Ethan Bloomfield: 5 Ideas for Job Board Success in 2015 and Beyond

Ethan Bloomfield

I’m delighted to be talking to a stalwart of the North American Job Board Industry, Ethan Bloomfield, as part of our Job Board Summit Speakers Series.

Having just come back from the IAEWS event in San Diego, Ethan was full of great ideas so we wanted to share his fantastic insights with our network.

Ethan please share 5 ideas that any job board should consider to be successful in 2015 and beyond.

Here are a few of the things I am spending time talking about with job sites these days.
1. HR doesn’t buy CPC.

On the heels of juggernaut Indeed and others like SimplyHired or the ‘original’, TopUsaJobs, many of us are looking at how CPC plays a role in our businesses. I say no to CPC for HR/Direct Buyers. It is too complex to be effective for most buyers. Why?

Budgets are too small to be effective.
Example: $1000/month budget on 200 jobs and $.50/click
$12K/year client sounds good? Nope.
That is 5 clicks per job.
I use 10% click to conversion as a standard
That is ½ of 1 candidate/job. You think they will make a hire? Nope.

Job level budgets aren’t being set.
Example: Same as above – $1000/month and 200 jobs and $.50/click
Remember that old 80/20 thing?
20% of the jobs – 40 – get 80% of the traffic (high supply jobs)
Do the math:
160 Lower supply jobs get $200 of the budget at $.50/click.
2.5 clicks per job.
Even worse – remember the 40 that got most of the traffic?
Yes they each got 40 clicks, and maybe 4-5 applications. BUT those were the high supply jobs, meaning they are getting tons of traffic on those jobs already. SO the likelihood your candidate gets hired is greatly reduced.

What now? This is not to say that CPC doesn’t play a role in your business. It is highly effective if you are selling traffic in anyway – backfill or directly – on the wholesale marketplace. However, for your HR/Direct buyers let’s think about other models:

1. Keep selling postings
2. Subscription plans (increasingly popular)
3. CPA is more digestible and easier to manage than CPC

2. Own the buyer (Employers), job seekers are a commoditization:

Indeed and others taught us with backfill that we had excess capacity (candidates) to sell. As they have become increasingly focused on their direct efforts, a market place has developed in their wake. There are lots of publishers and lots of buyers. Combine this with new technologies and services (ClickCast, Jobg8, Recruitics) that help manage the exchange of candidates and you have a fully realized marketplace. Once job seekers are commoditized your relationships with employers will become your most value asset.

3. Start Ups and Building Sales Teams: The Bloomfield Way

I follow a simple cadence in building a jobs/candidate related business:

Step 1: Unique audience value proposition; how are you different – your answer can not be ‘we have traffic’.

Step 2: Open access to the wholesale marketplace. Two reasons – you want jobs for your seekers – there is nothing worse than a ‘No Results’ search for a job seeker. The marketplace pays – which allows you to fund growth.

Step 3: Sales – if you can’t survive on e-commerce alone you will need sales.

Phase 1 – Hire one rep. Develop process metrics for scalability. Here are the key metrics:

Prospects: Leads
Leads: 2 Way conversations
2 Way: Quality Meeting
Quality Meeting: Trial
Trial: Sale

Your cost of sales & marketing should be about 30%. So a rep generating $200,000 can’t be making more than $60K. That usually means you need higher revenue/rep.

Your marketing costs can really throw this off. I try to focus on cost per quality meeting. Here is how I look at it.

How many leads turn into conversations?
How many conversations turn into quality meetings?
How many quality meetings turn into sales?

Once I know these answers, I know what I can spend on leads and fall into my 30% costs.

Phase II: Once your first rep gets to that 30% number (really just need to know that a $60K rep needs to book over $16K in new business in a month) hire 2 more.

This is the systems and process improvement phase:

1.CRM – I am an SFDC only person.
2. Lead funnel management
3. New Rep training program.
4. Coaching

Once your 3 reps are looking like they are trending towards the $16K in this example go to phase III.

Phase III: Hire up to 10 total.

Time to see how this scales. Use your process to hire up. You will now see what breaks; I promise it will.

This team should run for 3-6 months before you hire any additional reps in most cases (unless you are highly funded and have made revenue promises). I have made the mistake of scaling too fast several times before – it’s a slippery slope that can cost you your entire company culture.

During this time:
2. Optimize
3. Re-measure
4. Re-optimize

Phase IV: Scale and operationalize.

Once you have 6+ reps regularly meeting quota, and scalable leads model, you can pull the trigger and begin rapid growth.

1.Operationalize – SFDC/Sales Ops Leader
2. Operationalize – Trainer/Onboarding
3. Operationalize – Recruitment Process (you should have good ideas here!)
4. Scale this thing!

Ok, friends – call me out. This is way over simplified – the process is easier said than done. I agree 100%.

4. Know why you are taking outside money, before you go hunting.

How are you going to use the money?
How are you selecting your investor?
What are you giving up? Why?

It’s pretty simple. If you can’t live with your own answers, wait.

5. Monetization. Super tactical and obviously incomplete. Here are programs I have used/liked:

JobG8 – an applicant exchange – you can play publisher and advertiser.

Backfill – ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Jobs2Careers, Cognius, SimpyHired.
Resume Critique – Talent Inc.
Ad-sense Optimization – click-performance.
Resume Distribution – eDirectPublishg.
Hosted Email Alerts – ZipRecruiter, Cognius, JuJu.
Un-Responsive/Older Candidates – Restoration Media.

Here is how I evaluate Monetization:

1. Does it fit in with my business and user experiences?
2. Do I want to work with the partner?
3. I am willing to test till works?
4. Does the time I spend this take away from a project that generates greater revenue?

Ethan will be appearing on the Thought Leaders Panel at The Job Board Summit 2015 – North America, Atlanta, June 22nd-23rd.


LOGO_J2C_orange     TopResume (TalentInc)

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