5 things that woodworking taught me about job boards

Adirondack chairI’ve built var­i­ous items with wood for many years. Tables, bench­es, cab­i­nets, spoons, stools, chairs – some actu­al­ly resem­ble real fur­ni­ture, others…well, they were inter­est­ing to cre­ate. Yet, apart the sheer fun of cut­ting, chop­ping, par­ing, and (occa­sion­al­ly) pound­ing wood, I’ve also man­aged to extract a few lessons that have crossed over to my life in job boards:

  1. Nev­er cut first, mea­sure sec­ond! Trans­lat­ing to the job board world, that means you should take some time – a good­ly amount of it – think­ing about what next big move will be. That does­n’t mean sit­ting on your hands, but it does mean using your brain first. (As the old phrase goes, ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. Some old phras­es are true!).
  2. Some­times it’s bet­ter to start over. Just as some attempts at fur­ni­ture are doomed from the first errant mor­tise and tenon, so too are some job board projects. Some­times things just don’t work. Nev­er be too proud or stub­born to pull the plug. (I recent­ly remind­ed myself of this after aban­don­ing my third attempt at a tricky table. Per­haps I will try again in a few years…).
  3. See the whole, not the pieces. Ask any wood­work­er to point out the flaws in his or her work, and you’ll quick­ly be over­whelmed with details you did­n’t know exist­ed – yet if you just at the piece, it looks, well, pret­ty good. Thus is it in the job board world – step back and look at your site as a job seek­er or an employ­er. You might be sur­prised. The flaw that you are con­vinced is the site may actu­al­ly be some­thing that your users like!
  4. That blade is there for a rea­son. I still have all of my fin­gers – but I know wood­work­ers who don’t. The blade guard on a table saw is sup­posed to be in place – for some rea­son, if you take it off, it does­n’t work so well! So too with job boards – before you go fid­dling with core func­tions, sure you under­stand why they’re there, and why they’ve worked for the rest of the recruit­ing world before you start tear­ing them out. (In par­tic­u­lar, I’m think­ing about job boards that func­tion­al­i­ty – remem­ber, job seek­ers were raised on search engines!).
  5. Mis­takes can be good. I recent­ly made not one, but three mis­takes on a small box – one right after anoth­er. You know what? They actu­al­ly made the box pret­ty inter­est­ing – not what I expect­ed, but nice enough nonethe­less. The same holds for your job board. Take some risks (after not­ing #4 above, that is). Keep plug­ging away. See if some of those mis­takes turn out to be rev­enue pro­duc­ers after all.

(Note: this post first appeared in slight­ly dif­fer­ent form back in 2009. It still seems quite rel­e­vant to me!).

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