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So you want to run a job board...

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 11:41am Thursday 09 December 2010    Print Article

Do you have what it takes to run a successful (and profitable) new job board in Australia? Chances are no.

Every week we talk to at least 1 new entrepreneur who are thinking about launching a job board. Except they usually say it’s not a job board but a system that will "revolutionise the industry" - go figure. It's still some sort of marketplace where two players meet. My ears start to burn after a while with comments like "We can make lots of money" or "no one has seen this kind of site before".

I hate to disappoint anyone but these models will not gain any traction in the short term.

Gaining any sort of traction for a new entrant into the marketplace would be a very expensive long process. Don't get me wrong, I am all for competition and I would like to see SEEK lose some market monopoly.

Starting a new job board requires self discipline, dedication and persistence.

This is an industry with no barriers to entry, existing players with deep pockets and advertisers who demand performance. It also has a high turn over rate with startups vanishing into oblivion.

You can easily build a new job board for under $500. But why would anyone want to use your site?

Remember the age old question - What came first, the chicken or the egg? The same theory can be applied to your new job board. How do you attract advertisers to post ads if you have no candidates or traffic? But how can you attract visitors if you have no ads or content. How long will you have to offer free ads to justify advertisers to pay?

These are all questions you need to think long and hard about.

Running a job board is a 24/7 business. At any time of the day and night something will be happening on your site and you must be prepared to run it like that. This also applies to your support team. Your software provider is your best and only friend. If something goes wrong they are your lifeline.

You must have strong sales skills and thick skin. It is a tough marketplace and don't expect wide open arms greeting your new sites arrival. What immediate value will your new site bring an advertiser? Buying traffic and converting this into candidate applications is expensive. Adding a job board on to an existing publication or community site is a different story.

Often a new site will claim some sort of technology improvement/differentiation over their competitors. You may have that claim to fame today - tomorrow everyone else will have it. Recently everyone is back on the social media bandwagon. But all the advertiser wants is performance - quality candidate applications!

Don't rush into building a job board. Think hard about what else you could be using your time and resources for. Set realistic and achievable inventory benchmarks and ensure you have a 2nd income source while launching your new site.

But most of all ensure you get honest and straight advice from existing industry professionals. It is much harder than you think.

Article URL:

Article Tags: job board job board sales job ads job board software job board traffic recruitment technology

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Australian Job Board Statistics - November 2010

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 9:43am Monday 06 December 2010    Print Article

Australian Job Board Statistics measuring the total unique browsers during November 2010. Data source - Nielsen NetRatings. SEEK 4.245m, CareerOne 1.717m, MyCareer 1.383m

Article URL:

Article Tags: job board statistics job board report october 2010 careerone mycareer job board seek nielsen netratings

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TradeMe Jobs API

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 11:20am Monday 29 November 2010    Print Article

It seems everyone is releasing APIs at the moment. TradeMe's public API has been out for a few weeks now and I have finally managed to get around to building some examples. The TradeMe API is built on a simple RESTful standard. It uses HTTP request methods to GET/POST data via XML/JSON.

I have created a simple job board example using the TradeMe API at The example is designed for a mobile device (ie iPhone or Android). There are still a few small bugs in the TradeMe API so I have included the original REST URL for you to double check the returned XML.

For example, if I wanted my application to search all jobs in the "Accounting" category in "Auckland" the request URL is built using some parameters.

rows=20 (number of rows to display)
page=1 (what page of results to display)
sort_order=Default (default sort time. Can also be date posted/title etc)
category=5001 (job category for "Accounting")
region=1 (location for "Auckland")
salary_min=0 (search from min salary $0)
salary_max=10000000 (search to max salary $10000000)

Now that I have found some search results, how do I find out more information about the job? You will then need to individually call the listing's details. For this example we are going to find all the fields in the "National Sales Manager" role at TradeMe using the following URL. Note the format of the URL with [LISTINGID].XML

If you are thinking about building an application using the API, make sure you read all the developer documentation. TradeMe has enforced API call limiting and any calls using member data requires oAuth, https:// and application registration.

Article URL:

Article Tags: trademejobs trademe jobs api job board job ads xml api oauth

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SEEK adds LinkedIn profile import tool

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 7:00am Monday 29 November 2010    Print Article

SEEK has finally released the new job seeker resume database. Registered job seekers will now be able to parse their existing resume (using FAST Search) OR import their existing LinkedIn profile to the new SEEK job seeker database. SEEK's LinkedIn integration is very simple for job seekers to use and it's modeled on the same processed I have discussed previously.

A concern to most other job boards in the marketplace is any partnership between SEEK and LinkedIn. SEEK's control in Australia is well over 70% and with online properties in emerging markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Asia and China. It makes sense to set up some strategic working relationships between SEEK and LinkedIn now before its too late.

When creating your job seeker profile, you will notice an "import from LinkedIn" button on the work history tab. You will first need to authorise access for SEEK to import your LinkedIn details. Once authorised, you will be shown the data that will be imported to your profile.

If you are stuck for keywords to describe yourself, the system will automatically generate a number of keywords based on your resume and other profiles like yours. Simply drag and drop the keyword from the wall to the keyword fields.

Overall, the job seeker profile is quite simple for the average user to build a profile. There are plenty of tool tips and hints along the way.

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Article Tags: seek linkedin linkedin api job board linkedin integration job board resume database candidate profile

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MyCareer, TradeMe, & TheBigChair?? What is happening down in Fairfax land

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 8:00am Wednesday 24 November 2010    Print Article

Yesterday, Fairfax Media released an important announcement (PDF) as a result of a long winding review of its entire business operations. There were a few strategic announcements made about the future of MyCareer and the new use for

The domain has had a colourful past. Owned or operated by a number of different companies including AdCorp, Bernard Hodes, JobX, etc... and most recently OMG (was Boomerang now part owned by Fairfax). In 2006, our TV screens were plastered with a fictional character called Axel Johnson "What I’m about to show you may change your life. It’s called". What a mess that turned out to be.

The full investor presentation contains over 110 slides, so I have pulled out the most relevant ones for recruitment advertising. Some key takeaways from the presentation are:
  • There was no mention of the future for TheBigChair
  • Fairfax to pursue a dual brand strategy in Australia - MyCareer &
  • MyCareer iPhone App has had 106,838 downloads since the launch in June 2010
  • MyCareer will go "upmarket" (see Shortlist article) to focus on professionals. Repricing of advertising to increase yields to the business
  • to cover lower level, local jobs. Regional, affiliate networks and the Fairfax Community Network to rebrand as (change over has already started)
  • Increase focus on the MyCareer Education Centre
  • Quality over quantity
  • Greater job ad distribution and targeting (ie widgets/job boxes) across mastheads
  • TradeMe Jobs in strong position against SEEK NZ overtaking it in domestic UBs last month. Need to increase yields on advertising products

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Article Tags: mycareer thebigchair trademe jobs fairfax media job boards online recruitment online strategy niche job board job ad yields

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Facebook Messages: Are employers ready for unified communications?

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 9:59pm Tuesday 23 November 2010    Print Article

Google Wave bought us new ways on how people communicate with each other. The idea was great, but did it users going back for more? I resisted writing about Google Wave. It was a good idea; great mind built an amazing product. Now, I love new gadgets and toys. Usually I am the first one to put my hand up to try something new, but I can't really write about Facebook Messages without trying it first.

I must be on the bad list as there has been no invite to the beta program. The product is said to integrate email, SMS, chat into 1 message. It will make users contactable via their preferred medium.

eg. When someone emails a Facebook friend using their Facebook email account, the recipient can reply in the same window with the system's instant messaging system or email or text message. The aim is to put all types of messaging in one place and allow people to reply in real-time.

Most of the technical details remain unclear as it has not been publically released yet. Facebook Messages users will have two ways to send and receive Office files created in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint to friends and colleagues.

Will recruiters use Facebook Messages? Yes. If there is a medium, we will try to exploit it.

We have heard the court cases some recruiters have been subject to when they leave an employer – who owns the connection etc. So what will happen with the data between both users? Users will need to be aware that there is the potential for Facebook to store a complete archive of all their communications with one person.

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Article Tags: facebook using facebook for recruitment google wave communication sms email facebook chat

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Oakley's Minister for Fun

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 6:39pm Tuesday 23 November 2010    Print Article

There has been a plethora of job competitions over the past 12 months; you could forgive all media publications for not mentioning them ever again. Queensland's Best Job in the World was a mighty success, but on the flip side much can be said about Drake's The Ultimate Job comp.

Oakley Australia is currently looking for someone to join their marketing team. The prized role is the Online Marketing Assistant with an $110,000 package includes salary $45,000pa, Oakley clothing allowance $5,000, rent-free accommodation in a St Kilda apartment and travel expenses to Oakley events for one year.

There are 5 challenges candidates need to go through. It may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through, but what would you do for $110k? Interesting morphsuit video by contestant Chiquito

The competition has been promoted through an integrated website/Facebook marketing campaign. 100% Gen Y.

Challenge 1 (Oct 19 - Nov 22) has just ended where each applicant will be asked to submit either video, photos, song, animation or anything creative that answers a question 'Have you got what it takes to get "The Job"? Applicants will be asked to show Oakley why they deserve to be one of our Top 40 applicants.

Challenge 2 (Dec 2 - Jan 10) Top 40 Applicants who have made it through to Challenge 2 will be sent an email with 10 questions and asked to video tape themselves answering the 10 questions. 10 applicants will be selected to head into the final challenge. Top 30 runners up will have second chance to get back in the hunt in Challenge 3 once Challenge 2 finishes.

Challenge 3 (Dec 2 - Jan 25) 8 wildcard spots will be offered for chance to get into the Top 18. To do these applicants will be requested to upload a video.

Challenge 4 (Jan 27 - Feb 07) Top 18 will be set one final challenge - Each applicant will be given an Oakley Product and asked to promote it, documenting their challenge.

Challenge 5 - The top 5 applicants will be invited to the Oakley Rooftop party during the St Kilda Festival. All 5 applicants will meet the Oakley team and be interviewed before the winner is chosen and announced live on stage at the Oakley Rooftop Party.

Article URL:

Article Tags: oakley the ultimate job competition video interviews job applications video

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Australian Job Board Statistics - October 2010

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 9:00am Monday 01 November 2010    Print Article

Australian Job Board Statistics measuring the total unique browsers during October 2010. Data source - Nielsen NetRatings. SEEK 4.295m, CareerOne 1.625m, MyCareer 1.379m

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Article Tags: job board statistics job board report october 2010 careerone mycareer job board seek nielsen netratings

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Adlogic Webservice API

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 7:30am Monday 01 November 2010    Print Article

Adlogic has released a webservice API which has opened up their internal system for 3rd party developers to build websites and applications from. They have also released a number of pre-built scripts allowing recruiters/employers to easily integrate their job board with the new webservice API.

I've been lucky enough to be using and testing the new API for the past few months now and it's very easy to pull client job ads in real time instead of waiting for a XML file to be send through. Besides building a script to search and view jobs. More functions are expected to be added to the webservice including subscribing users to job alerts and posting job applications back into Adlogic.

In this example I will show you how to display a requested job ad via the system. You will need to understand SOAP and XML. SOAP is the communication method for accessing a webservice.

First we need to understand the types of requests Adlogic has available. We are going to use "createXMLToViewAd" with a test jobAdId and it will return the job ad in a XML structure. In that example below we will look at the SOAP envelope calls.

SOAP Request

SOAP Response

Now we understand what the return XML looks like, we can now script the request. In this example I am writing it in PHP. PHP 5 includes inbuilt SOAP and XML classes.

PHP Code
<?PHP // set webservice API $wsdl_url = ''; // connect to the webservice $getJobDetails = new SoapClient($wsdl_url, array('trace' => 1)); // pass in the parameters $searchParams = array('jobAdId' => 3968303); // call the method $wsResults = $getJobDetails->createXMLToViewAd($searchParams); // return results $jobreturn = $wsResults->return; // read the XML and design the job ad $xmlRaw = iconv("UTF-8","UTF-8//IGNORE",$jobreturn); $xml = simplexml_load_string($xmlRaw); // check string length of each bulletpoint. If yes, display if ((strlen($xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[0]) > 0) || (strlen($xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[1]) > 0) || (strlen($xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[2]) > 0)) { $bulletpoints = '<ul>'; } if (strlen($xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[0]) > 0) { $bulletpoints .= '<li>'.$xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[0].'</li>'; } if (strlen($xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[1]) > 0) { $bulletpoints .= '<li>'.$xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[1].'</li>'; } if (strlen($xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[2]) > 0) { $bulletpoints .= '<li>'.$xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[2].'</li>'; } if ((strlen($xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[0]) > 0) || (strlen($xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[1]) > 0) || (strlen($xml->BulletPoints->BulletPoint[2]) > 0)) { $bulletpoints .= '</ul>'; } echo '<html> <head> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8"> <style type="text/css"> body, td, p { font-size: 12px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000000; } </style> </head> <body> <table width="460px" style="border: 1px solid #000000;" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tr> <td><div style="margin:20px; font-size:18pt; line-height:normal">'.$xml->JobTitle.'</div> <div style="margin:20px;">'.$bulletpoints.$xml->JobDescription.'</div> <div style="margin:20px;"><a href="'.$xml->Enquiry->ApplicationURL.'"><strong>APPLY NOW</strong> </a></div></td> </tr> </table> </body> </html>'; ?>
PHP Output

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Article Tags: job ads adlogic webservice xml job board api soap adlogic webservice api recruitment website

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CareerOne Power Search

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 9:24pm Sunday 31 October 2010    Print Article

CareerOne has quietly switched on PowerSearch across the public job search function and the resume database. Behind PowerSearch, is a product called 6Sense which has been awarded multiple patents for its semantic search technology.

Statistics released by Monster in the US found that job seekers using 6Sense have applied to 20% more jobs per visit and have viewed 18% more jobs than seekers using keyword based search. It will be quite interesting to hear how job seekers will find more relevant jobs on CareerOne compared to the other job sites.

The search engine understands the meaning behind the search criteria. It finds related job titles, industries and skills that are relevant to what you are looking for. It also builds upon its own artificial intelligence to understand what skills belong to what job categories.

Job Title, Skills/Keywords and Location search fields all have search suggestions being built as you type. You could only imagine the millions of skills and keywords that the system has to process. Search results are returned with a weighting score.

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Article Tags: careerone monster power resume search 6sense job search job board semantic search job keywords power search

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