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How to drive more traffic to the job posting ads on your job board or other marketplace

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Steven Rothberg AvatarSteven Rothberg
April 26, 2022

What is a job board? Is it different than a job marketplace? Is LinkedIn a job board, a marketplace, a social media site, or something else?

Quite simply, a job board is any website on which employers advertise their job openings to job seekers. Some job boards refer to themselves as job marketplaces and claim that there’s a difference but, in my mind, there isn’t. Or, better said, there isn’t a substantial difference. Some job boards might be better described as job marketplaces and some job marketplaces might be better described as job boards. What is different in my mind? Quite frankly, nothing major. The only difference, and I think it is minor and full of exceptions, is that sites tend to refer to themselves as job boards if they’ve been in existence for more than a handful of years and most of the jobs advertised on them are for traditional, non-gig jobs. On the other hand, the new the site, the more likely it is that they’ll refer to themselves as a marketplace and the higher the percentage of gig jobs advertised on the site, also the more likely it is that they’ll refer to themselves as a marketplace.

But is LinkedIn and job board? Job marketplace? Social media site? Something else. The answer is, yes. LinkedIn has always done a superb job of marketing itself more as a social media site than a job board because it realized very early in its existence that employers won’t get upset if they find their employee’s profile on LinkedIn but they would get upset if they found that same employee’s almost identical profile on a job board. By convincing employers that it is a social media site, LinkedIn was able to provide cover for the employees who were, essentially, advertising their availability. Employers could look at those profiles and convince themselves that the employee didn’t post their profile because they’re open to new work opportunities but, instead, they’re networking. Job seeking is bad. Networking is good. Or so the argument goes. In reality, LinkedIn is a job board, or a marketplace, or whatever you want to call a site where employers advertise their job openings. Why? Because if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck then it is a duck. Virtually all of LinkedIn’s revenues come from employers advertising their job openings, search candidate profiles to reach out to people to tell them about job openings (sourcing), or both. How does that differ from a job board? It doesn’t.

Okay, now that we have that definition behind us, what are some winning strategies that job boards a/k/a/ job marketplaces use to drive more candidate traffic to their sites and to the job postings on their sites?

  • Distribute some or even all of the jobs advertised on your job board to other job boards using programmatic job distribution technology and paying those other sites on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis by sharing some of the revenue that your customers are paying to you. This strategy was popularized by Indeed two decades ago and it remains one of the most cost effective, efficient ways of delivering more candidates to your employer customers. Some job boards will buy traffic to drive up registrations and then repeatedly email or otherwise message those candidates to get them to come back to job after job after job. Other job boards will distribute some of the jobs advertised on their sites to other job boards but pass the candidates who click to the customer’s site to, hopefully, apply. In those cases, the candidates do not stop on the second job board and so the candidate does not feel like they’re going from job board to job board to job board. If they have that feeling, that creates a bad candidate experience. Let’s remember that, at the end of the day, all a candidate wants to do is apply and get hired. They don’t really care what site they’re on when they do that. They’re a lot more interested in the job than they are in the job board. College Recruiter partners with dozens of job boards that target students, recent graduates, and other early career candidates by distributing some of the jobs on our site to the other job boards and then paying them when one of their candidates sees the posting and clicks to apply. We send the candidates to the sites of our customers instead of having them stop on College Recruiter because we believe that creates a better experience for the candidate.
  • Leverage your blog or other content on your site by posting articles that should be of interest to candidates. If an article is about a topic such as how to find an engineering internship, then link “engineering internship” in your article to the search results for engineering internships on your site. Some of the candidates reading that article will click that link, go to the search results, read some of the job postings, and apply to some of them. Also, Google and other search engines will see that link and better understand that the page you’ve linked to is relevant to a search for “engineering internships” and so will deliver more candidates to you who are searching Google etc. for those same keywords. When people talk about search engine optimization (SEO), this is what they’re talking about.
  • Pay-per-click ads on Google and other search engines are highly efficient, effective ways of driving well-targeted candidate traffic at scale. Efficient because they take little time to buy. Effective because they work well. Like all advertising, they cease to work as soon as you stop but, on the other hand, they work regardless of whether the search engine changes its algorithm so your traffic isn’t dependent on Google etc. continuing to send you organic (free) traffic.
  • Press releases can drive a healthy amount of candidate traffic, but they tend to only work well if the content is actually of interest to the reader and, therefore, the media that you’re hoping will run your story. Announcing a product that might be exciting to you but not to the candidates is a great way of ensuring that your press release will be ignored. Think about the topic from the perspective of the candidates who, quite frankly, probably don’t care at all about your business. If the press release announces something that they can easily and quickly see will make a substantial, positive impact on their lives then it is likely that they’ll read the press release and visit your site. And if they’re likely to do that, it is also likely that the media they consume will run the story in the first place.
  • Share content on social media sites like Facebook. Months ago, Facebook announced that it was terminating its job board but would continue to run ads for employers in the U.S. and Canada, at least for a short period of time. Whether you’re able to share your postings on Facebook’s job board or not, you can share them on your personal and company pages. The more that your connections are inspired by the job opportunity, the more likely it is that they’ll click on the content to go to your site or wherever that job posting ad lives.
  • Contests for using or even registering with your site can be effective. In our college and university student and recent graduate niche, we see some of our competitive incentivizing candidates to visit and register by offering scholarships. Other rewards that job boards will sometimes offer include physical goods that need to be shipped such as coffee mugs, t-shirts, or printed books or digital goods that can be downloaded like white papers and digital books.
  • LinkedIn groups can be hit or miss. They used to be a lot more popular but LinkedIn de-emphasized Groups years ago and moderators of those groups have struggled since then to get traction. Still, there are some groups that are quite active. What’s the difference between groups that are basically ghost towns and those which are thriving? In my mind, the skill of the moderator. Some are superb at creating wonderfully engaging communities. Others just post a bunch of content that is of little to no interest to readers and so generates little to no activity.
  • Old school marketing techniques like business cards, flyers, trade shows, and more can be quite labor-intensive but, in certain niches, quite productive. Would you rather fish in a pond where everyone is fishing or in a pond with perhaps fewer fish but you’re the only one fishing? In my mind, the answer to that question isn’t as clear as it is to some others. A lot of people asked that question would say the pond where you’re the only one fishing. But if you’re unlikely to catch any fish in that pond but a handful in the more popular pond, it seems to me that you’re better off fishing in the pond where everyone is fishing. Yes, you have more competition but, at the end of the day, what matters is how many fish you catch. If the old school techniques generate a good return on your investment (you need to factor in the cost of your time to get an accurate measure of your ROI), then go for it. Quite frankly, I’ve seen very few job boards generate a good ROI when using old school marketing techniques to reach candidates.

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