Having worked on a few hundred job board products and been the only vendor to have received and rejected a multi-million deal to sell our job board CMS to two of the largest job board groups in the world I have an insight that I don’t think can be matched.
1:01 Don’t launch a job board unless you have a services you can piggyback off, have CV’s/active candidates to offer day one and/or very deep pockets to market it.
Jobserve £250 million is not quite a Billion.
Robbie Cowling was the inventor of the job board despite what some Americans may claim and the reason it was an instant success is that he had already assembled a database of active candidates whom his previous service helped to find work with recruiters. Which meant he also had an active client base who was only too ready to receive the service on both sides. The job board was Jobserve it was for the IT marketplace and in the early days heavily dominated by the IT contract market. I worked as an IT recruiter during this time and it revolutionised candidate attraction.
Why is Robbie not a Billionaire? Well look at his other sector job boards and they did not launch with the same advantages and well have never really troubled the market or made an major impact. Robbie has also made a great deal of money through property investments outside of the Jobserve environment sources close to him suggest and maybe he did not have his eye on the ball all the time. Enter Monster and their global product offering and with a marketing campaign that included TV.
Jobserve was also slow to adopt search engine optimisation for its sites and was one of the last to get the spider to index jobs, so missed out on the rush that was the “long tailed job seeker search”. Monster, Total Jobs and Jobsite all got there first, then came job aggregators. This was a major miss because optimising for the “long tailed job seeker search” is how you get mass and accurate traffic for the jobs on your website.
So is this sour grapes?
Nope Robbie Cowling is an absolute industry hero of mine, even when he had millions he was still out controlling the quality of the service he delivered and well if the ‘Times Rich List’ is correct he has many hundreds of millions more than I do. So he is a super nice guy and has the money to prove he has a business brain beyond many. However what I think he teaches us the most is that if you are so close to a business it is easy to get blinded by it. So you get it in this case to be worth many millions but not the Billion or more it could have been worth and recognised for your contribution globally to online recruitment.
Job boards are not easy, it is not just a case of putting one online and you will be the next Robbie Cowling or Potts brother (Jobsite founders) so before you even pick up the phone to a vendor make sure you have a ready made client base waiting for your service, live candidates ready to supply for jobs or very deep pockets to market the site.
Please note I am Dyslexic and in my form I am blind to grammar, and sometimes I get my fors and fours etc backwards. I am not stupid in fact my IQ and EQ (see I meant EI) are both quite high. Please keep that in mind when you read my posts. Thanks.