Your Guide to Planning a Job Board Tech Update
Established job boards have many advantages in the marketplace – a solid brand, a customer base, job seekers, and insight into their niche about the problems that need solving and what does – and doesn’t – sell. With all that going for them, it’s easy to understand why job board owners who have been around for a number of years might be apprehensive about updating their job board solution. If it ain’t broke, don’t fit it, right?
The trouble is that many older job boards have custom-built solutions that have begun to visibly age or are no longer meeting the expectations of job seekers and employers. And even though they might see their profits shrinking as they struggle to keep up with shifting expectations and changing technology, it can be difficult to make a big change when you’ve become accustomed to your current solution or business model. Reasons for updating your job board tech may vary, but regardless of what you do want to change, you really don’t want to risk losing what is working for you.
So how can job board owners reduce the risk involved in making a big change to their technology? I’ve outlined four steps below that can help you prepare and plan for updating or switching your job board solution.
Know Your Numbers
While your first instinct may be to investigate and compare the costs associated with switching or updating your tech, you’ll find that investigation will go more smoothly if you’re armed with your own numbers, as the cost can be closely tied to an individual job board’s needs. If you have high volume traffic, your hosting costs may be higher. If you publish a high number of jobs, that may necessitate better search results, a more robust database, and better processing power. If it’s important to differentiate yourself in the market based on the features or services you offer, it may be more expensive to build it yourself than going with a software vendor or technology partner.
Knowing what your averages and patterns are for traffic, the number of jobs you publish, how many candidates and employers you have registered (and/or plan to acquire), how many sales you make, and how much revenue you generate are all numbers you should have on hand to help you navigate your options and make decisions. It will also help any vendors, developers, or consultants you speak with in determining what options and solutions they can or can’t offer.
Plan Your Data Migration
For established job boards that already have a database full of job seekers and employers, it’s important to think about and strategize about what data you want to migrate to your new solution. The first step is to assess what data you have in the first place.
Some may simply have a mailing list or a registry of email addresses and names, while other job boards may have more extensive data sets for each job seeker or employer in their database. Account names, passwords, resumes, profile information, job posting history, application history, and any custom or individualized settings, statuses, or fields may all factor into the data you have and the data you wish to migrate to your new solution.
Once you know what you have, you’ll need to assess what you want to bring with you to a new solution and prepare the data. Do a clean up to make sure it’s all valid (do emails sent to accounts created a decade ago bounce back?), and make sure you are able to export and format it in a way that suits your needs.
Map out Functions & Features
Once you’re further along in researching your options for updating your job board tech, you’ll be in a position to start comparing features. This may include the features and functionality you already have, those you may want to discontinue or replace, and any new ones you need but don’t yet have. It’s helpful to separate “must-have” features from the “nice-to-haves”, since you may need to make tough decisions when it comes to choosing the way forward and what you can afford.
Mapping out your functions and features can not only help you as you research and shop for new solutions but also help you prepare for any changes to the workflows that you or your team may have in store once your job board has been updated. Having a clear idea of what is the same, what looks different, what works differently, and what’s brand new will also help you prepare and support your customers and job seekers through the changes you make.
Research & Analyze Total Costs & Benefits
Different solutions come with different price-tags and other associated costs. Some of our customers had investigated creating custom solutions before joining the Careerleaf family and were given quotes from consultants and web development companies that ranged from $20,000 to $200,000 depending on the complexity of the project. Even trimmed-down projects can result in ballooning costs if the contractor or development team isn’t fully informed on the complexities required by a job board platform.
The cheapest solution may not be able to handle the volume of traffic or jobs you plan to publish, which may cost you customers over time. The most feature-full solution may require an investment which you would then need to carefully plan for in terms of ramping up sales and your timeline for breaking even and generating a profit.
One solution might require you to perform some manual tasks, while another might automate it for a higher price. If you plan on integrating with a number of other tools and solutions, think about how this will be done (e.g. do both parties already have APIs? Has someone already built an integration? Will you need to customize it?) and how much it may cost you in time and/or labour to get everything working the way you want.
There are many elements to factor into the total costs associated with updating your job board, but you also need to examine which solutions will allow you the greatest benefits. If you have plans to grow engagement and profits, which solutions will help you meet your goals?
Planning for a change to your job board website may seem daunting, but with planning, research, and the right strategy, you can make the transition smoother and maintain what has already brought you success while setting yourself up for future growth and profit.
Image credit: Paul Gilmore – Pastourmatzis