When it comes to online job boards, while ‘targeted and specialised’ is usually better than ‘big and general’ it’s still not enough to achieve recruitment potential. That’s the view of Paul Humberstone, general manager, recruitment services at The Intermedia Group’s new job site, jobla.

Like most new markets, says Humberstone, the online job board market started out in a very general way and has evolved into highly specialised niche products, better able to target particular industries or professional groups.

“When we saw the first online job boards launched many years ago, they were very broad products where you would have retail sales positions or telemarketing jobs being advertised alongside positions for chief scientists and web programmers,” he said.

“There are still plenty of those general online job boards around but the real growth has been in niche job boards where advertisers can target their message to the specific group of people they are interested in. And job seekers can hone in on their target employer group.”

But according to Humberstone, the biggest challenge is reaching ‘passive’ job seekers – those people not actively looking to change jobs but whose interest might be sparked by coming across a job advertisement in the course of their business day.

“Even with a niche online job board for a particular sector or professional group, it is incumbant upon a job seeker to actually go to that site and hopefully to register with it to receive job alerts.  So the traffic is very much ‘active’ job seekers,” he said.

“The model we have adopted with jobla goes one step further, because the online job site is not only targeted to a specific industry but is linked to thousands of mostly middle and senior level people who actively subscribe to an e-news service about their sector or field of interest and expertise.

“So, with RetailBiz, it is a high quality magazine and news website about aged care related issues, published by The Intermedia Group, with a huge e-news subscriber base of people right across the aged care, retirement and community care sectors.

“The aged care section of the jobla site is connected to the magazine’s website and also appears on RetailBiz’s three-times weekly e-newsletter. There’s a ‘featured jobs’ panel displaying a changing list of the most recently listed jobs and a ‘job search widget’ at the bottom of the page. So basically, even if you’re not looking for a job, it’s very easy to get a sense of what jobs might be available and then you’ve attracted the attention of a whole different category of potential job seekers.”

Strong demand

Humberstone said the new online job board had received an unprecedented level of interest from both advertisers and job seekers across all the different industry categories and sectors since its launch in September.

“Because we were a new site, we can boast some amazing stats on our growth. For instance, there has been an 11,400 per cent increase in the number of jobs posted between the 1st of October and the 30th of November!”

Part of the success, he agrees, has come from the special opening offer to give free job advertising for all jobs and all categories until the 31st of December.

“The free advertising has certainly been appealing to many advertisers wanting to try a new job service but the number of registered job users has jumped almost 300 per cent in that time too, so it’s not just about the advertisers.

“The other thing that really works for jobla is that, while it is industry and sector specific, obviously many types of jobs work across multiple sectors. The way jobla is designed, job seekers – passive or active – can be reached right across a range of other sectors in the same way as your own,” he said.

“The model is built on The Intermedia Group’s business media portfolio. Aged care is one of the sectors but Intermedia’s portfolio also reaches people working in many other industries, including local, state and federal government; energy and resources; film, TV and new media; consumer electronics; hospitality; retail; transport and logistics; and several others.

“The news websites and e-newsletters that The Intermedia Group publishes for each of these industries all carry jobla in the same way.  So, if you’re an IT person working in a big consumer goods manufacturing group, you might be reading your weekly e-newsletter and notice an interesting IT job going within your own industry. 

Then when you click on that job, you might notice that there are actually a number of jobs across the different jobla sectors that are being advertised for someone with your skills. And before you know it, you’re thinking you’d quite like a change and you quite like the sound of working in a dynamic community care organisation where you can make a difference!”

“That’s the strategy and it is working and is already getting results,” Humberstone said.

As a launch initiative, all jobla advertisements are being offered free until December 31st 2011.

This in an Intermedia Group announcement.