Job Boards and Career Communities: A Path to Higher Engagement and New Memberships
One of the best ways to deliver value and build loyalty quickly is for your association to help members with their career growth.
In a recent episode of Higher Logic’s Member Engagement Show podcast, guests Alexey Gutin and Josh Slyman of Web Scribble discussed the many benefits of including career centers or job boards to your organization’s content and communications mix. These benefits extend to members, associations, and employers.
What the Job Market Looks Like Today
2022 was a hot year for recruiting – it was definitely a job seekers’ market. The great resignation was cooling off slightly from 2021, but resignations remained higher than historical averages. Despite highly publicized layoffs, especially in the tech sector, this continues to be the case so far this year.
As we power through 2023, there’s still a war for talent, especially highly specialized talent in which labor supply doesn’t meet employer demand Some of the most intense competition is in verticals like healthcare, finance, diversity/equity/inclusion, STEM, and higher education. Web Scribble expects that environment to continue.
Depending on what the Fed does with interest rates, there are some verticals in which Web Scribble expects to see some pullback in the number of job openings. That may or may not result in a material increase in unemployment in general, but the expectation is some job openings will start to cool off.
But from a job seeker standpoint, there are still plenty of jobs out there, with employers being hyper-competitive to acquire talent. For Web Scribble’s association partners, where that talent is usually highly scaled, educated, and specialized, the war for talent is greater than roles with high turnover and lots of openings.
The Value of Job Boards and Career Communities for Associations
The Association’s Advantage as a Career Helper
Regardless of what kind of labor market is currently in effect, association career centers are always relevant and vital. They help solidify your association as a trusted resource in your industry, for members and nonmembers alike. Associations can do this from a position of objectivity: their priority is the growth and well-being of members’ self-interests, not in trying to get them to stay at their current jobs.
Associations can serve as a great partner to help guide members along their career path. Being able to observe trends and demands in your industry via a job board sets your association up to (A) develop highly relevant professional development opportunities, and (B) orient members to possible paths and suggest growth opportunities – be those jobs, certification, networking, or educational tools.
Career Support at Any Stage of Your Members’ Employment
When the market is competitive, as it is today, industry professionals and association members can advance their careers faster by using your association’s job board to stay aware of job posts, keep an eye on what’s in demand, and potentially follow up on new opportunities. Even if every member isn’t actively looking for a new job, most will be openminded to hearing about advancement opportunities.
Alternately, when someone is laid off and needs help finding their next placement, your association’s job board is a great place for them to search highly relevant and specialized postings. And maybe while they’re there, they’ll check out professional development opportunities to boost their resume.
Additionally, career communities offer a place for job seekers to get encouragement from other members/professionals during their planned or unplanned job hunt. Members might even get recommendations for job openings that have not yet been posted.
So job boards and career support give your association multiple touchpoints – for both members and nonmembers – and multiple avenues to generate goodwill for your association.
Every time a member finds a job through the association job board, that gives us a success story, something we can amplify to remind people what we do. Alexey has said many times, “If you find a member a job, you found a member for life.”
-Josh Slyman, Web Scribble
A Constant and Targeted Space for Career Exploration
Alexey says career journeys are cyclical. Once a member lands one role, the process repeats over and over again for future job changes. If someone is able to turn to your association for a constant source of what’s happening in the field, in the job market, what skills are most in demand, and what salary ranges can be expected, that makes your association invaluable.
If members (and potential members) aren’t finding this information from your association, then they’re looking for it on Google or any of the myriad job search sites, and spontaneous discovery of highly relevant roles is less likely. Alternatively, career paths, salary expectations, jobs openings, and related learning opportunities can all be housed within your association, making you a one-stop shop! You are the expert in your industry; you should have all the career information a member might need under one umbrella.
That’s what makes an association career center not “just” a job board – it becomes part of your ecosystem of support for your members and the field.
A Source for New Members
Think about when you were in the early stages of your career. You actively sought out information and advice from others with real-world insight. And you, most likely, spent a lot of time looking for a job in your desired industry.
Having a job board gives you an avenue to attract early career and young professionals and get your foot in the door. Once they’re on your site browsing jobs, you can make the case to those just coming out of college that association membership is a vital resource. By addressing a really key need at that stage of their lives – jobs and career – the relationship gets off on the right foot. Not only can you deliver value by helping them find a job, you can also point them towards next steps.
Prospecting and Engagement
The job board becomes an open-ended prospecting funnel. Bring people in who are searching for careers within the specified industry, whether they’re a member or not. Capture information to foster that relationship down the road and bring people into the organization earlier in their careers.
And then there’s the engagement piece. Enabling your association to put new and fresh opportunities in front of members, especially when they’re not even looking. And using that emotional connection around career, which is really about personal growth and advancement and supporting your family, to drive repeat logins and move people to align with your shared mission.
The Technology That Brings It All Together
Having solid career center technology – especially something that works with your other software – allows you to fully explore digital strategies across your website, community, career center, and marketing automation tools to drive member engagement for your association and support career growth for your members.
Josh sees this as exactly the exciting opportunity with Higher Logic Thrive Jobs. It’s the ability to use the job board as valuable content and an engagement driver that brings people back into the system and flows them into automated campaigns that foster new memberships or advance members to the next level of engagement, powering your lifecycle campaigns.
Knowing where prospects and members are in their career lets you deliver personalized content in campaigns that’s impactful no matter where they are in their career.
Think about how, if your career center is linked to your marketing automation platform, and your membership management system AMS, you could potentially…
- Have a report running that pulls job board visitors or users who are not members → funnel them into an automated marketing campaign that points out how membership supports their career development (certification, courses, etc.)
- Have a report running that identifies early career professionals → funnel them into a marketing campaign advertising a Young Professional membership rate or promo.
There are so many possibilities based on the data you’d be able to leverage.
The Non Dues Revenue (NDR) from Job Boards
Association Job Boards Are an Ideal Source of Qualified Candidates
Career centers also serve associations as a source of non-dues revenue that can be generated by selling job postings. Alexey says associations are well-positioned to expose employers to highly skilled, serious-minded talent and charge a premium compared to other generic job sites out there.
Association career centers attract targeted candidates, allowing employers to identify ideal candidates with greater efficiency. This reduces the employer’s time to hire, cost per hire, and gives them access to passive candidates who aren’t actively looking for a job. Employers will pay for job postings and other forms of recruitment advertising.
Not to mention, from an employer’s standpoint, your members’ involvement with your association indicates their commitment to the field. You members regularly take steps to advance their growth, raise their value as an employee, and will likely keep doing so.
From Employers to Partners
And this is another situation where having a job board gives you a foothold – you might find that employers who regularly post in your job board would be great potential partners or sponsors. They might enjoy the opportunity to build their branding within very valuable talent you have in your membership community, and you can point them to your sponsorship packages. You might offer opportunities for employers to share industry expertise or thought-leadership content, or maybe co-develop learning courses or programs. This gives them exposure, while also helping you deliver value to your members.
Learn More At Super Forum
Josh will share additional tips on how Associations can make the most of job boards at Higher Logic Super Forum, April 10-12, 2023 in Washington, DC. It’s not too late to register! Come learn strategies from the best in the business, and your peers, to increase membership, revenue, retention, and engagement.
About Alexey, Josh, and Web Scribble
Alexey serves as CEO of Web Scribble, bringing his background as a computer systems and electrical engineering professional to the team. Entering the space about 15 years ago to power hundreds of career centers and job boards, Web Scribble eventually pivoted to work exclusively with associations and nonprofits and has been doing that for seven or eight years. Alexey oversees sales, marketing, and customer success, and thus has a deep understanding of association and employer needs.
A Higher Logic Strategic Services team alumnus, Josh currently serves as cross-platform strategist and member & customer advocate at Web Scribble. He aligns functionality and strategy for job seekers, employers, and associations using the platform. Josh brings his experience and perspective in the community space to Web Scribble’s products and services.