Start an Online Job Board Business

A job board or employment website connects job seekers with employers. If executed correctly this can be a lucrative endeavor.

Getting Started
Before you set up your job board website you need to ask yourself whether you want to a free (advertising supported) or a paid job site as well as how technically savvy you are. This will determine the software to use. A free job site does not charge for job listings while a paid job site charges employers or recruitment agencies to post jobs.

Things that will help you make this decision:
If free – is there a way to moderate jobs before they go live.
If paid – how are you going to get paid?

In South Africa job boards have been very popular, this is due to the high unemployment rate which equals high search volume from people looking for jobs. Small business have often opted for free (ad supported) job boards as the majority of paid job sites are either part of large media companies with existing print titles or have staff that includes a recruiting component (a typical online job board provides the platform only to link the two parties). This makes it difficult for small business to compete in the paid job site market.

What you’ll need to start your own job board:
A hosting account
A domain name
Job board software

The job board software will usually be the most expensive of the bunch, unless you are intending to use a .jobs domain name. The .jobs suffix cost around R2000 a year – more than some entry level software. While is around R75 or .com around R150 a year. Decent hosting start a R35 a month in South Africa.

You would need to setup the software on the hosting account and start operating your jobsite. You also get some hosted and managed solutions which take the pain away of doing it yourself.

 Free or Paid Job Board?

If you intend to start your own job board you would need to decide whether you are going to allow jobs to be posted for free or if you are going to charge.

If you are intending to operate a free job board here are three things to consider:

How are you going to monetise it?
Free job boards are usually advertising supported so you would either need to self adverts directly or use a service such as Google’s Adsense.

How are you going to promote it?
In order to make money from advertising you need to get lots of visitors to your websites to click on your adverts so you can make money. But getting those visitors to your website has to cost less than the advertising the site is generating or you don’t have a viable business.

How are you going to moderate it?
Free job sites are a haven for scammers. Are you going to moderate the board on a job by job basis before it goes live (time consuming for high volumes) or allow all jobs to go through and just have a look every hour or so (problematic if people has already responded to a scam as that has gone through).

If you intend to operate a paid job site here is what you need to consider:

How are you going to compete with existing competition
If you starting out now you are very late to the game. Most (if not all) countries already have a market leader either owned by a large media house or tech company. How are you going to compete with them? Go niche? Charge less?

How are you going to charge
Once you get clients how are you going to charge? Per job, have multiple job “packages”? Or the novel unlimited jobs for one annual subscription?

You are not too late to both the free and paid job board game. You just need to differentiate yourself from the existing players to stand a chance of succeeding.