Unlike many other websites such as blogs or informational resources, job boards are designed to make money for their owners.
With that in mind, it’s important to establish your job board business model from the beginning, in order to remain focused.
As a job board provider, there are two types of customers you serve: job seekers and employers.
Here at SmartJobBoard, we’ve helped more than 2,000 site owners launch, grow, and monetize their job boards. This has allowed us to discover what separates those that successfully drive profits on a consistent basis and those that struggle.
Today we’re going to share these secrets so you can see fantastic results from your job board.
Charging employers is the most common and straightforward method of monetizing a job board.
After all, these businesses wouldn’t be looking to invest in a new hire if there weren’t some critical objective that needs to be fulfilled. So they’re likely also willing to invest in having qualified applicants so that position can be filled as quickly as possible.
Job posting fees are undoubtedly the most common method of monetizing a job board. According to research by Jeff Dickey-Chasins at jobboarddoctor.com, 60% of job boards rely on job postings as their only source of revenue.
Employers typically pay to have a job listed for a certain period, often 30 days. The amount you can reasonably charge for a listing varies widely depending on the niche you’ve targeted.
To give you an idea of job posting pricing, we’ve developed a list that shows what job boards in various niches are charging.
You can also provide an additional upsell by having options for both standard job posts, as well as featured listings, distributing jobs to multiple aggregators such as Indeed or ZipRecruiter, or posting the position on social networks.
An example of pricing from Driverspost.com
Another option is to offer job slots as a recurring subscription. This model is already used by large sites such as ZipRecruiter and Monster and helps to provide greater stability and profitability as customers are charged automatically.
An example of recurring pricing from Monster
Finally, you can also offer packages that include a certain number of postings, or even unlimited postings for a certain period.
In most cases, job postings will be your main revenue stream, however, it is worth experimenting with additional offerings to grow your business.
Another common source of job board revenue is paid access to job seeker profiles.
Depending on the industry you operate in, you may be able to charge a monthly fee to employers in exchange for access to your database of resumes and candidate contact information.
This strategy should only be used by established job boards, as you’ll need to have several thousand resumes available before you’re offering sufficient value to charge for this. However, once you’ve collected enough users, resume access typically brings in several hundred dollars per month for each employer who is signed up.
It can also be a good idea to offer mixed packages with both job posting and resume access privileges:
An example of pricing from Сareercloud.com
Featured Employer Profiles
Another monetization option is offering featured employer profiles on your homepage, in email newsletters to job seekers, or on your blog.
You can also charge employers for other features that can help their company page stand out from the crowd, such as allowing them to add a video or a company logo.
Often the best way to package this is to combine your featured profile offering with the premium job posting offer:
An Example of this sort of package from CollegeRecruiter
In addition to job postings, there are a multitude of other monetization options available. Several of these take the form of advertisements you can host on your site.
If you’re just getting started with your job board and don’t have many listings, job backfill is a great option to gain some traction. This will allow you to populate your site with listings from Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Job2Careers and other large platforms.
You are essentially operating as an affiliate in this model and will earn a commission from the job aggregator every time a job seeker clicks through to the listing or applies for the job.
Some job board owners make thousands each month from backfill jobs alone.
Most job board platforms are already integrated with job aggregators, so all you need to do is to register as a publisher and enable the integration.
Bellow are links to pages where you can register as a publisher and start posting backfill listings today:
Google AdSense is one the easiest ways to start monetizing your website, if not the most profitable. You just need to create an account and place the code on your site to start hosting ads today.
Your earnings are heavily dependent on the volume of traffic to your site, and the number of people who click on the ads.
Also, while many sites utilize this revenue model, you should bear in mind that placing too many ads on your site will damage your brand and the aesthetics of your site.
Another common monetization method is placing banner ads on your site featuring products and services related to your niche, or employers that would like to have additional visibility on your site.
Again, you should be careful not to place too many ads on your site, as this can hurt the credibility of your brand and the appearance of your site.
The Next Frontier: Charging Job Seekers
With millions of people underemployed, high-end job boards connecting qualified applicants with employers have never been more important.
More and more, we’re going to see people who already have jobs actively searching for work that can keep them busy full-time or offer more opportunities for advancement.
While they may not be unemployed, these people are often working jobs that they are grossly overqualified for. Or can only get part-time work because their current employer doesn’t want to be legally obligated to offer benefits.
This offers a unique opportunity for job board owners to differentiate themselves from the competition by giving job seekers options that help them stand out from other applicants and secure the career opportunity of a lifetime.
While charging employers is the most common method of monetizing a job board, some job portals have been able to successfully build their businesses by charging job seekers as well.
However, only the highest quality job boards can make this strategy work. According to Jeff Dickey-Chasins at JobBoardDoctor, only about 1 in 10 job boards are focused on collecting payments from job seekers.
Don’t let that dissuade you from taking a very serious look at the niche you serve, and carefully evaluating whether offering more to the most competitive job seekers might boost your profits. After all, even if only a small percentage of applicants decide to invest in your paid offerings, you can still see a nice boost in your bottom line.
In highly competitive markets, it is sometimes possible to charge job seekers a monthly or weekly fee for viewing jobs.
This also has the added benefit of weeding out many applicants who aren’t serious about their job search. Which will give your job board a reputation for having high-quality applicants.
Before considering this option, bear in mind that it is legally prohibited in some countries, such as the United Kingdom. You’ll want to ensure it’s legal in your home country, or you could land in some hot water.
In order to make this model work, you need to have job listings that are exclusive to your site. One such example of this is TheLadders, which provides positions for top executives.
If the jobs are also available for free on sites like Indeed, job seekers will quickly find out, and your brand will be damaged.
In average such websites charge $10 – $50 per month for providing an access to their jobs.
See how Doostang.com charges job seekers for access to premium jobs.
A few tips to keep in mind when considering this pricing option:
- It’s worth giving an ability for employers to post jobs for free. This will allow you to offer a bigger selection of jobs to your audience.
- You’ll most likely want to approve each job manually, to make sure it’s qualified. This will ensure you offer high-quality jobs to candidates.
- You may display job postings for free but hide the contact details. You may then reveal the contact details once job seeker pays you.
Serious job seekers are always looking for ways to stand out from the crowd, and you can profit by helping them in this endeavor.
By offering a featured resume package, you can have their resume appear at the top of the stack, highlighted, where it’s sure to get the attention of employers.
Another option is to allow users to upload video resumes or cover letters with a premium account, which will also help them stand out amongst a sea of faceless applicants.
The price for featured resume on a specialty job board is typically in excess of $100, though some sites choose to make it more affordable in an attempt to entice more job seekers to have their resume featured:
Featured resume pricing from Careers in Trading
Another potential source of revenue is offering resume writing services to job seekers. If you have sufficient experience, you can offer this yourself. Otherwise, you can partner with a professional resume writer.
If you’re struggling to find a qualified writer to partner with, another option is to partner with TopResume, which is the largest resume service in the world. The TopResume team will review the job seekers’ resume free of charge and point out any mistakes. If they choose to purchase the re-writing services, you’ll earn a share of the revenue.
We’ve covered the most common monetization methods for job boards, but creative site owners are always coming up with new and creative ways to increase their revenues. Some examples include:
- Paid Courses focused on professional development can be a huge value-add and help to further legitimize your brand as the go-to resource for job seekers in your industry. Just ensure you partner with high-quality instructors that are industry experts. You can also provide digital certificates that job seekers can display on their profiles after successfully completing
- Coaching Services that help candidates with their resume writing, cover letters, and interview skills can be a high-dollar offering that genuinely helps people advance their careers. Sometimes all it takes is another set of eyes to uncover huge weaknesses that make an applicant appear underqualified, nervous, or generally unprepared to take on the challenges of the positions they’re seeking.
- Sponsored Email Blasts are especially effective when an employer needs to quickly hire several positions, such as when they’re opening a new location or undergoing a major expansion. This exclusive feature can be a very nice one-time boost in revenue, but don’t overdo it or the open rates on your emails will fall.
If you’re looking for even more methods, we highly recommend reading Chris Russell’s book Monetizing Your Job Board Beyond Postings where he shares more detailed information on different monetization strategies.
In most cases, your primary source of revenue as a job board owner will be job postings. However, there are many other sources of monetization you can implement both to grow your bottom line and diversify your revenue streams.
While charging job seekers is far less common than charging employers, it can certainly be a viable source of revenue, especially in highly competitive markets. We recommend carefully evaluating the niches you serve and thinking of some ways you might implement job seeker oriented offerings.
We encourage you to experiment with different offerings to see which resonates with the niches you’re targeting. You can always pull a feature back if it doesn’t produce satisfactory results, but you’ll never know till you test it.
If you’ve decided to implement a new offering after reading this, or know of one that we missed, let us know in the comments!