So you want to run a job board...

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

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 itís 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.