A few things that make job boards fail

job boards failHave you ever wondered why job boards fail? Over my many years of consulting with job boards around the world, this is one of the most commonly asked questions. It’s usually asked in a very specific way: ‘Why did that job board fail?’. Job boards are businesses, of course, and businesses fail. Some, such as restaurants, fail at an astounding rate – as much as 95% of the time. Other business fail at a lower and more predictable rate, such as 30%.

But if you examine hundreds of failures, certain specific reasons for why job boards fail become prevalent. For example:

  • The founders didn’t understand job boards: This is more common that you would imagine. The founders have come from outside of the industry, and often plan to ‘revolutionize’ hiring. Once in a blue moon, they do. More often, they either learn very quickly why things are done a certain way – or they go out of business.
  • The founders lacked adequate capital: As any of my startup clients will tell you, I have found that it takes at least 12 months or more for a job board launch to become profitable. If you’re starting up your job board and run out of capital in month 3, well…you may end up shutting it down – no matter how popular it was with candidates.
  • The founders didn’t understand their candidates: If I was to wake up tomorrow and decide to start a job board aimed at mechanical engineers, I would have to find a mechanical engineer (or maybe a bunch of them!) to help me understand how they work and think about their careers. I am not a mechanical engineer, of course, so to pretend that I know how mechanical engineers think about finding work would be a stretch! Unfortunately, some founders think they can pick a niche and launch their site without understanding their candidates. Nope! Doesn’t work that way. Instead, it’s another way that job boards fail!
  • The founders didn’t understand their employers: Like the previous problem, this is a case of what I would call ‘founder arrogance’. The founders believe that they know how employers behave for their specific niche – in fact, they believe this so strongly that they never bother to verify it! It doesn’t take much time to chat with a half dozen employers and discover what their pain points are. In fact, it often provides you with ideas for additional services that you can offer them.
  • The founders lacked focus: If I only had a dollar for every founder who has said to me, “I’m going to build the next Indeed!” – I might have enough for some new tires! Focus is important in business – you must have a willingness to focus on specific candidates and employers. If you focus on everyone, you will probably satisfy no one. You may have a broad focus – hourly workers – or you may have a narrow focus – agricultural tile manufacturers. But focus will help you understand your candidates and employers – which, as you’ve seen already, is pretty important for success. Ignore focus – and you quickly learn how job boards fail.

Please note that none of these involved the type of software platform you use, the site’s name, the go-to-market strategy, or who you know. Those factors can be important – but the above are fundamental to your success as a start up. The reasons above will determine if you have a chance of success. They certainly don’t guarantee success – but they increase the likelihood that your start up will succeed. Understanding why job boards fail is a good place to start – and a good way to ensure that your business is set up for success.

[Want to get Job Board Doctor posts via email? Subscribe here.].
[Check out the JobBoardGeek podcast archive!]

Read More

Leave a Comment