So, you want to start a job board and don’t know where to start. There is so much to consider and it is easy to become overwhelmed by the barrage of information there is on the subject. That's why TrueJob has put together a beginner’s guide to starting your very own job board.
1: Consider why you want to start a job board
What exactly do you want your job board to accomplish?
- Are you looking to fulfill a specific need in the job market?
According to a 2017-18 survey from Job Board Doctor, over 50% of job boards describe themselves as a niche site working with specific markets.
- Are you trying to drive more traffic to your existing site?
The term “job board” is googled over 42,000 times monthly, resulting in many opportunities for users to visit your site.
- Do you want to provide your local community with another resource to boost the economy?
By definition, job boards bring employers and individuals from the community together in a way which meets both of their needs.
Whatever your reason, having a vision, or a set of goals, will help you make the decisions necessary in the following steps to get you started.
2: Planning phase
In the words of Winston Churchill, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail”. As with any project, the planning phase tends to be one of the most important steps. This is where you start to flesh out your idea of starting a job board. When planning, keep each of these topics in mind to help set you up for success once your job board gets up and running.
Just like with most industries, the more focused your product is, the more successful you are likely to be. The trick is determining what gaps need to be filled within the market. Most job board creators tend to stick to an industry they already have some knowledge about. For example, there are job boards specializing in:
- internship opportunities for college students - internships.com
- tech jobs – dice.com
- the healthcare industry - healthecareers.com
- government jobs - usajobs.gov
… and many more. If you specialize in a specific type of job that certain people are looking for, you are much more likely to be used in that field. Additionally, if you setup a more general job board, chances are high that you will end up competing with the larger sites like Monster or Indeed which already have massive user bases and large marketing budgets.
It is important to ensure that you are targeting a growing market. This will benefit you two-fold: there will be more employers looking to hire workers and more individuals looking for jobs in the field. Tools such as Moz or even Google Keyword Planner can be used to research the amount of times people are searching for something on the web. Checking these numbers will help you determine if there is a large enough need for any specific type of job board.
According to a 2014 article from glassdoor, there are over 40,000 different job boards, each targeting various fields, levels of employment and geographical regions. No matter your target market, there is bound to be competition of some form. To research them, you could start by simply searching for other job boards with the same industry boundaries that you are interested in. Try to determine who exactly their audience is in order to differentiate yourselves from them. See what they do well and what they could improve upon so you can better fill the market’s needs. Try to determine if they are a growing site or if they have become stagnant.
3: Consider your limitations
This is somewhat of an administrative step in the sense that you need to determine the structure of your job board. Are you looking to setup a standalone website for your job board? If that is the case, choosing your domain name is important. Try to pick something that those in the industry will be able to recognize. For example, poachedjobs is a job board that focuses on the restaurant industry, rigzone targets the oil industry and yacrew specializes in jobs on yachts.
If your organization already has an existing site and you are looking to embed a job board there are a number of things to consider. Particularly, deciding if you are interested in buying an existing plugin for your job board or if you want to build it into your website. Additionally, are you looking to maintain the job board, or hire another party to power it? What does your budget for implementing a job board look like? All of these are questions will help you determine what is right for your particular needs.
4: Choosing the software to meet your needs
Each job board will have slightly different features because each is trying to fulfill different marketplace needs. Deciding on the features that are right for your job board is critical. In a previous post we identified the features that will help make a job board successful (check it out here). Once you determine what you want your site to do, you need to figure out how it should be accomplished. By that, I mean that we need to discuss software options.
Much of this step depends upon your current site structure. If your site runs on Wordpress you may wish to opt for a cheaper Wordpress plugin such as wpjobmanager This may give you some basic functionality, but can be more difficult to implement without some previous technical knowledge. Another option would be hiring a web developer to build your job board. This choice would be much more expensive and could present difficulties if the developer is not specifically experienced with designing job boards.
Because of the issues associated with the Wordpress plugins and hiring a web developer, we at TrueJob recommend a cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) solution that offers an easy way to integrate into your existing website and manages all hosting and upgrades for you.
Before you launch your nearly complete job board, it would be wise to devise a marketing strategy. Again, each industry is different, but if no one knows about your site, it will be slow to get traffic flowing. These marketing strategies may take many forms, perhaps through: press releases, email blasts, social media posts or through digital advertising channels.
You should also make sure that you have contacted employers and have job listings on your site. Users will not want to sit around and wait for jobs to be posted. Remember that a job board is a place for employers and potential employees to come together and bring awareness about one another. If you have all of one and none of the other your site will be dead before it even gets going.
When bringing in job listings, you should also consider each employer’s reputation. After all, even though you are separate from one another, in essence, you are advertising for them (imagine trying to promote Enron jobs in late 2001).
6: Launch and Maintain
So now your site is complete and you never have to think about it again, right? Well, not quite. After you launch your job board you should track its progress, how many users your site has, how many job postings, if you are growing or if you should adjust your features. Using a platform that has the ability to track your job board’s analytics can make or break a job search site. Check out our report book to see the type of data tracking that we can provide. Staying on top of problems before they arise is vital to a successful job board.
All in all, there are many beneficial reasons to have a job board. The process can be confusing and we hope that these steps helped to clarify things for your organization. If you would like help launching your own job board, we at TrueJob would love to speak with you - schedule a free consultation with us today.