Every month we try to interview a leader from our industry who we feel has something relevant and interesting to share. Ian Partington has been running a job board business for over 13 years. He has built a job board business, sold in and is now running the SimplyJobs Group, which has over 10 niches sites and operations in the UK, US and Spain.
Ian has been a regular attendee at our Job Board Summits in both Europe and North America. This year, he joined us on our Thought Leaders Panel at our North American Summit.
We got a chance to talk with him and he shared some great insights.
Jobg8 – Ian how is 2015 looking for the SimplyJobs Group?
Ian – It is shaping up very nicely indeed, we are 40% up Y-O-Y this year which we expect to maintain moving forward with the sites we have. To help cement our growth we have some new UK launches in the pipeline and have a European and US growth strategy that we are implementing now that will start to pay dividends in 2015.
Jobg8 – Running businesses in both the UK (Europe) and the U.S, what differences can you share between the two markets – i.e. how we/they sell and market, candidate expectations etc?
Ian – The biggest difference we have found is that in the US there is a massive scepticism to a free offering (which we do when we launch a brand in Europe) and this has meant we have had to sell the sites and manage response from the outset – a nice challenge I have to say. In terms of the candidates expectations I don’t think these are massively different but we have found that as a niche operator and offering free job searching and applications have been met with pleasant feedback as they have to pay on a lot of our competitor sites.
Jobg8 – You’ve run job boards for 15 years.. What differences have you seen in candidate and recruiter behaviour?
Ian – Overall both recruiters and candidates expect a lot more these days from job boards. From a recruiter perspective, they want us to offer far more than job listings and response – they want help with that response, reports on how their jobs have performed and help in picking the right vacancies for them to advertise on our sites, in an automated way. We have worked hard to try to give them what they want but we need to develop faster. In terms of job-seekers it is speed and mobile – they want to apply for roles at times that suit them, not when they are behind their PC/laptop. We are meeting this challenge with some great new mobile tools that will be coming to market in the next month or so, this is the development I am most excited about and will make a massive difference to our client’s response and the job-seekers experience.
Jobg8 – What ‘Big changes’ do you see ahead and how are responding to those?
Ian – Mobile is here now, not on its way and we are responding – it amazes/pleases me how little our competitors have done on this. I think the pay for performance advertising model will gain traction, particularly with the emergence of Indeed in the UK and their inevitable move to being a fully fledged job board – and we are developing this capability. With the changes to SEO I think content and community are becoming far more important and niche operators like ourselves have to build communities that want more than job listings – we are doing this well in some areas but need to improve in others.
Jobg8 – What 5 KPI’s do you and your team focus on?
Ian – Response, UX, Traffic, Revenue and Profit.
Next month we will be interviewing our very own CEO, Louise Grant,