Your job board’s future: should you offer CPA, CPC, or duration-based postings?

your job board's futureWhen thinking about your job board’s future, you may be looking at the latest missteps by Indeed and Google’s move into recruitment marketing and wonder: what do I do now? I mean, apart from worries about a recession that keeps playing hide-and-seek, an uncertain legal landscape, and employers first hoarding and then laying off their workers?

Well, never fear – the Doctor is here to give you a handy guide that will help you map your job board’s future. Even if you don’t know what it is!

Step 1: What kind of job board are you? In thinking about your job board’s future, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of the true nature of your job board. Are you a generalist site? An aggregator? A niche board? network of sites? high volume distributor of traffic? Or something else? There are many hybrid models and permutations in the industry – but at this point, you need to decide at the very highest level what your primary identity is. How do your clients view you? How do your candidates view you?

Step 2: What is the primary value of what you provide to employers? This can be a little slippery. We all like to think that the clicks, applications, traffic, and so on that we provide to employers are the best thing ever. But the reality is that employers buy services from job boards for different reasons. For example, an employer may work with a small niche site because they need that specific type of candidate. Or an employer may want a thousand clicks per job, because they’re opening up a new store every 3 weeks. And so on. So what do you provide? And what does that mean for your job board’s future?

Ok. Got your answers? Let’s see how this plays out…

Example 1: You’re a geographically-focused generalist board – let’s call you LondonJobs, ok? You offer all jobs to all candidates in the metro region of London. Kind of like Indeed with a bit of focus, right? The primary value you offer employers is: lots of candidates located in the London area, for employers that seek such candidates. You should offer: CPC and duration-based postings. Why? CPC allows employers to drive traffic to their jobs at a reasonable price, and the geographic focus gives your site an edge over the TotalJobs and Indeeds of the world. Duration-based postings allow the mid-sized and small employers to accumulate applications at a fixed, predictable price – and they don’t have to learn any new-fangled CPC thought processes.

Example 2: You’re an aggregator. This is easy – even thought it apparently wasn’t obvious for at least one aggregator out there! Let’s call you Joe’s Ultimate Job Site. You offer CPA and CPC. Why? Your strength is high-volume traffic and (hopefully) expansive reach into multiple markets. Both CPC and CPA require high-volume traffic to stand a chance of providing good results for employers. Offering both products lets employer decide which fits their needs – lots of clicks, or a smaller number of (hopefully) completed applications. For an employer that is confident in how well they can convert a click into an application, CPC lets them leverage their strengths at a lower cost. For an employer that doesn’t have the capabilities or desire to convert traffic into applications, CPA does it for them. Hint: if you’re smart, you’ll include some type of screening questions on the CPA product!

Example 3: You’re a niche site with a national or international audience. Maybe you’re StreetSweeperCareers. Your traffic is small but very focused, and you’re widely known in the street sweeper world. You offer duration-based postings, plus a source and screen product. Why? First of all, you lack the traffic to make CPC a reasonable option – you just won’t make enough money on clicks to stay afloat! And although you could offer CPA, your employers may push back against an unfamiliar product – even as you struggle to drive up the price on each application. Duration-based postings leverage the focused audience, allows employers to both fill jobs and their ‘talent pipeline’, and provide a familiar and easy to use product for employers (usually public sector) that are juggling a lot more than hiring. Source and screen also leverages your focused audience while provide a higher value CPA-like product: the employer specifies a certain number of ‘must-have’ requirements for their desired candidates; they pay you a flat fee for a certain number of these candidates; you locate, vet, and confirm that the candidates are interested; and present them to the employer. Kinda like a recruiter, but without the high cost to the employer or the hire guarantee.

Example 4: You’re a hybrid site, with a niche focus and a variety of recruiting and non-recruiting features. Let’s call you DiamondCutterCorner. As a community site that also monetizes via the job board, you should offer duration-based postings. Why? Same reason as #3. An exception to this: if your traffic is high (say, 100K/mo. or more), you might consider CPC. Depending on how important the job board is to your business, you might also consider CPA or a source and screen product. You’ve got options – but only if your traffic is up there.

I could go on with more examples – but hopefully you can see how the decision process works now. Know what you are, know your value to the employer – and then decide. Remember – these services are simply ways that employers use to connect with candidates. Map out your job board’s future with this knowledge – and be ready to change as your audience does!

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