the same way, has the same attributes, has the same product, services, pricing models, whatever, it is a highly fragmented market and it is very dynamic. When you were talking earlier about, do we call it a job board even? Another word that I use to describe what we do is a marketplace. And there are some people who will say, “Well, a marketplace is not the same as a job board.” One of the members of our Board of Advisors, George LaRocque, over and over and over and over again, he just says that they’re synonymous, and what he’s talking about, they bring candidates and employers together and electronically online. Is that a social media, quote unquote site like LinkedIn has always marketed itself as being? Is it a job board? Is it a marketplace? And my answer there is, sure.

0:10:40.0 JD: All of the above. All of the above. And another thing that I’m planning to do on the podcast, because this is just something I do in my consulting business, is I wanna bring in people that work outside of North America because it’s a global business. It’s thriving in all parts of the globe, and there are definitely some different approaches as you go into different types of markets. And some of them you don’t see here in the US where we’re based, and some of them seem to be universal. So I think as much as we can, given the time zone differences and whatnot, we’re gonna try to bring some of those people in and I have a number of companies I’ve worked with in the EU and the UK that have some really cool ways of doing this and have been quite effective.

0:11:33.0 JD: And the other piece of the podcast that I think could be fun is sort of what I was hinting at earlier with Steven. Everyone has an opinion in this industry, and some people have even more than one opinion, and I’m hoping that we can get some opinions flushed out on some of these topics because they’re obviously gonna say, “Oh, it’s all about programmatic,” if you talk to someone that’s into another area, it’s always gonna be them. And I find that interesting ’cause they make their case for why their approach is the prime approach, the key approach, and then of course, they’ll have to talk to me, who’s always gonna say, “Yeah, but,” and, “What about the alternatives?”

0:12:20.3 SR: Yeah. And I totally agree. And I’m really looking forward to be being challenged, to having some of my beliefs challenged, to be proven wrong, and to learning from others. There will definitely be times where somebody will put forth an argument, “This is why we do this.” And I think that you and I will probably agree, that makes a ton of sense in their business, in their market, for their customers, for the candidates that use their site, whatever. They may have some really, really excellent reasons for that, but at the same time conclude that they’re maybe not unique, but they’re unusual. And so what they’re advocating or what they feel very strongly about is making a ton of sense and what’s really, really been critical to their success might make absolutely no sense for the vast majority of people. And that’s cool, right? Then it’s like you’ve thought about it, you’ve examined it, you kinda understand the pros and cons, and it affirms your previous belief that, “No, this is not a good fit for your business.”

0:13:30.9 SR: If your business is helping healthcare systems hire nurse anesthetists in small towns across North America, Programmatic is probably not gonna be a very good tool for you, but on the other hand, if you’re hiring, helping employers hire millions of package handlers a year and you’re not doing Programmatic, I think you’re about to learn a hell of a lot, or resume searching. Products that are specifically designed for staffing companies are gonna be a way bigger deal in the UK than they are here, but we can, but people in the US can learn from that.

0:14:06.4 JD: Yeah, and I think Steven brings up another really good point about this exploration of the industry, is that apart from it being global, it’s also at a very broad level there are what we call generalists sites like Indeed that cover all types of jobs, and then there are niche sites that focus on specific markets, or they can be very broad and yet narrow, like E Financial Careers, which is all about financial careers all over the US, the UK, EU. And it’s true that the big boards make most of the money, but it’s also true that this is a $20, $25 billion a year industry globally, and a lot of that money is being produced by these niche sites. I always when I’m talking to analysts and they say, “Who are your clients?” and I say, “A lot of my clients generate between $3 and $25 million a year,” and they’re like, “Really?” Yup, that’s really what those the sites are all about, and there’s thousands of those sites out there.

0:15:04.9 JD: So we’re gonna try to get you exposed to some of these ’cause I know personally as a consultant that one of the dangers of the industry is that we are very silent siloed. All these people, all these companies that are out there running around, have very few options to network, to talk to each other, to get a sense of what’s really going on on the ground. And I think that’s a real goal for Steven and I to expose how all these different sites are doing it and how they came to be, and hopefully you’ll pick up some ideas, something you hadn’t thought about before. Maybe you’ll find someone that you wanna network with, and if nothing else, you can laugh at the way I talk or laugh at one of Steven’s very, very bad jokes. Although, I don’t know. I may have to ask him not to do any of those jokes online. [laughter]

0:15:58.8 SR: One of my very, very bad jokes, isn’t that both redundant and repetitive? [laughter]

0:16:03.8 JD: And there you go, folks. Now you know what you’re getting into. [laughter] Well, Steven, before we do the sign off here, I just wanna ask you how people can get in touch with you, if after listening to this intro session, they do want to do that?

0:16:19.8 SR: Sure, no sweat. I’m on LinkedIn, Steven S-T-E-V-E-N. Twitter @StevenRothberg or feel free to email me directly,

0:16:39.1 JD: And that’s it for this episode of Job Board Geek. We’re the podcast that’s all about the business of connecting candidates and employers. I’m Jeff Dickey-Chasins, your host, and I’ve been here with Steven Rothberg. We had a great time as usual. I’ll be back next week with another podcast. In the meantime, have a great weekend. Bye.

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[Check out the JobBoardGeek podcast archive!]


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