Learn How to Start a Job Board for Your Niche
Where do people look for jobs? Online, of course. According to a survey by Allegis, the internet is where people most commonly look for jobs. In one of our articles, we talked about how you can build and monetize a job aggregator. Today, we want to discuss startup job board business opportunities with you. Let’s dive in!
How do job boards work?
When you think of a job board, you might imagine a literal board. There are many paper job postings pinned to this board. People can come up to it and read what employers or companies are looking for in the perfect candidate. But this physical board no longer exists in today’s connected world since recruitment search engines have got the market cornered.
Online job boards let employers create job listings with information about roles, requirements, qualifications, and perks. Job boards connect job seekers with potential employers or companies. Candidates reply to postings by sending their resumes. These postings or listings form the core value unit on a platform.
Job boards allow employers to:
- promote job listings and openings;
- keep track of applicants who’ve submitted their resumes;
- follow every applicant;
- build a database of skills;
- collect profiles with indexed documents.
There are general job boards that cater to all industries and there are niche ones. Employers seeking to hire talent are likely to search for candidates on small-scale sites first. That’s because applicants who are interested in a particular field of work tend to post their resumes on industry-based sites. General job boards, on the other hand, host all sorts of postings and let candidates apply to any job available.
Let’s look at some popular job boards for employers and applicants and their business models.
Major players and specialized job boards
Indeed.com is a world-famous job posting site. In the past, it would crawl data from other websites and index every job listing. Today Indeed is a job board that boasts 200 million monthly visitors and has a database of 100 million resumes.
Indeed derives its revenue from the pay-per-click model. Employers post job ads and get charged when job seekers click on them. The more they pay, the more visible the job ad is. For example, if your daily budget is $40 at a maximum $1 per click, you can get 40 clicks per day. When you’ve exhausted your budget, Indeed stops displaying your ad.
Monster.com is another giant in the industry. This platform has a vast resume database and offers tons of vacancies for job seekers to choose from. The service is free for applicants, but employers pay to post listings. Monster.com is subscription-based. The more your plan costs, the more benefits you get. You can buy a plan that lasts for two or three months.
Glassdoor is the best job searching engine that lets employers post jobs. With Glassdoor, candidates can see job listings and read reviews along with company ratings from current and former employees. Applicants can search by position, company, salary, experience, and other criteria. If a candidate finds an opening they’re suitable for, they can upload their resume.
Glassdoor has three pricing tiers, allowing companies to post from three to ten positions. The actual price depends on what region you’re from.
Dice, Career Bank, Variety Careers, TalentZoo, Health E Careers, Law Jobs, and Commarts are examples of niche job boards. Writing effective job postings isn’t enough; employers must know where to post a job, and that’s where specialized job boards come in.
How to create a job board website
After getting familiar with real solutions in the recruitment industry, it’s essential to know the steps you should take to create your own platform. Here they are:
Choose your niche
You’re lucky if you have expertise in a particular industry. Your in-depth experience can help you differentiate yourself and build an insightful job board.
If you’re new to the business, you need to sift through many options and search for a workable solution. There are many niches you can choose from. You may create a job board that covers lots of industries, but a savvier move would be to have a specific focus.
You can target your solution by geographical location. You can choose your own city to promote jobs there or identify a city where there’s a high level of growth.
You can also choose a niche based on the type of position. Contract, temporary, and freelance positions are becoming popular, and you can tap into this market too. What’s more, you can narrow your focus to one industry, such as healthcare, finance, or media.
Once you’ve narrowed your focus to a handful of niches, make sure you research them well. This should help you see what level of competition there is in your chosen niches and the gaps that can be filled. It’s wise to study employment statistics to spot fields that are developing and growing.
Armed with this knowledge, you can identify a marketable niche. Going with a niche job board can help you develop a loyal customer base and give you better marketing opportunities.
You can partner with services that already have data about job seekers or companies in your niche. When you have enough job postings to attract candidates or a critical mass of resumes in your database to attract employers, you can kickstart your platform. You can also partner with organizations that already have job seekers but exist in the offline world, such as chambers of commerce and professional associations.
You need to create a relevant resume database. That’s hard but manageable. To get the necessary content on board, you can crawl the web. Web crawling is a technique that allows you to aggregate job data from the internet. This can be your strategy at the beginning until you get traction.
Consider adding job-relevant content such as a blog. Besides a dedicated blog, content relevant to employment may include:
- Q&A forums
- online courses
The content you provide should be useful to your target audience. You can encourage experts in your niche to contribute themed posts. They’re likely to participate since they want exposure. This tactic will rank you higher in search results and make you a reputable source of information.
Offer unique benefits
Your platform is designed for two different user groups, and they’re likely to stick with your platform if you offer them tools that can simplify their interactions.
For employers, job boards can:
- present data in a simple and understandable format;
- offer email features and updates sent to a user’s inbox;
- use predictive algorithms to match job seekers with listings based on skills, culture, personality, etc;
- provide quick search using a few keywords;
- help with company branding.
For candidates, job boards can:
- let them apply to vacancies directly;
- provide different filters for searching by position, location, company, experience, etc;
- become a portfolio that can be edited and improved;
- be a platform for interacting with companies via video calls and chat.
Ensure good design
Build your site with users in mind. The solution you’re crafting exists for two distinct groups of people: job seekers and employers (companies). So your two-sided marketplace should have two different spaces for them.
Profiles and listings are the core value of your platform and are what will attract users. The information they provide is key, since you’re going to use it to ensure relevant matching on your platform. Matching can be done algorithmically or by means of learning filters that track user behavior and suggest options relevant to users.
Three technical approaches
As soon as you’ve set clear goals and chosen a niche, you’ve got to decide on a software solution to build your project with. There are three main approaches to building recruitment software: you can build your software from scratch, go with a Software as a Service solution, or use open-source options. Let’s see what each of these options brings to the table.
Services like SmartJobBoard, LinkedIn Jobs, and Betterteam are Software as a Service solutions. If you want to build your job board using a SaaS solution, you should know the following pluses and minuses.
SaaS platforms provide updates and upgrades. You don’t have to worry about the software. Bugs are fixed and necessary upgrades and improvements are made, which makes things hassle-free.
You can also always predict how much you’ll need to pay. Initially, your SaaS provider will ask for a one-time investment and will then charge you a monthly or yearly fee depending on your subscription plan. What’s more, you’ll be paying for a full-stack service, not just a product. If you need help with anything, your provider will be there for you. They’re responsible for hosting, monitoring, and maintenance. They also solve all technical issues.
Since your SaaS provider serves other customers like you, the costs for bug fixes, new features, and improvements are shared among all customers.
When traffic increases, you need additional storage, or your business expands, it won’t be your pain. A good Software as a Service provider has strategies and options to help you grow your business.
SaaS companies work with a single code base. That said, your provider will focus on one version of the software and constantly improve it.
A SaaS solution may sound like a convenient option, but you need to consider the cons too. For one, you need to study service agreements well to understand who owns the data. Some SaaS providers don’t provide a unique instance for you, which means that the data isn’t separated from other customers using the same SaaS. This can serve as a red warning sign, so make sure you’re familiar with all terms and conditions.
You should also see what a provider charges you for and know how often updates are pushed. If your provider asks you to pay for every random update separately and this cost isn’t included in the subscription fee, you may be dealing with a dishonest SaaS provider. Before you sign any contract, ask about the frequency of updates and how they’ll be paid for. Reputable SaaS providers usually include that price in your subscription fee.
A SaaS provider offers the same basic set of functionality to every customer. They can also offer additional features you need to pay extra for. If your requirements include unique features, your service provider most likely won’t be able to implement them.
Jobskee, Tramcar, Jobberbase, and JobBoard.io are just a few examples of open-source solutions you may want to consider.
Open-source solutions are usually cost-effective. You can use them for free. If you need additional plugins, widgets, or third-party products, though, you’ll have to pay.
When using an open-source solution with a community working on it, developers can improve the product, add features, and fix bugs. Additionally, there are no copyright issues. You can use the software for your purposes and the way you like, which allows you to adapt it to your particular needs.
However, not everything is as good as it sounds. You’ll have to think of maintenance and support costs, which tend to be much higher for open-source software than for a vendor-designed solution in the long run.
Eventually, you’ll want to add new features to improve user interactions. To do this non-trivial task, you’ll have to hire a software developer. They’ll likely spend time studying the code in an attempt to add something. This may be time-consuming.
Also, there are risks that the open-source project you’re using may be abandoned by the community. In this case, you’ll have to update the product on your own if the need arises.
How to build a job search website from scratch
At Steelkiwi, we recommend building a job search website from scratch. With a unique idea, you’ll likely need a custom product. There’s lots of flexibility if you choose to build from scratch. This flexibility will allow you to go above and beyond with the feature set, user interface, and user experience. You can choose any technology stack to satisfy the trickiest business logic. Also, when building from scratch you can create a database or integrate third-party APIs to your liking.
If you choose to start with an MVP, you can always add new functionality later on as your job board will be easy to scale and support. In addition, you can implement any payment gateways you need.
To build a reliable product, you should find and hire a software development company. Let us guide you through an example of how we build from scratch at Steelkiwi.
How to make a job website: Steelkiwi experience
We recently developed recruitment software for a client who has been working with a recruitment agency for quite a while. Inspired by several websites, our client showed their functionality to us and asked us to unite the best features of each into a standalone platform for reference-based recruitment. In 12 months, we created a website from scratch and a custom widget.
The unique part of this project is the widget we built. This widget allows the website to pull lists of vacancies and candidates from other internet sources and allows job seekers to apply for vacancies. Users have no need to worry if information changes, as the widget synchronizes with the websites it pulls data from.
The widget allows candidates to refer a vacancy to peers or refer an agency to a candidate they think is suitable for a given position. All users can filter vacancies by category, location, and type of work as well as view listing details and share those listings. However, only recruitment agency consultants can create beautiful custom posts and share them via email and social media.
Here’s how our widget looks:
Moving recruitment to the digital space
With recruitment processes moving to the digital space, you can develop a solution that caters to companies and job seekers alike. Steelkiwi developers can help you with that! If you still have questions on how to start a job portal website or need an estimate for your project, get in touch with us!