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Advice for Employers and Recruiters

Be sure your non-job content is delivering a positive ROI

Shelby Konkel AvatarShelby Konkel
February 2, 2023

Create, manage, and work with Job Boards and Recruitment Marketplaces.

Each week, Steven Rothberg, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of College Recruiter, and Peter M. Zollman, Founder of the AIM Group, along with guests from the world’s leading job sites, analyze news about general, niche, and aggregator job board and recruitment marketplace sites.

This episode’s featured guest is Kelly Cherwin, the Director of Editorial Strategy at HigherEdJobs, the leading job board and resource site in academia. She also teaches project management and strategic management courses at two universities in the Chicago area. Additionally, she’s the co-host of the HigherEdJobs Podcast, which offers great career advice to staff and faculty of colleges and universities.

One particularly unusual facet of HigherEdJobs is their focus on providing non-job related content, like articles, blogs, videos, webcasts, and podcasts. HigherEdJobs doesn’t subscribe to the traditional methods of measuring the ROI on their mostly evergreen content. Instead, the high engagement their articles receive with both active and passive job seekers is a large part of how they measure their success.

The full episode is available here:

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Steven (00:09):

Welcome to the Inside Job Boards and Recruitment Marketplaces podcast. I’m Stephen Rothberg, the founder of College Recruiter, job search site at College Recruiter. We believe that every student in recent grad deserves a great career.

Peter (00:23):

And I’m Peter Zollman, founding Principal of the AIM Group, the leading global business intelligence service for marketplaces and classified advertising companies. We consult with recruitment marketplaces, companies and publish AIM group, recruitment intelligence, and a free weekly digest. We also host the annual Global Rebus Conference.

Steven (00:44):

This is the podcast for you to learn more about how to create, manage, and work with general niche and aggregator job boards and recruitment marketplaces. Well, hello, Mr. Zelman. It is a pleasure being back with you.

Peter (01:00):

It is good to be here. It’s another Thursday, and that means we’re podcasting again.

Steven (01:07):

Yeah. Thursday also means if you’re in college, that’s the night that you go up for beers because you only have one more day to get through through the weekend. And, and you can just tough it out for that day.

Peter (01:18):

Oh, I know. I knew so many people in college who made sure they never took a class on Friday, <laugh>. And then they never took a class on Monday and, you know, <laugh>. But if you can work it out and somebody, some people took just Tuesday, Thursday classes, <laugh> hey, whatever it takes. Right?

Steven (01:39):

Absolutely. And, and we’re gonna talk about college. Here’s the transition, here’s the awkward transition. I

Peter (01:45):

Did that. Right? I did that.

Steven (01:47):

So we’re gonna, we’re gonna talk about the whole college life, at least from the employment status side with, with today’s guest. She is Kelly Sherwin, the director of editorial strategy at higher ed jobs. And higher ed jobs is the leading job board and resource site in academia. Every time I read that word, by the way, I just sort of feel like it’s Greek, but whatever. I think it’s the weird IA at the end. Kelly teaches project management and strategic management courses at two different universities in the Chicago area. Apparently she’s so good. She gets two instead of just one. And she’s also the co-host of the higher ed jobs podcasts, and they offer great career advice to staff and faculty of, of colleges and universities. So, Kelly, before I just completely go off the rails, I wanna welcome you to the Inside Job boards and Recruitment Marketplaces podcast.

Kelly (02:43):

Well, thank you to you both. It was very, there’s a very nice introduction. I am so happy to be here today.

Peter (02:48):

Well, we are glad to have you. It is nice to talk to people in Chicago, especially people in Chicago who had the brains to get outta mini soda <laugh>. Unlike some people who stayed in Minnesota, guilty yep. Guilty is charged. I lived in Buffalo for seven and a half years, five and a half years rather. And that’s why I now live in Florida. It’s a good reason.

Kelly (03:14):

Well, I must say part of my, part of my heart still is in, in, in Minnesota, but I do love the Chicago area, and I will also say that I grew up from in Wisconsin. So if you hear the, the, the about in some of the words, that’s, that’s where it’s coming from.

Peter (03:28):

<Laugh>, well, you’ll hear a, a lot from Steven because he’s a Winnipeg originally, but linguistic defenses.

Steven (03:38):

I was kicked out of Canada because I didn’t say a at the end of my sentences. So I, I wasn’t, I wasn’t allowed to

Peter (03:45):

Stay. I lived in Buffalo, which is honorary Canada, although they didn’t want it either. And I often said a and people would look at me and go, are you from Canada? Anyway, let’s talk about jobs and job boards and recruitment marketplaces and things like that. What on earth is the difference from a job seeker and an employer perspective between a job at a corporation and a job at a college or university on the staff or faculty?

Kelly (04:18):

So I, I think I’ll, I’ll start with the, the, I’m, I’ve been in, in the higher ed space for over 20 years. So I, I think I can speak a little bit more to, to to that side. But in terms of the actual process of looking for a job, I am, I’m gonna say there’s probably similar in how people are looking for in terms of what the resources they’re using. They’re using you know, LinkedIn, they’re using personal referrals you know, maybe they’re connecting to the institute or looking at the company’s website and things like that. But with the higher education space using a a specific site like higher ed jobs is nice because it allows you kind of to drill down to specific areas in, in terms of, of, you know, the higher education space.

Peter (05:04):

And does that have to do with, you know, terminal degrees, degrees types of job tenure track, non-tenure track? Or what’s, what are those differences that matter on higher ed jobs?

Kelly (05:20):

Yeah, that’s a great question. We, we, and I don’t want this to be a a, a sales pitch for, for higher ed jobs, but we’re really proud of all the work that we’ve done over the years to make the, the, the site and the, the process a little bit easier. We completely understand that a job search, it, it, no matter if it’s in higher ed or outside higher ed, is, is difficult. It can be emotional, it can be you know, draining. It’s, it’s, it’s a lot of work. I mean, there’s some times that, you know, you might not even want to check your email. The, the thought of sending out another application is, is tough. So for higher ed jobs, we allow our job seekers to, to go in and search for, you know, maybe if they want a full-time, if they want a part-time, if they want to, to maybe teach online if they wanna work as a staff member on, on campus, if you know, whatever type of designation, maybe they have a a, a a, a partner or spouse if a, a dual career. So we allow people to really kind of drill down it and seek that. Hopefully that, that ideal position. So I don’t know if, if you know, if, if private sector has that type of ability to kind of you know, drill down as far as, you know, looking at thousands of, of colleges and universities. But yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s how we do it. And we’re pretty pretty you know, happy with the way that we can, the services and the support we can provide to our job seekers.

Steven (06:43):

Yeah. The, you know, part of the support that higher ed jobs offers that I think is, is, it’s not unique, but it’s really unusual in the job board and recruitment marketplace space is, is the content that you generate. And when at college recruiter, we, we refer to content as job content, you know, job posting ads, and non-job content. So I’m, I’m talking specifically about the non articles, blogs, videos, webcasts, podcasts. And one of the things that I recently learned about higher ed jobs is that you’re able to measure the roi on that content. You know, when you publish an article, you’ve got an idea of like, not only what the cost of doing that is, but what the return on that the revenue generated should be. Walk us through how you guys do that, and then also that the benefit of being able to do that.

Kelly (07:39):

Well, we actually don’t put a, a huge amount on, on the actual money side, the profit side, obviously we have a, a stable of, of you know, paid regular contributors. But we are really, really fortunate that we have a huge amount of volunteer writers that contribute to, to our site. I I often joke that I have the, the best job at higher ed jobs. Cause I, I get to, to speak to so many different experts across you know, the, the college campuses who volunteer their time to write. You know, maybe they, they wrote a, a book about higher ed, or maybe they wrote or, you know, their experts in whatever area it is. So we have them you know, contribute to, to our site. So in terms of, yes, you’re right, we do measure how many views we have.


We we, we love to see engagement. We, we like to we like to see, you know, people forwarding the, the, the, the articles you know, responding on social media. It, it, it, it, it’s, it feels good. But the reason I, I, I say we don’t specifically measure in terms of, you know, profit and money and ROI in terms of financial is because we don’t think that an article topic that gets, say, 1500 views or 2000 views is any less important, more important than, than an article that might get 12,000 views. So it really depends on, on what that job seeker is looking for. Or you know, I should back up a little bit and say, not, not everyone that comes to our site is actual job p active job seekers. We have a large population of, of passive job seekers as well. So, you know, maybe you’re working on, on campus and you’re just interested to see what’s happening in, in higher ed. Maybe there is a, a, a book review, something like that. So that’s kind of how we measure success, if you wanna say, if, if, if people are, if it’s resonating with people and it’s, it’s helping them connect in their, their career and potentially help them get that job. So hopefully that, that answers your, your question there

Peter (09:47):

Are, are most of the articles evergreen, do they last forever?

Kelly (09:54):

Not, not all of them, but we do definitely have a large amount of ever of Evergreen articles. It’s, it’s funny you mentioned that some of my, my team and I were just looking through our job search articles the other day, and we saw some great pieces that were yeah, from 20 14, 15, 16, 17, and we’re looking at them saying, should we, are these out of date? Should we refresh them? I mean, I’ve seen some are, you know, might have some type of political connection or things like that that you know, obviously, you know, time has passed. But a lot of the, the, the tools that we try to equip our, our readers with have stayed the same, but we definitely want to ref refresh content. So we look at that. But yeah, we have a good balance of evergreen and kind of you know, breaking up to date type of, of content as well. I mean, obviously with the pandemic things have, our content has changed a little bit in terms of, of, you know, people interviewing hybrid and things like that. So we try to evolve.

Steven (10:50):

We’ll be back right after this break. Welcome back to the inside job boards and Recruitment Marketplaces podcast.

Peter (11:08):

You host a podcast, Stephen mentioned it and it’s now in its second season. What have you learned about doing a podcast that applies to other job boards, recruitment marketplaces, if they want to do a podcast, what should they know and what did you screw up that you would tell them, <laugh>, don’t do this? <Laugh>

Kelly (11:33):

Yeah, I could probably talk the next 20 minutes on, on some things that we, we would, would yeah, made mistakes or, or like I said earlier, just kind of evolve. But I guess my biggest piece of advice would be, you know, for those people who are, are maybe contemplating doing it I know this is sounds simple, but just do it. I, I will admit that I never had this burning desire to be a co-host of a podcast. It, I really did. But my, my, my friend Andy Hive, who kind of pushed me into doing it, pushed both of us, actually. He pushed me in a good way. He pushed both of us out of our comfort zone. And you know, we realized that we have some you know, experience in, in higher ed and some, some expertise to, to share.


And we both kind of had to get out of him. And I can’t speak for Andy, but get out of our heads. So that’s kind of what I would say is like, just do it. Stop overthinking it. You know, just, just you know, maybe I have a little bit of that imposter syndrome and just like, let it go and just do it. So that’s kind of the first hurdle that we we had to overcome. But in terms of other kind of the, the good and and bad things, we, we, when we first started out, I know we were I’m not sure if, if anyone listened, kind of the first Mike smiling, the first couple episodes we were very, very like scripted and, and, and serious, and we were like reading and, and things like that. So kind of like, I, I love what you guys did.


You know, at the beginning we were, we were just kind of having some conversation and you know, getting going with that. But, so that’s kind of the actual, like the recording side and, and getting better. But in terms of, of content and, and my advice to people in terms of, you know, getting guests and you know, coming up with topics is really use your network. We you know, I’ve, I’ve talked a lot about the, the people that we’ve worked with over the years in terms of experts and writers and, and you know, freelancers. If, if you can tap into to their knowledge, and since you have a relationship already with ’em, it’s, it’s a great conversation. And it’s, that’s, that’s what’s key, the word conversation. So if we’ve, when we kind of developed our podcast, we had this idea of, you know, we’re walking across campus and we might see a colleague on the quad and, and sit down, have a, a have a, you know, brief conversation.


And, you know, it’s, it’s not often that you’re walking across campus and have a, a list of questions that you sit down and, and, you know drill a colleague. So Andy and I go back and forth a lot. We, we, we laugh, we yeah, we, we <laugh> definitely make mistakes. I mean, a common a running a joke is I, and actually Mike can probably say this too, we Andy will, will kind of flub our own names or our titles. Like we, we make mistakes, but you know what, <laugh> you just, you move on. We’re, we’re, we’re humans. We, you know, we we have fun. So those are some things that, that we’ve learned too. But then the other thing, and I’m sorry I keep talking here, but it’s, it’s exciting cuz we have learned a lot is to watch the, the the amount the, the content.


In one episode, when we originally started, we thought we, we kind of coined it like we’re gonna pair some, some episodes and we recorded a 30 minute episode with a guest, and then Andy and I would also record a whatever, 15, 20 minute conversation, and then our, our producer Mike would, would edit it and put it together. And it turned into too much. It was too much content, it was too long. And a as we all know, in today’s society, we don’t have a lot of time to digest or a lot of patience, I guess, to digest a really long, even though Andy and I are so, so just exciting and interesting to, to, to listen. <Laugh>, people don’t want to listen to us for 45 minutes. So as I keep going on and on, I will stop there so people don’t have to listen to me. And you guys can ask me anything else. <Laugh>, <laugh>.

Steven (15:32):

Well that’s, that’s great. I, I, I mean, one, one thing as, as you know, Kellyann, you know, one of my best friends is Andy. And so I’m just gonna say this, I jest, but you did reference that he’s uncomfortable. I think he makes all of us uncomfortable. I’m just kidding. <Laugh>. so one, one of, one of the the one of the reasons that I listened to to the Higher Ed Jobs podcast is to to hear him and you. And you’re right, it is, it’s interesting, I’m sitting here going like, yeah, you know, as I listened to season one, it did evolve over time. You do, the two of you became more natural, it was more conversational. Certainly the same has happened with Peter and me, and I think your advice to other podcasters is spot on. You have to know what you’re talking about. You can’t just hit record and wing it. But you have to have some, you know, we, we want to talk about A, B, and C, but the words, the conversations, whatever it, it needs to be really natural. The you know, in terms of the, the podcasting that higher ed jobs does, for those who haven’t listened to your podcast do you tell people, tell, tell, tell the listeners are are you targeting that to the employers? Are you targeting that to the job seekers? Is there a different audience?

Kelly (16:58):

Yeah, that’s a good question. As we’ve, you know, like I saying, we, we’ve tapped into our, our our network. Every topic is a little bit different and one topic might be a little bit more geared towards the employer perspective. Another topic might be really job seeker focused. Another topic could be just a, a thought piece. You know, so it, it really, we haven’t just said, this is just for, for job seekers. So we, speaking of you know, we talked about evolving. Another thing that we, we learned is to kind of be flexible in, in the type of content that we’ve created. And you probably listen to Andy’s idea of the, the, the, the playlist. So we kind of have a little bit of fun and we ask for engagement from our audience. So that’s, I guess another piece of advice actually, actually I would offer is for those people who are doing podcasts, ask for feedback from your listeners.


You know, we, we allow people to you know, re reach us through email or through Twitter. And another awesome kind of side episode that have has kind of developed is called our, our mailbag, which where listeners will, will email or, or, you know, contact us with, with actual, you know, questions that they have re regarding a job search or an issue on campus. So it, it can really, you know, back to your question, it, it can be from a job seeker. It can be someone who is, is, you know, having a an, an, an, an issue on, on campus was something you know, they’re dealing with. So we’ve had a, another friend come in Matt train, who will interview some, some leaders acro across campuses, and then he talks to, to a and d and you know, we, we, we just have a, a, a, a great conversation with that.


So we’re, we’re kind of lucky that we get to talk to so many different audiences in terms of job seekers and employers and faculty and, and leadership and entry level and, and things like that. That’s what’s so, so cool about, about higher ed. So I didn’t originally say that back in my, my, when you the first question about kind of the difference between higher ed and, and kind of the private sector, but it’s kind of the, the why why people wanna go that route, why higher ed? And it’s to be kind of a a, a bigger part of, of society you have that, I know this sounds corny, but as, as a faculty member, I can say that I do love the fact that I can make, you know, a, a difference to, to, to people on to students on campus. And I think that’s what, what higher ed is, is all about, you know, staff and, and faculty. No matter if, if you’re a groundskeeper or a president, you are touching people’s lives. So if your personal mission connects with, with the higher ed mission, that’s, that’s pretty, pretty cool. And I didn’t quite feel that when I was in the private sector. So, sorry, that kind of wove back to the, the original first question, but <laugh>,

Peter (19:56):


Steven (19:56):

I love, I I love the energy, I love the answer

Peter (19:59):

<Laugh>. That’s, that’s a perfect circle. And that brings us to 19 minutes and 15 seconds. So if we’re targeting 20 minutes, we should probably wrap up about now. The obvious question that we always ask at the end of the podcast is, for somebody who wants to get in touch with you, what is the best way for them to find you? And do you give out your email address or should they find you through higher ed jobs, or what’s the best way from there?

Kelly (20:29):

Yeah, there’s, there’s, there’s multiple ways people are they can connect with me on, on LinkedIn Kelly Sherwin or yeah, you can always reach us through higher ed jobs podcasts at higher ed jobs or yeah, our, our Twitter account. So if people, people are interested in that you know, they can connect through the, the podcast email. So

Peter (20:50):

That sounds perfect. Well, we appreciate you taking the time and we’ve had a good time, which is even better. It was very natural, and we didn’t have a script, and by golly, it still worked. So thank you very much for doing this. Thank you Steven. And we will catch you at the next conference somewhere, or when we’re in Chicago, or who knows?

Kelly (21:16):

Yeah. Oh, sounds good.

Steven (21:17):

Definitely not in Wisconsin though. Definitely not in Wisconsin.

Kelly (21:20):


Steven (21:21):

Thanks so much, Kelly.

Kelly (21:23):

Thank you guys. It was fun.

Peter (21:27):

Inside job boards and recruitment marketplaces is a co-production of Evergreen Podcasts College Recruiter and the AIM Group.

Steven (21:36):

Please subscribe for free on your favorite app, review it. Five stars are always nice, and recommend it to a couple of people you know who wanna learn more about job boards and recruitment marketplaces.

Peter (21:47):

Special thanks to our producer and engineer, Ian Douglas. I’m your host, Peter Zalman of the AIM Group, the leading global consultancy in the field of marketplaces and classified advertising. Find out more about our reports on recruitment marketplaces, job boards and classifieds, including our new recruitment marketplaces annual at aim

Steven (22:13):

I’m your host, Stephen Rothberg of job search site College recruiter. Each year we help more than 12 million candidates find great new jobs. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and other employers who hire at scale and advertise their jobs with us. You can reach me at

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