When Times Are Good, Find Your Niche

Niche job boards offer the best value in a surging economy

The recent employment market has been encouraging. Companies have more positions to fill. Great! However, firms remain highly selective about who they hire, leaving some organizations in a quandary: How to find quantity and quality candidates simultaneously?

Niche job boards should play a major role in recruiters’ strategy, say the founders of the largest alliance of targeted employment job boards in the United States. They can help organizations pinpoint scores of top job seekers faster, according to Nicheboards.com. That’s because niche job boards exclusively cover one industry, type of job or geographic region. Such tight focus is attractive to serious, highly skilled candidates. These potential employees don’t want to wander through large generalist job boards serving many professions. They want to find great job openings and industry information quickly. In some cases, they aren’t actively looking for work but may skim interesting job listings. Companies covet these so-called passive job seekers because they’re typically doing well in their current job, but could be persuaded to switch companies when the right opportunity arises.

“Niche boards have repeatedly shown how they provide the best value for the money during more robust recruiting periods,” says Don Firth, the founder of Nicheboards.com and President of two charter members, JobsInLogistics.com and AllRetailJobs.com. JobsInLogistics was the first and is still the only significant job board to serve the supply chain, transportation and distribution professions and AllRetailJobs is the largest specialty job board for the retail, merchandising and supermarket industries.

Now in its fifth year, Nicheboards.com comprises 11 leading job boards, each serving one industry. Each board grew steadily even during the technology crash of early 2000, but business has spiked more markedly as the economy improved over the past two years. Unemployment is now hovering around 5 percent, an improvement over the figure two years ago.

Reflecting a rosier picture, revenues at JobsInLogistics.com and AllRetailJobs.com have both soared more than 100 percent over the first five months of 2005. Don says that both boards are receiving about a third more job advertisements so far than in 2004.

ComputerWork.com, which lists 6,000 technology jobs in various industries, has increased revenues by 75 percent. “Technology candidates shy away from generalist boards because they try to be all things to all people,” says Jim Ingham, the founder of ComputerWork.com. “Professionals are moving to niche boards because they’re able to find what they want without looking at everything else. We try to keep things simple.”

Jim added that a number of companies seeking specific expertise have turned to Computerwork.com because of its select audience. “The market has tightened for good technology people,” Jim said. “It’s harder to find certain skills sets but they know that people who visit our job board regularly are more likely to possess these skills than job seekers who are just trolling for any opportunity on a less targeted site.”