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December 07, 2015 2016: The year of niche job boards Jeff Dickey-Chasins, The Job Board Doctor

2016: The year of niche job boards

Guest Post: Jeff Dickey-Chasins, The Job Board Doctor.

The past several years in the online recruiting and job board world have been eventful – to say the least. We’ve seen the rise of aggregators, LinkedIn, and people aggregators’ like Talent Bin. Many sites have been sold or acquired, and many others have launched. Through it all, though, I’ve seen one common thread – the continued importance of concentrated candidate populations. Who serves these candidates? Niche job boards, of course.

Niche boards have been around since the inception of online recruiting – in fact, Dice (a technology niche site) launched as a bulletin board in 1990, long before the advent of the web. But the last 10 years has seen an explosion of niche and hyper-niche sites, catering to everyone from freelance accountants (SpareHire) to GIS professionals (GISJobs). We have niche sites focused on students and graduates (Milkround), non-profits (, agriculture (AgCareers), and any other sector you can imagine.

Will this continue into 2016? Yes. Why? Because several trends are converging that play to the strength of niche sites – namely, their concentration of certain types of talent. The first trend is a declining pool of skilled candidates in many sectors, including tech, healthcare, finance, and engineering. When labor is short, employers have to increase their branding efforts inside their target candidate populations. The niche job board is an ideal tool for doing this.

The second trend is an increased focus by employers on candidate quality. Rather than simply filling seats, employers are hiring for retention and company fit. Again, this trend plays to niche sites’ strengths. Since niche boards are in the business of building candidate communities focused on particular professions, the quality of these candidates is quite high. Simply put, if you’re not a restaurant pro, you probably won’t be on ShiftGig. Same goes for math geeks on Math-Jobs, or hospitality pros on CareersInFood. Niche focus drives quality.

Along with the rest of the job board industry, niche sites are evolving past ‘post and pray’. One common enhancement is candidate assessment – in essence, providing employers with ‘pre-qualified’ candidates. A good example in the tech world is Gild, which uses contests to evaluate programming skills. We’ve also seen the enhancement of candidate information via such tools as Dice’s Open Web, and even predictive analytics – which is being used to guide employers on where to look for the best candidates.

2016 promises to be a year of growth and development for both the online recruiting industry and the niche site sector. I’m looking forward to what comes next!

About The Job Board Doctor

The Job Board Doctor is Jeff Dickey-Chasins, a veteran of the job board, publishing, and e-learning industries. The consulting services he provides will help your job board increase sales, profitability, and customers.

Jeff was the original marketing director for, growing it from $7 million to $65+ million in three years. He has worked with 100+ job boards and HR-related sites over the past 20 years, in almost every sector, including finance, technology, education, health care, sales and marketing, energy, and specific geographic regions. He has published research, e-books, and blog posts on almost every aspect of the industry.

See more at

Madgex job board software Benchmarking report