Merging Job Boards and Recruitment Services

Whilst far from a new concept, I’ve found few resources that talk about how to merge recruitment agency and job board business models. Reed is the obvious huge example, but I’m talking about niche boards and agencies.

Merging Job Boards and Recruitment Services

Whilst far from a new concept, I’ve found few resources that talk about how to merge recruitment agency and job board business models. Reed is the obvious huge example, but I’m talking about niche boards and agencies.

I’ve networked heavily over the last two years, whilst building my own fusion model and two things have become clear:

  1. Recruiters know little about job board businesses.
  2. Job board owners know little about recruitment businesses.

I hear about the frustrations and successes from both business types and it’s clear to me that they can solve each other’s problems outside of merely being a  client-supplier relationship.

All of this, whilst enhancing service levels which benefits clients and candidates alike. Delivering more value = greater success.

Why now?

Despite Reed launching their internet venture in 1995, I think this is only emerging as interesting niche in the world of talent.

Firstly, the democratisation of technology means it’s easier than ever to build tech based products without significant investment. You can teach yourself to do it more quickly and easily than ever before.

Secondly, both candidates and employers have higher expectations. They too have access to the same tools recruiters and job boards do. The majority are on Linkedin which is also a job board and powers the majority of recruiters. Both business types face a battle to stay relevant.

Lastly, commercial pressures necessitate exploring the product ladder - offering more productised services in the case of recruiters or a more consultative approach with job boards.

Real-World Examples

We’ve mentioned Reed already.

Alec Reed was a serial innovator, never standing still. With the advent of the internet in mid 90s, they launched in 1995. It took a while to gain traction but by the year 2000 they had 42,000 jobs on the site and doubled it soon afterwards. It’s now a giant in the job board and education world. in 1996

They experimented with Freecruitment- allowing anyone to advertise for free, including competitors. Whilst this is hugely counterintuitive to anyone in recruitment, it was rocket fuel for their traffic and crowds attracted crowds.

They had push back when they eventually monetised but at that point they were a market leader. He states in 2012 that profits are modest due to continued reinvestment but the asset value is huge.

They also noticed no appreciable drop in recruitment business from cannibalising their bricks and mortar business. I’d posture that it probably enhanced their recruitment business.

As Alec Reed says in his autobiography:

If a bus looks as if it is going somewhere interesting, it pays to get on it - even though you can sometimes end up walking home.

I believe the same is true of the opportunity to merge these worlds, now.

Why Recruitment Agencies Should Build a Job Board

The benefits to a recruitment agency are boundless. A job board can become a key marketing asset for a recruitment agency, regardless of whether it becomes a primary revenue generator or not.

Here’s just a few of the benefits:

  1. Expand your reach

A job board has the potential to drive more traffic that a simple brochure recruitment website ever will. You only have to look at the keyword ranking and search estimates of the case studies on popular recruitment website development agencies to realise they provide little ROI. Before I built our board, I had never worked in a recruitment business where the website was an asset beyond looking nice and proving you exist.

  1. Develop a USP

Recruiters always struggle to define a USP - faster, better blah blah. With a job board you can quantify your reach, as well as provide insights and services others can’t.

  1. Automate content and website relevance

The problem with building a website? You then have to keep it up to date for it to stay relevant. You need to do better than generic 500 word articles on top interview tips - they will not rank and are a waste of time. A job board gives you more to work with as jobs are fresh content.

  1. Enhances scalability of your business

Creating a highly trafficked website gives you more capability as a recruiter. It’s an owned asset so it will help you to scale.

  1. Improve operational efficiencies

It creates inbound demand which you can turn into operational gains. You will start to own your own pipelines rather than leasing them from others.

  1. Increase impact

As a recruiter you can do more, with less. An automated job board takes care of a number of job functions you would typically hire for or outsource.

  1. Deliver more value to your market

You can’t fill every role. In fact most recruiters fill rates are woeful, the industry is a wasteful one. What do you do with the jobs you can’t or don’t want to fill? How do you help candidates you don’t have anything for? Or Silver medallists? A job board delivers value when you can’t personally and it’s free to the user; it’s an extension of your quality of service.

  1. Provide data insights

Job boards are a treasure trove of data. You can dice and splice this many ways and it’s your data - not Linkedin’s, Indeed’s or another job board’s.

  1. Become a profit centre

It’s kind of obvious but you can monetise a job board in numerous ways. Personally, I wouldn’t set revenue as a primary goal, but a happy byproduct of a successful job board and fused model.

  1. Lead generation

Owing to all of the reasons above, you will inevitably win more recruitment business. It might look different within your now suite of services but there will always be roles where a consultant is needed to support.

Why Job Boards Should Develop Recruitment Services

I think most job board owners would balk at the thought of setting up a full blown service business but I don’t think it’s as scary as it sounds.

It can be high leverage if structured in the right way and this does not mean copying a traditional recruitment agency model with 180 or 360 recruitment consultants.

Here’s a few ideas on why you should consider it:

  1. Low hanging revenue

Some roles will always require the support of a human to make a match. Job boards are missing out by not offering an end to end service at a higher fee level than advertising.

  1. Enhanced partnerships

Solving more problems for your customers will strengthen your relationships, moving you from a transactional relationship into a consultative one.

  1. Increase impact

Someone once told me that all roads lead back to recruitment services and there will always be roles that need more support. By offering a better outcome guarantee you increase your impact and create a network impact effect across your brand.

  1. Mitigate market pressures

Advertising revenue often faces pressures due to traffic market effects, SEO unpredictability, and large-scale competition. Adding recruitment services creates an alternative income source.

  1. Improving the quality of your job board

Getting closer to the problem by providing an end-to-end service will aid you in understanding your customers’ needs and challenges. This will inform the continuous improvement of your job board.

  1. Lead generation

As job boards already know, not every nail requires a sledgehammer. For roles that don’t require a recruiter’s support, you’re more likely to win business on your existing products.

Benefits to Customers

Combining a job board with recruitment services results in a multiplier effect on the value delivered. It offers substantial benefits to both candidates and employers:

For Candidates:

  1. More options, better outcomes:

Having both solutions means you can provide more jobs, better information, and increased choice. This helps candidates secure improved career opportunities.

  1. Increased market insights:

By curating jobs, you offer a broader view of the market and enhanced data on employers and the jobs themselves.

  1. Continual updates:

Regular automated updates keep candidates informed about the latest opportunities, enhancing their job search experience.

For Employers:

  1. Enhanced reach:

With an integrated job board and recruitment services, you tap into an expansive audience, strengthening your claim to unparalleled reach within your specialist niche.

  1. Unique talent pool:

A dual-service platform can yield unique candidates, inaccessible through other channels. It helps cut through the high-volume, low-quality responses that employers often receive from large job boards. This offers better quality leads that can save employers' time and effort. It also makes the hiring process more cost-effective.  

  1. Flexible services & pricing:

An employer can purchase a job ad or hire your services on a search or retained basis, depending on their needs. They can also experiment with different service models, such as pay-per-application or pay-per-outcome. You can also leverage your platform to advertise roles depending on their priority. This flexibility gives employers the control, choice, and ultimately, more desirable outcomes. and Bolt Search: My Experience

I’ve spent the last two years building alongside my recruitment business.

It’s been tough, but rewarding.

I’ve experienced business growth, leverage and developed a cast iron USP. The learning curve has been extremely steep and I’m still learning every day.

I want to connect with likeminded people so if this article resonates with you, subscribe below for more on this topic and reach out!

What next?

If you already straddle both sectors, I’d love to hear from you and connect. I’m a huge believer in collaborating to achieve more.

If you're just starting out and thinking about merging a job board with recruitment services, I can help.

Whether it's mitigating risks, building technology, or aligning it with your recruitment processes.

> image attribution: Photo by Lance Grandahl on Unsplash

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