Job boards must evolve or die

Over a year ago, I wrote about the changes in the job board world. I also promised myself I wouldn’t write about job boards ‘dying’ for at least a year. In the meantime, Jacco Valkenburg wrote a great post about “Job Boards 2020“, making some excellent observations about where job boards are going. Here are some of my thoughts – and cheap cialis soft some ideas on why job boards fail.

Are some job boards dying? Well, of course they are. All industries have some companies that are dying – and some that are growing. So, through the Darwinian fight for survival, some job boards die.

But does that mean that all job boards are dying? Of course not. If anything, there has been an explosion of niche sites over the past several years.  Why? Job boards can be very efficient at bringing employer and job seeker together.

Instead of arguing about the disappearance of an entire industry, I think it is more useful to look at why some job boards do die. Smart job boards do just this – they study and analyze the failures to avoid becoming one of the statistics.

So…here are a few reasons why any given job board might fail:

  • Forgot what business it was in: Job boards deliver quality candidates for employers at a competitive price. When a job board fails this basic task, it’s on the way out.
  • Didn’t pay attention to its customers: Job boards have 2 sets of customers: employers and job seekers. Both have to be treated well and with respect.
  • Didn’t understand its customers: Not all employers and/or job seekers are alike. Dentists have different needs from food production managers.  A job board should understand exactly what differentiates its particular employers and candidates.
  • Failed to invest in technology: For boards that have been around since the mid-to-late 90s, failure to keep up with the latest search and site technology was easy – no real consequences. That’s changed – increased competition from within and without the job board industry means that a site has to get better – or get passed by.
  • Ignored changes in candidate behavior: How have candidates changed since 1995? Hmm…how about ubiquitous cell phone use? A computer (or two) on every desktop? Use of search engines first to find anything (including jobs)? Willingness to disclose lots of info online? An ever-shortening attention span?
  • Failed to provide meaningful metrics: If your business is connecting employers to candidates, you ought to have some solid stats to back up what you do. “That’s too hard?” Sorry – other sites are doing it.
  • Failed to brand: When most job sites have names like “JobsIn…” or “ABCJobs”, you know you need branding. Unfortunately, most job boards haven’t learned that lesson. Strong brands survive (and are more profitable); weak or non-existent brands are always a liability.
  • Did not understand social media: Let’s face it – you need to understand something before you can really use it effectively in your business. Some job boards really understand how it works (I’m thinking College Recruiter and JobShouts!), but many don’t. Waiting for social media to go away isn’t an answer.

Evolving is much better than fading away.


The Job Board Doctor is Jeff Dickey-Chasins, a veteran of the job board, publishing, and e-learning industries. Jeff was the original marketing director for, growing it from $7 million to $65+ million in three years. He has worked with numerous job boards and HR-related sites over the past 20 years. His website is:

About Guest blogger is always interested in bloggers with indepth knowledge and experience of Employer Branding, e-HRM, Recruitment & Selection. That may be a guest blogger, but we also welcome bloggers to write regular content. Do you have an interesting topic about recruitment, a new product launch, career event to promote, launching a new employer branding campaign, or you do you miss any important messages? Please let us know. Of course we are always interested to hear your feedback. Contact Jacco Valkenburg for more information.

1 Comment

  1. The JobBoard is a web1.0 outbound broadcasting model in most respects. It was born there, at least for the UK in 1994 and It served that era, an era indeed of the mass CV and less conversation. That era is now passing, dying and kaput!. In the current form, I cannot see a role for JobBoards coming into the future unless there will in future, be a space for the current static one-dimensional list model, that a candidate of the future mindset is prepared to enter.

    When candidates are not at JobBoards, recruiters will stop posting jobs on those JobBoards. Win the hearts of candidates of the generation Y ilk, engage with in conversation and you have a JobBoard future. The JobBoard model as it currently stands has no conversation. I only see viability where the conversation exists – and that will happen between the recruiter / employer and candidate with or without the JobBoard. Providing feeds of jobs and even mobile apps on phones is not a conversation, nor innovation of the current ‘model’.

    Where the conversation continues is also an important survival factor. The conversation happening will need to be in the Passive and Active space. In JobBoard world, the audience is the smaller end, the Active only. A continued conversation is required in the Passive post and pre job.

    It’s not just up to jobboards to be innovative however, those recruiters operating the very much imposed transactional model mostly operated today may have forgotten how to communicate outside of that transactional box and build candidate networks. The opportunity ahead and a better experience all round lies ahead for those getting it right!