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 fail at a low­er and 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 imag­ine. The founders have come from out­side of the , 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 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 (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 , 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 for founder who has said to me, “I’m 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 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.

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