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It is better
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John Sumser

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Job Board Definitions II

(April 29, 2004) - On one level, the definition of a Job Board is simple. It is an operation that converts web traffic into potential candidates. Whether it's a corporate entity trolling for workers from its website, the USArmy building its recruitment ranks or a commercial organization looking for a foot hold in the hiring business, job boards all convert traffic into potential candidates.

From a candidate's perspective, a job board is a place to look for a job.  From an employer's perspective, it's an advertising and publicity vehicle. Since the core conversion process involves matching traffic with hiring requirements, the underlying business is an information age version of the oil industry. The traffic acquisition experts identify potential "oil fields" and experiment with methods and techniques for extraction. The "refinery" produces "product" at a level that, hopefully, is a match with market needs. The tremendous business opportunity involves the fact that the "gasoline" can be put in a number of tanks.

Not surprisingly, the bulk of the markets for potential candidates are local. As the workforce ages, it is decreasingly likely to move. Although some 20% of the population will consider a move for a job (the number varies by profession), most folks want the comfort and security of their roots. This, in effect, makes local refining operations the ultimate norm in our little version of the oil business.

Even though professions are more malleable than ever before (the average worker changes careers several times in a work life), most of us look for work in our chosen profession for a long time before considering the switch as a possibility. This results in a further segmentation of local markets; they tend to clump along professional lines. Both Monster and HotJobs have focused their offerings so that the "local-professional intersection" is an increasingly important component of site functionality.

With this grounding, it's possible to define some basic functions of a job board:

  • Traffic Acquisition (From Branding to Individual Purchasing on Google)
  • Traffic Retention (Keeping the Traffic/Candidate Relationships)
  • Traffic Refining (Data Collection and Sorting)
  • Product Design and Packaging (For Recruiters or other traffic purchasers)
  • Customer Acquisition (Marketing To HR/Staffing Firms)
  • Sales (Often Combined w/ Customer acquisition in Direct Marketing)
Traffic Product HR/ Staffing Customer
 Firm Acquisition Retention Refining Design/Package Acquisition Sales
 Monster x x x x x x
 Hot Jobs x x x x x x
 CareerBuilder x x x x x x
 CareerSite/PowerOne       x   x
 Salary x x x x    
 CareerJournal x x x x x x
 CareerCast     x      
 Dice x x x x x x
 Regional HelpWanted   x x x x x
 Top Jobs x x   x    
 Unicru x x x x    
 Retailology x x x x    
 Vault x x x x x x
 WetFeet x x x x x x
 Job.com x x x x x x
 Net Temps x x x x x x
 GoArmy x x x      
 Abracat     x x    
 Employment Guide x x x x x x
 Typical Company Site x   x      
 Direct Employers       x x x
 6 Figure Jobs x x x x x x

The table shows the range of variation between well known players. In the simplest analysis, the biggest player is the one with the strongest sales team. Variations in site quality that produce higher retention or more precise acquisition result in major competitive advantages.

Over the coming days, we'll look more closely at each of the functions.

John Sumser

The Job Board Definitions Series:

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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