10 common mistakes that job boards (new and old) make – Job Board Doctor

Jobboardgeek podcastIn this episode of Job­Board­Geek, Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins talks to…himself! Yes, co-host Steven Roth­berg is off work­ing (!). Jeff digs into 10 com­mon mis­takes that job boards and recruit­ing sites make. He finds these mis­takes tend to occur no mat­ter which niche or geo­graph­ic loca­tion the site oper­ates in – and he offers sug­ges­tions on avoid­ing these mis­takes in the first place. Jeff cov­ers pric­ing, met­rics, renewals, and much more.



Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins

Hel­lo every­one and wel­come to Job­Board­Geek it’s the pod­cast about the busi­ness of con­nect­ing can­di­dates with employ­ers I’m Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins, I’m the Job­Board­Doc­tor and I am your host and today. I do not have my usu­al co-host with me Steven Roth­berg, he’s off doing actu­al work for his busi­ness Col­lege Recruiter. I toyed with the idea of our play­ing out our wit­ty repar­tee that we do at the begin­ning where we chat about some­thing and I thought boy that’d be fun to play Stephen and then I could play myself and back and forth. But then I decid­ed that I’m too old to try to do some­thing like that. So you’ll just have to imag­ine that it hap­pened so the pur­pose of today’s pod­cast is to talk about the most com­mon mis­takes that job boards make I’ve been work­ing with job boards as a con­sul­tant for over thir­teen years I’ve been in the indus­try since 97 I’ve worked with lit­er­al­ly hun­dreds and hun­dreds and hun­dreds of job boards on almost every con­ti­nent and one of the things that I noticed after the first 3 or 4 years is that I I saw a cer­tain amount of con­ti­nu­ity in the types of mis­takes that estab­lished job boards tend­ed to make. Now no one out there makes all of these mis­takes or at least they don’t make them all at the same time. Maybe it takes them sev­er­al years to get to that point. But these are very com­mon mis­takes and I thought well let’s talk about this and talk about why I con­sid­er them to be mis­takes and hope­ful­ly. If there’s any­thing in here that sounds famil­iar you can avoid it and you can avoid being one of those job boards that calls me up say­ing Jeff help now this also applies to start­up job boards. But um, it’s prob­a­bly yeah more in the line of just. Don’t ever do these things or try to avoid these par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tions so with­out fur­ther ado let me go ahead and get start­ed so the first mis­take that I find to be very typ­i­cal although it’s chang­ing a lit­tle bit over the last sev­er­al years is that a job board thinks. My busi­ness is sell­ing job post­ings. No, that’s not the case your busi­ness is that you sell employ­ers the chance to con­nect with can­di­dates. You’re basi­cal­ly that con­nec­tion tis­sue between can­di­dates. And employ­ers who need those can­di­dates to fill their posi­tions if you think that your busi­ness is just sim­ply sell­ing job post­ings in my opin­ion I think you have a ten­den­cy to blind your­self to oth­er ser­vices and prod­ucts you know.



Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins

For exam­ple, you could sell access into the audi­ence via Brand­ed webi­na­rs you could sell tar­get­ed emails into your can­di­date office. You can do employ­er brand­ing oper­a­tions. You can do some­thing like the muse where they have a lot of inter­views with employ­ees at dif­fer­ent work­places that. A can­di­date can go lis­ten to and say hey I might want to work there or I might not you can also look at it from the oth­er side of the fence and say what can I do with the can­di­dates to be able to find and con­nect to the right employ­er because the bet­ter job you do that at the bet­ter that you do that job. The more like­ly it is that you’re going to have more can­di­dates and more sat­is­fied can­di­dates giv­ing you refer­rals and pass­ing on your site and more hap­py employ­ers. So please avoid think­ing that what’s your job. What your busi­ness is is a job board is sim­ply just sell­ing job post­ings because that’s real­ly not the case you need to step back a lit­tle bit so the sec­ond type of com­mon mis­take that I see job boards make and all of my clients out there are going to laugh when they hear me say this is that. You don’t increase your prices on a reg­u­lar basis or you do increase your prices but it’s dri­ven by some obscure ran­dom desire to do it every six years or 3 years or you know eigh­teen months or what­ev­er it might be. Now. There’s a very good rea­son why you need to increase your prices on a reg­u­lar basis and I usu­al­ly sug­gest every twelve months First of all, if you increase your prices every twelve months you don’t have to increase them very much. It’s a lot eas­i­er to make a 1 % increase in price across the board. Once a year than it is to wait four or five years and sud­den­ly have to make a sev­en or eight per­cent increase in prices every­one out there. All those employ­ers. They’re also in busi­ness they under­stand that costs go up and par­tic­u­lar­ly now with infla­tion. That’s even more the case than it was you know for the last sev­er­al years. But. No, one’s going to to balk at a 1% or half per­cent or 2% increase in pric­ing. They very may they very well may balk at a 10 % increase in pric­ing so do it on a reg­u­lar basis. Do it in small incre­ments. You’re going to be a lot hap­pi­er and then sec­ond of all. And this is where my clients will laugh. You’re prob­a­bly not charg­ing enough I know that sounds crazy but put your­self in per­spec­tive look at who you’re com­pet­ing with these employ­ers are des­per­ate for can­di­dates. They’re always des­per­ate for can­di­dates even before our cur­rent labor envi­ron­ment.



Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins

They were des­per­ate for can­di­dates long before covid they want good can­di­dates and regard­less of what they will say if you can pro­vide that on a reg­u­lar basis and on a reli­able basis then they’re will­ing to pay prob­a­bly a lot more than you’re charg­ing them There’s a rea­son why. A Linkedin Seat can run in the tens of thou­sands of dol­lars, so think about that don’t sell your­self short and if you do end up work­ing with me I can almost guar­an­tee you that’ll be the first thing I tell you to do is increase your price and do it on a reg­u­lar basis. Next. Job boards have a ten­den­cy to get focused almost entire­ly on employ­ers and they fail to put the can­di­date first and this is a focus issue. This is very sim­i­lar to the very first thing I said where you sort of focused on well all I do is sell job post­ings. No, that’s not what you are. That’s not what you do. In the case of the can­di­date focus you have to remind your­self that the only rea­son that any employ­er is will­ing to talk to you give you mon­ey or con­tin­ue to give you mon­ey is the fact that you have can­di­dates and you have those can­di­dates. Com­ing to your site and engag­ing with the employ­ers that are on the site. This is very very impor­tant if you don’t have the can­di­dates. You don’t have any busi­ness and I think that the job boards that I’ve seen that have had the most long-term suc­cess that have had the best mar­gins and have had the best. Renew­al rates on their employ­ers are the ones that focused first and fore­most on can­di­dates. So I would real­ly encour­age you to take that par­tic­u­lar state­ment put the can­di­date first write it on a piece of paper and stick it on your mon­i­tor next to all the oth­er things that you have but make the let­ters big­ger. So it stands out. Okay, next you as a job board oper­a­tor or own­er lack a defined process for renew­ing and retain­ing your employ­ers now notice that I said a defined process of course. Any­one that sur­vives in the job board and recruit­ing site busi­ness is going to have ah some­thing that they’re doing to get employ­ers to renew. That’s fine. But I think that what you real­ly need to do is be very focused on what the process is so that. You can repli­cate it regard­less of who is doing the sales and who is doing the renewals and you can repli­cate it year end and year out it adds a lev­el of pre­dictabil­i­ty to your rev­enue stream and and as much pre­dictabil­i­ty as you can put in that.



Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins

Process It’s going to make your life a lot eas­i­er in gen­er­al I found that when you do an analy­sis of renew­ing and retain­ing your employ­ers and you and you sort of spell that out for the sales­peo­ple and you are the cus­tomer ser­vice peo­ple. Whoever’s respon­si­ble for it. And you ask them to fol­low that process then your renew­al rates are going to go up because a key part of that process is stay­ing in touch with the employ­er ask­ing them ques­tions and hav­ing per­for­mance met­rics that you are check­ing to make sure that you’re meet­ing for the employ­er. Which brings me to the next mis­take that many job boards make you don’t mon­i­tor key engage­ment and per­for­mance met­rics. What? what am I talk­ing about here. Well you know at a very basic lev­el I’m talk­ing about time on site. You know a good a good amount of time on site for a job board a niche job board is going to be 3 to 5 min­utes per ses­sion. Ah you need to mon­i­tor the bounce rate any­time you get a bounce rate that’s going over 40 that’s too high that tells you some­thing about the traf­fic that that’s com­ing to the side. It tells you about. Tells you some­thing about the behav­ior of what the candidate’s doing when they get to the site you want to look at the views per job. The appli­ca­tions per job and the appli­ca­tions that are actu­al­ly com­plet­ed as much as you can. These are all very impor­tant. For exam­ple. A gen­er­al rule of thumb that I have for my clients as a niche site is that you need to have 7 to 15 appli­ca­tions per job on aver­age if you’re going to be com­pet­i­tive with the larg­er sites and your niche com­peti­tors as well. It’s just a basic lev­el of response now the bet­ter you can make the qual­i­ty of the response the bet­ter the hap­pi­er the employ­ers will be but these are the kinds of met­rics that you should write down and review on a reg­u­lar basis and. You should con­tin­ue to be open-mind­ed about chang­ing the met­rics that you watch as well. Um, you know some are going to be ever­green. You know, like appli­ca­tions per job or views per job. But you know over time you may find that there’s cer­tain things that are use­ful like what’s the typ­i­cal path. Of the major­i­ty of job seek­ers through the site. Do they come in on a spe­cif­ic job from a spe­cif­ic refer­ral or do they tend to come in on the home­page or if they’re com­ing in through an app or a mobile device is that dif­fer­ent than a desk­top response and.



Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins

As they go through their five or six min­utes on the site where are they going and how often are they going to resource pages for exam­ple or oth­er types of con­tent pages. All of this infor­ma­tion is impor­tant. Yes, some­times it can be kind of a pain to keep on top of this but it’s a pain. That pre­vents much more unpleas­ant pain lat­er on now the next prob­lem that I see that’s pret­ty typ­i­cal and this is sort of a ah counter check to the met­rics that you watch of what can­di­dates are doing on the site. Is that you need to actu­al­ly that you need to sur­vey your employ­ers or and can­di­dates on a reg­u­lar basis. Why because if you don’t ask them ques­tions. You’re going to get a bad You’re going to get an unpleas­ant sur­prise at some point. You know one of the things that you would typ­i­cal­ly want to ask employ­ers is, are you hap­py with the results that you get how would you improve the site but you also want to ask them. Where’s the best place for you to find can­di­dates. It does it. You know I’m total­ly hap­py if you tell me that it’s indeed. I just want to know because if 98% of my employ­ers say they’re hap­pi­er with indeed than they are with my site that’s a prob­lem I need to know that the same thing on the can­di­date side in addi­tion to being able to get demo­graph­ic infor­ma­tion that maybe you wouldn’t be able to obtain oth­er­wise. It’s impor­tant for you to have a clear pic­ture of where the can­di­dates put your site in terms of their job search­ing hier­ar­chy I did a sur­vey I guess it’s been a while now about Eight or nine years ago of thou­sands of over 1000 job seek­ers across 3 coun­tries. And one of the things that became real­ly obvi­ous is that depend­ing on what coun­try it was the rel­a­tive lev­els of focus in terms of you know the media they looked at for jobs real­ly var­ied quite a bit and. You don’t want to be sur­prised. You may have anec­do­tal infor­ma­tion about where job seek­ers are going but it’s not going to line up exact­ly with what a sur­vey will tell you about what your spe­cif­ic job seek­ers are doing and where else they’re going and why they’re using it and what do they like about mobile. Your approach to mobile access ver­sus your approach to desk­top access and what fea­tures do they get on oth­er sites that they wish you had on your site so forth and so on so that’s an impor­tant thing to do the next very com­mon mis­take is that.



Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins

If you’ve been out there for a while you’ve made it through the first tough years you’ve had a mod­icum of suc­cess. Maybe you quit invest­ing in your job. Board’s tech­ni­cal struc­ture. Well, that’s not a good idea. Soft­ware gets out­dat­ed. Needs change both on the employ­er side and the can­di­date side and even though it’s a real pain. It’s worth tak­ing a look at least every 12 to 18 months at your plat­form at your tech­ni­cal offer­ing and make sure it’s still what you want to be offer­ing. And if it’s not put mon­ey into and into improv­ing it. Ah believe me if you don’t change your struc­ture some­one else will and they may very well take your audi­ence away from you the next mis­take that I see that is. Pret­ty com­mon just because humans get bored is that you don’t con­tin­u­ous­ly find new can­di­dates and new employ­er prospects. So you have as a job board. You essen­tial­ly have 2 audi­ences you have can­di­dates and you have employ­ers. And an aver­age year for an aver­age job board. You may lose as much as 25% from both sides of those audi­ences just through attri­tion giv­en what hap­pened in covid ah, a lot of us had the unfor­tu­nate expe­ri­ence of los­ing a lot more than that on the can­di­date and employ­er side. In a very short peri­od of time but let’s say that in a more a less unusu­al mar­ket. You’re going to be los­ing maybe 25% you need to replace that just to stay even and you need to over? Um, you need to add more than that. To grow. It’s sim­ple math. It’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly some­thing that is always top of mind. What I’ve found is that in in a lot of sites. What’s top of mind is sell­ing right? That’s bring­ing in the rev­enue. So. Maybe you do a pret­ty good job of keep­ing the pipeline for your employ­er prospects up. But maybe you kind of fall down on the seo side from the can­di­dates. Maybe you’re not run­ning any cam­paigns to bring in more can­di­dates. Maybe you’re rely­ing on the you know the. Feeds from aggre­ga­tors to keep pump­ing up your traf­fic. There’s a lot of ways that you can appear to be grow­ing your can­di­date audi­ence. But in fact, or not so be hon­est with your­self and make your­self goals on both sides.



Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins

And stick to the goals.  Next, a typ­i­cal mis­take is that you focus on how many prod­ucts that you’ve sold and instead what you should be focus­ing on is what is the aver­age annu­al employ­er rev­enue that you’ve gen­er­at­ed. Now why am I draw­ing this dis­tinc­tion because ulti­mate­ly the job boards that I’ve worked with that have had the most suc­cess stay focused on increas­ing their share of each and every employer’s recruit­ing spend. With that par­tic­u­lar job board. In oth­er words, you go deep­er. Let’s say the employ­er typ­i­cal­ly is spend­ing $10000 a year on recruit­ing and you’re only get­ting $400 of that spend even though. They’re 100% inside your niche or your or your geo­graph­ic focus. Well, that’s not a good that’s not good per­for­mance that’s not a good sign so you might not notice that if you just sim­ply focus on the num­ber of prod­ucts that are being sold because some clients can come in and buy a whole lot of. Post­ings or they can buy a whole lot of fea­ture job upgrades and sort of cov­er up the fact that the oth­er 70% of the employ­ers are buy­ing less than they were the year before on aver­age so focus on the annu­al employ­er rev­enue. And I think you’re going to be a lot hap­pi­er in the long run and you and you’re get­ting a much truer pic­ture of what your sales effort is pro­duc­ing and final­ly and this is real­ly just um, one of those things that I’m ah I think. Under­lies every type of busi­ness that I’ve been in I’ve you know I’ve been in the soft­ware indus­try I’ve been in pub­lish­ing. Um I’ve been in a num­ber. Yeah I’ve been in online learn­ing and obvi­ous­ly I’ve been in job boards for a long time this this this last prob­lem. Is has been true across all those all those mar­kets you make the mis­take of react­ing instead of act­ing so when you do some­thing. It’s not because you’re doing it on pur­pose and in a planned way and dri­ving your action from data. You’re doing it because some­thing hap­pened to you. Let’s say you know a good exam­ple that would be covid. Well that’s sort of an act of god in some ways. But for exam­ple, any of these things that I men­tioned above like you haven’t been.



Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins

Rais­ing your prices and sud­den­ly you real­ize, oh my god, all my prices are rough­ly 40% of my com­peti­tors and I’m los­ing mar­ket share because no one thinks that we’re any good so you decide to yank up your prices. That’s reac­tion. Act­ing is mak­ing a con­scious deci­sion to raise your prices for both strate­gic rea­sons and busi­ness rea­sons I think that con­tin­u­ous and iter­a­tive improve­ment is hard­er than sim­ply wait­ing for things to hap­pen to you. But. Prob­lem with react­ing is that one you may end up doing it too late for it to have the impact that you hoped it would have and 2 you may be react­ing to the wrong thing you may be focus­ing on some­thing that’s very splashy and scary. Let’s say for exam­ple. Google decid­ing to enter the ats mar­ket and that freaks you out and you’re think­ing oh man, maybe we should add an Ats well in real­i­ty if you’ve been doing your analy­sis of your employ­er base and you’ve been look­ing at the kinds of con­nec­tion prod­ucts that you want to sell to them. And terms of lever­ag­ing your can­di­date audi­ence. You may say ats doesn’t real­ly make any sense. It’s way out of our focus. We instead should be focus­ing on intro­duc­ing assess­ment tools and get­ting 70% at least 70 % of our can­di­date base. Assessed and charg­ing a pre­mi­um for access to that audi­ence I always think that act­ing based on data is bet­ter than react­ing based on what­ev­er hap­pened to you that morn­ing when you woke up some­times I feel like Elon Musk is sort of the clas­sic exam­ple of some­one that’s a reac­tive per­son­al­i­ty. I think that one of the rea­sons he’s been suc­cess­ful is that when he final­ly does act he sets a big goal and then he gets out of it and he actu­al­ly brings in peo­ple that can achieve those goals. Think if he was the per­son that was in charge of actu­al­ly mak­ing Tes­la work or Spacex work. He might not be as suc­cess­ful as he is now just one man’s opin­ion. So any­way, those are some of the things that I think are com­mon mis­takes that job boards tend to make. They are so like I said it’s cer­tain­ly not the case that job that ah any giv­en job board will make all of these mis­takes. But I’m pret­ty sure that almost any giv­en job board has made at least one of these mis­takes. So think about it take a look at what you’re doing and think about if.



Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins

If there are ways that you can actu­al­ly avoid doing some of these things or cut ah and on the oth­er hand if there are ways that you can put things in in place like an annu­al increase in price that will pre­vent you from hav­ing prob­lems fur­ther on. So that’s it for this issue of Job­Board­Geek the pod­cast about con­nect­ing can­di­dates and employ­ers. Be sure to sub­scribe via Apple Spo­ti­fy or what­ev­er floats your boat excuse me. My name is Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins, I’m the Job­Board Doc­tor and that’s it for today. We’ll see you again next time.


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