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How to Build an Online Job Board



By Linda Zebian
04/03/2007

As the publisher of a number of media-based magazines including Ad Week, Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, Nielsen Business Media has been doing online and print classified advertising for years when the brands began to overlap in the marketplace. In order to reach job seekers and employees across all seven of its brands, Nielsen created a one-stop shop online job board for the entertainment, advertising and media industries.

Recognizing the Opportunity
If you're covering a niche market, there's probably room for you in the online job board mix. "There's about 40,000 different job boards and career portals now operating on the Internet," says Jeff Green, advertising director of Nielsen's digital strategy group. "It's impossible to deny what's happening in the online recruitment industry and the billions of dollars being spent on the Web."

Magazines like Billboard and Ad Week, which have printed classifieds for years, are now shifting gears and offering both print and online classified advertising with the option for clients to choose either or both forms. "Advertising job openings in print is essential if employers want to reach the passive job seeker," says Green. "But active job seekers are not waiting for their weekly issue to arrive."

The first step is understanding and measuring how much traffic your Web site garners to see if you have the relevant visitors coming to you on a regular basis, says Green. Nielsen charges a basic fee of $199 for a 60-day posting that is active across all seven sites. "Look inward to see how pricing compares for your print advertisers or advertisers running in print and online," he says.

Teaming up for Technology
Nielsen uses interactive classified advertising software produced by Adicio, a Web-based platform that can incorporate everything from standard forms to custom boards and forms complete with multiple options and tools. However, a tech partner like Adicio will not do all of the heavy lifting for you. Nielsen's digital strategy group develops Web sites, so it was a matter of assigning a project manager from the group to manage the job board project. "It definitely requires commitment from a tech side, a project management side and a business side," says Green.

Because Nielsen already had a classified business in print and online across the Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, Editor & Publisher, Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and The Book Standard brands, sales efforts did not see a significant change when the brands were merged under one job portal. "We had strong teams in place already so it was just a matter of leveraging them," says Green.

On Nielsen's portal, employers pay the $199 flat rate, and can then opt in and pay an additional fee to enhance their listing. "Featured" jobs appear on the site's home page and on story pages for an additional fee, while "spotlighted" jobs are the first to be listed following a search. The "national network" function posts the job on a national network board of the 130 local and national newspaper classified sections that participate in Adicio's program.

The Adicio system does not require regular maintenance, says Green. The e-commerce software allows anyone to visit the site and post a job using a credit card 24 hours a day. For Nielsen, there are two ways to post an ad: Employers can do it themselves by setting up an account online, or if an employer is running a print classified, the ad is sent directly to Adicio to get posted automatically as part of the regular print cycle. "We can walk them through or direct them and we can check in the system to see if a customer had any problems doing it alone," says Green.

The portal, which launched in January, has generated more than three million unique visitors each month. "We're still at that startup phase," says Green. "It will be extremely profitable in a short period of time. We went into the business to not only provide the best niche job sites for these industries but also to make money."

Features and Functionality: The Online Job Board Check List
When creating your online job board, realize you are serving two audiences: The employer and the job seeker. You'll need to provide tools useful to both parties, says Nielsen Business Media's Jeff Green.

  • Create a strong search function. Seekers should be able to search by keyword (matching any and/or all words), location, category and type of position, whether full-time, part-time, contract or temporary. Employers should have access to similar search functions.
  • Give job seekers the option of warehousing their resume on the site with the ability to determine what type of employers have access to view their resume. Or, allow for a resume upload on a per-application basis.
  • Seekers love e-mail alert updates on new job posts that fit their job criteria. The big job boards incorporate this function and so should yours.
  • Set up response reporting tools for your classified advertisers so they can determine the effectiveness of their posts.
  • Make listing a company name optional. Certain customers may want confidential ads so direct competitors don't know they are hiring for a certain position.
  • Price classified ads based on rates from the large online job boards and competitor boards.
  • Set a base price for a standard ad and then offer spotlights and feature placements for an additional fee.
  • Provide customer service to your clients. Post a phone number and generic e-mail address on the job board site, especially if you don't have a particular sales person linked to the account.

 

By Linda Zebian
04/03/2007







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