Whats New in the World of Job Boards

By: Libby Boniface

I don't generally review job web sites, to me their scope is fairly limited- post your resume if you are a job seeker, or post job openings if you are a recruiter or HR professional, and that's just about it.

I was urged, however, to take a look at a new job site by an associate, not so much because the content is different, but because of the novel approach. This new site () departs significantly from the traditional in that it charges no fees to the users. Job seekers can post resumes for free (like the others), but no attempt is made to charge additional fees for resume placement "upgrades" (the norm with other job sites). Indeed, such fee based services are not even offered.

Most unusual is the fact that resumes are offered to recruiters without charge and without restriction. After browsing the site, I noticed that most of the persons posting their resumes on this site have included contact information- mailing addresses, email addresses, etc.

I was intrigued by this approach- if the recruiter can contact the job applicants directly, no involvement with JIE, how can the site owners make money? Don't most job sites sell resumes to recruiters?

I decided to take a closer look.

I spoke first to Mr. Robert Forrest, the Marketing Director of Job Information Exchange. Mr. Forrest, incidentally, has been instrumental in the turn-around of several failing commercial web sites, and as I soon saw, his talent for squeezing profits from formerly disorganized ventures is becoming key to the success of Job Information Exchange.

According to Mr. Forrest "The site is rapidly gaining in popularity. Up from a modest beginning, it's now rolling along briskly. We are seeing our site traffic doubling almost on a weekly basis. For now, the site is loosing money, but eventually this kind of growth will lead to profitability." I asked "Does that mean that once your site has reached your goal in terms of popularity you will start to charge fees like the rest?".

Says Mr. Forrest "Absolutely not! that goes against the charter established by the founders of Job Information Exchange. Our goal is to remain free to all users, and collect revenue solely from advertising. I believe we can become profitable this way."

The genesis of Job Information Exchange was the frustration experienced by a group of laid-off Silicon Valley engineers. Marilyn Markley, CEO, explains it this way: "After years of fruitless searching for new employment - posting resumes on the big job boards, searching the classified ads, haunting job fairs, asking friends - Mr. Kolar (one of the founders) had the bright idea of a job board free to all - both job seekers and recruiters. And so JIE was born."

Ms. Markley explains, "The original idea was to assist Silicon Valley hi techies find new positions in a tough job market. However, the site rapidly evolved to include other types of jobs as well. Requests came in from many: unemployed teachers, administrators, sales personnel, scientists, machinists, bartenders, waitresses, you name it. So the site was expanded to include all categories. Requests also began to come in from other countries as well (you will notice many applicants from India, for example), so the site has become international. It has been fascinating to watch it expand so dramatically."

It will be interesting to see how it fares against its big competitors. Only time will tell, but in my opinion, Job Information Exchange will give the big guys a real run for their money.

In the months to come, look for a shake up in the Job Site business.

A review of Job Information Exchange

Next weeks column: Can You Blog yourself to a Fortune?

Careers and Job Hunting
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