By positioning themselves as gatekeepers to job boards, job posting software (JPS) providers are cementing their position as critical players in the acquisition of talent. JPS lessens the administrative drudgery of posting jobs, saves time, increases the ability to distribute jobs to a wide network and provides metrics to measure and manage job posting activities.
I caught up with Brett Iredale, MD of Job Adder, to discuss a range of issues including the value proposition of JPS, measuring the worth of job boards, social media and the company’s progress.
DT. JobAdder is a uniquely Australian take on the job posting space, can you tell us a bit about your history and how JobAdder came about?
BI: My background is in IT consulting and sales. In 2001 I started an IT recruitment agency and soon after started developing job boards as a way to attract hard to find candidates. The job board business soon took on a life of its own so we stopped recruiting in order to focus exclusively on job boards. JobAdder came about as a result of frustrations and road blocks experienced as job board owners. In particular we faced 2 major hurdles.
(1) Recruiters would buy a membership and then not list their job ads because of the extra effort required. This was very frustrating. So we realized early on that we needed to get integrated with the leading recruitment and job posting systems in order to get content.
(2) This proved to be very difficult because the system providers at the time could not be bothered integrating new job boards. The final straw was when the then MD of Adlogic told me to come back when I had “a worthwhile client base” and then they might consider integrating us. That was an important day in our history. The next day we had a spec drawn up and started cutting code for JobAdder a few days later.
DT. What is the ROI on using job posting solutions? Some providers offer their solutions for free. Why must companies or recruiters use JobAdder?
BI: The benefits and returns of using a job posting solution are numerous. The most obvious one is time and money saved through dramatically reducing the time it takes to post job ads. A typical annual saving for a medium recruitment agency is $50,000 – $100,000+ in labour alone.
Other major benefits are opportunity costs. If a consultant has an extra few hours a week as a result of faster job posting then that is time that can be spent making placements. As all recruitment managers know, time spent writing job ads is time that can’t be spent conducting interviews and making placements. JobAdder also has a host of management tools that allow businesses to more effectively manage things like ad spend, job board effectiveness, ad writing effectiveness, best times and days for job posting for their industries and so on.
DT. There are close to 150 job boards in Australia, is this far too many, or do you think variety is something to be welcomed. Where do you see the industry heading?
BI: I think there is room for plenty more yet. We know from speaking with recruiters and job seekers that there is still a need for highly specialised niche online communities. For example the medical recruitment sector still find it incredibly hard to find good people online.
DT. JobAdder is a web-based solution for both employers and professional recruiters. Does the way the two groups use job boards, and therefore JobAdder, differs widely?
BI: They do differ in terms of the pains they are solving but the way they use JobAdder is quite consistent. For example a corporate advertiser may be attracted to JobAdder because they can access more job boards and have a centralised online resume database. Recruiters with high volumes are generally looking to save time and money and to access better management reporting.
Q. What’s your stand on the generalist vs niche boards debate? Is there a best-practice method to choose which job boards to advertise in? Does JobAdder help clients in making decisions?
BI: Choosing job boards is very business-specific. There are no hard and fast rules about it. Our advice is generally to try the ones you think might work and to closely measure results. Nothing speaks louder than tangible evidence.
Yes JobAdder does assist advertisers choose job boards but our advice is generally the same as above. E.g. “here are the ones we recommend trying”. JobAdder then measures results applicant by applicant and allows them to slice and dice the information various ways so that they can effectively compare apples to apples.
Q. JobAdder handles around 180,000 jobs a month. What does the numbers reveal. Can you share some insights on the behavior of job seekers or advertisers? What are the biggest mistakes your clients make when dealing with job boards?
BI: The biggest area for improvement with most advertisers is that most still can’t tell you scientifically how their job boards are performing. They are still making decisions on consultant straw polls and gut feel.
Online advertising is often a recruiter’s largest non salary expense so clearly they should be able to accurately understand the effectiveness of this spend. JobAdder solves this problem and many of our clients report that this alone is more than sufficient ROI to justify implementing JobAdder.
We also spend a lot of time help advertisers understand how to write better job ads so that they get the full 30 days of value from their job ad rather than having to re post it every week or 2.
DT. We have come a long way from say ten years ago, today a job board can be built or bought off the shelf, and in a matter of minutes jobs can be distributed to hundreds of job boards. What do you see recruitment technology heading, is JobAdder investing in anything new?
BI: Yes we definitely invest heavily in new technology – our own. The biggest problem with many recruitment systems is that they don’t keep up with technology – they just keep patching up old software. Eventually you end up with patches on patches on patches. We like to pull everything apart and put it all back together again every 12 months so that we can continually improve the architecture of the system and take full advantage of new technology where appropriate.
You are right about job board technology getting less expensive, but as I have always maintained, you get what you pay for. If you pay a few thousand dollars for a piece of job board technology then expect it to be junk.
DT. Lately, social media and networking tools like LinkedIn are the talk of town. You are a keen blogger too, what are your thoughts on social media in general, and has it in anyway affected JobAdder operations or long-term strategy?
BI: Social media is exciting and it will be an important part of everyday life over the next few years. It can also be a big time waster so we are careful to closely evaluate such emerging technologies, understand their potential impact and usages in online recruitment, and quickly move on from anything that does not add clear and present value. To date that is most of them.
Our long term strategy is to continue to build recruitment solutions that add value, that do what they say on the box and that people love to use. Social media will play a part in this but at the end of the day it will just be a part of the overall solution.
DT. Looking ahead, what are the main challenges or priorities for JobAdder? Is tackling overseas markets in the plan?
BI: Overseas markets are a possibility but for now we have plenty to do in our own market. I have worked with too many software companies that have attempted to go overseas before owning their own market. We won’t be going overseas until we have achieved a lot more of our domestic goals.
The economic conditions are exciting for us as recruiters and corporate advertisers look for ways to save money and increase efficiency. January 09 was our biggest month since launching so we are confident we are on the right track.
Our other main challenges remain the same as they have for the last 2 years. Growing a business out of cash flow is something that needs careful management. We are very proud of this achievement and will continue to grow within our means for the foreseeable future.