People Boards – The Real Alternative to Job Boards


Sometimes when “something” becomes popular and successful for a long time it becomes a defacto standard, something that is just accepted, no questions asked.  Over time, other people and organisations try to catch hold of the coat tails of this success by copying (sometimes with slight variations, often with none) the original idea.

Often, everyone is too busy admiring this “something” to notice that times have changed and the world has moved on.  Such is the case of the ubiquitous job board.

There have been many massive market shifts by inventors and free-thinking people in history.  Think of the first automatically sliced loaf, a buzzer when you leave your car lights on, Dyson and the vacuum cleaner industry.  All were big revelations…the kind that make you think….well that’s obvious!

Well, it’s the same in the recruitment industry.  The job board market is lazily jogging along (fat from its profits) unaware that its nemesis the “people board” is about to sprint past it and leave it for dead (quite literally).

You see, times have changed.  The Internet is now much more people focused.  People/users demand more from Internet services and they want these services to be free.  Any Internet service that is going to succeed in a massive way must focus on the benefits for its users.

Job boards simply do not focus on their users.  What they do is in fact the reverse.  Many job boards focus on two areas; job advertising and a CV (resume) database.

For job advertising, they charge a lot of money for employers (or agencies) that wish to advertise their job vacancies.  The other side of the job board website, the CV database, is a little odd.  Essentially users can send their CV (free of charge) to the job board.  At first this sounds like a reasonable deal until you realise that the CV database is locked down.  Only employers who register with the job board and pay (far too much money) will be able to search for your CV.

There are three fundamentally bad things here:

  1. The job boards are selling YOUR data and you gave them it for free!
  2. The job board has effectively restricted access to companies who can afford to pay for the service. 
  3. Your data is only visible for those periods of time when companies pay for it and actively search for some skills.

 People boards are the reverse of this and bring benefits for those actively looking for work, those not actively looking for work, employers and even agencies.

So what is a people board?

Here’s my definition:

A people board:

  1. enables people to promote their skills
  2. enables people to publish their availability and references
  3. enables people to control how their data is presented and how they can be contacted
  4. allows employers to search for people
  5. 1-4 MUST be free of charge

We don’t need to overcomplicate the recruitment business.  There should only be two sides to it; employers seeking candidates and candidates looking for roles in business. 

The objective of a people board is to make it much easier to put both sides of the recruitment equation in touch with each other, no matter what the business, no matter what skills the person has.

The people board is a simple concept, but then the best ideas usually are.