Since around 2009 there have been numerous articles proclaiming the death of the job board, to such an extent that in recent years there are numerous counter articles proclaiming the job board is very much alive. It won't be long before we see an article predicting the death of the "death of job boards" articles.
Perhaps this morbid obsession stems from us being in a time of great technological and market change, but then we always are, aren’t we?
The way an audience interacts with a brand, be it for recruitment or otherwise, is changing and has been for years. The words "Social" and "Mobile" are often used to best summarise these user interaction changes, while for buyer behaviour you often hear the terms "CPC or "Programmatic" used as a broad descriptions to articulate a changing environment.
Rather than predicting life or death, I thought it might be interesting to look at some possible evolutions of the traditional job board to see what it may look like in the future.
The All Rounder: A Career Portal
Shifting away from a purely transactional jobs/applications model, The All Rounder or Career Portal is a site that provides content, courses, job opportunities and events around a particular industry.
Users visit the site for different offerings at different points in their career, while a complex lifecycle campaign uses the data collected to grow audience engagement and target individuals with opportunities and services.
This evolution is one of the most exciting outcomes, although in some cases probably one of the hardest to achieve due to the change of identity. Success means the business opens up new revenue streams, such as sponsored content, career services, courses, and more, which in turn provide data to help strengthen their core recruitment offering.
The Trafficker: A CPC Model
The Trafficker takes advantage of recruitment aggregators and networks that pay for traffic and applications. This type of job board has no sales team but instead focuses on marketing to drive traffic to partners, which in turn boosts their click revenue.
It’s a model we’re seeing used in conjunction with pay per post at the moment, but one that isn’t without risk. The control and power sits with the provider of jobs, rather than the job board.
The Transmitter: A Broadcast & Optimisation Service
The Transmitter focuses on getting jobs promoted across different channels and collecting the applications. It sits within the pay per post model but plays on being a one stop service for an employer.
The emphasis is on optimising and transmitting your job outwards from the job board, so for example it could include components like publishing a well constructed Promoted Tweet, sending a segmented email campaigns, running banner advertisements or posting your job on to aggregators.
This is a move away from the concept of your job board being a single point of access to a professional audience. There are certain job boards that offer this service as an upsell currently, for example Monster.
The Collector: A Loss Leader Data Collection Point
The Collector doesn’t monetise a recruitment offering via pay to post or CPC, instead the job posting might be free and it may operate at a loss. The benefit is the amount of user data collected via applications or profiles. This data is then fed through to a larger DMP and used to power other parts of the business.
This is an interesting model as there are only a few systems (dating, recruitment) where you get so much rich data about an individual. This data can be used to target individuals to attend events, partake in courses, subscribe to content sites, or buy certain products.
The Hybrid: A Recruitment Consultant
The Hybrid is a job board that has crept up the recruitment value chain and started to offer services more akin to a recruitment consultant. There is a “guaranteed response” offering and a "CV screening service", allowing the employer to be confident that they’ll receive a good ROI for their recruitment spend.
There are some examples of job boards moving in this direction but challenges remain about being a neutral partner to other recruitment consultants and having the right skills within the business to perform those services.
The Professional Network: Social Media In Recruitment
The Professional Network is best described as a mini LinkedIn around a particular industry. Employers can post into the network and also buy access to it as a candidate database, again much like LinkedIn.
Could LinkedIn be damaged by multiple smaller social niche networks, similar to how Monster is hurt by multiple niche specialists? Possibly, but seeding a professional network is a substantial challenge and hard for a transactional job board to switch towards. LinkedIn grew and was used as a “black book”, a way to store your business contacts, rather than a system people joined to find jobs.
There are a few examples out there of niche networks, Doximity in the US being one.
The Robot: A Programmatic Model
I still question the value of Programmatic for an individual job board, it seems to be much more useful for the employer or ad exchange networks, but we'll go with the concept for now.
The Robot is an individual programmatic that job board calculates the best package and placement for your advertising across a brand. An employer enters the type of jobseeker they wish to attract via a series of questions and the perfect package is sold to them via credit card.
There are a few companies currently in programmatic online recruitment. Appcast is one of the best known examples, though arguably it feels more a JobG8 style network rather than true programmatic system. It'll be interesting to see if Broadbean moves into this space in the UK.
That concludes my impression of Charles Darwin and our look at seven possible evolutions of the job board. There are many other possibilities, combinations of the above, whole new models, and of course there's always the solid, transactional, pay per post model.
The job board is not dead.
If you'd like to discuss any of the above, or have thoughts on the direction classified systems may go, then please get in touch.