How to Build a Job Search Engine

how to build job search engine

By: Jacob Koshy October 16, 2017

There are plenty of popular job search engines out there and some of them are generic while the others cater to specific niches. Irrespective of that, the recruitment industry can still accommodate new and better players. Job search engines bridge the gap between job seekers and employers on a bigger level than job boards. This is because job search engines, with the data aggregated from a huge number of sources including job boards, can be more resourceful to those on the job hunt. Job search engines can be turned into solid revenue streams, especially if you focus on an emerging and less saturated niche. If you are looking to build a job search engine and don’t want to be bothered with the technical side or spend a huge sum on hiring a developer, we’ll show you how to do it.

Choosing the right niche

Choosing the right niche is crucial when it comes to turning a job search engine into a sustainable revenue source. You could target a niche or geography with your job search engine to improve your traction and cut the competition. You should factor in the demand and growth potential while choosing a niche for long-term growth. You can keep a tab on the emerging technologies as it will help you with the niche selection.

Job boards vs Job search engines

While both the terms might sound very similar, there are quite a few key differences between job boards and job search engines. On job search engines, you are likely to find a wider variety of job listings since they are aggregated from multiple sources. However, duplicate listings are the downside of job search engines. Although users get a wider array of jobs to choose from, they will have to make sure that the position is still available.

With job boards, you might have to sign up on the site to apply for a job opportunity. However, with search engines, you can simply go ahead and apply directly on the company website after spotting a vacancy.

The key difference between job boards and job search engines is that job search engines proactively crawl hundreds of thousands of sites to find and extract job listings so that they can display them as search results for user queries. Job boards don’t look for jobs posted elsewhere and mostly settle with the jobs posted directly on their site by the companies who are looking for candidates.

Monetization options

Monetization options for job search engines are plenty. If you choose to keep your job search engine as a free site without user registration or employer posting options, you are limited to contextual advertising. However, once your job search engine is popular and receiving good number of hits, you can integrate additional functionalities like paid membership and job posting options for companies.

Let’s now look at the options available for building a job search engine:

Using job search engine software

If you aren’t really into building it from scratch, there are ready-made software with all the functionalities of a job search engine available to use. You can buy one of these job search engine scripts and set it up and you’re almost ready to go. The drawback of using a pre-built script is that it may not be exactly according to your preferences. You would be basically stuck with a UI which is common to many other job aggregator sites out there that are using the same script.

If this lack of uniqueness bothers you, you will have to hire a developer to build a custom job search engine website from scratch. Some of the popular job search engine scripts are Jobclass, Smartjobboard and PHPJabbers job listing script.

Hiring a developer to build it from scratch

If you are very particular about a unique design and your own ideas being implemented, it’s better to hire a developer to get your job search engine built-up from scratch. This will give you complete control over your site and leave room for new ideas to be integrated into your website. The flipside is that it costs significantly higher than the other options discussed here.

Converting a WordPress website into a job search engine

The flexibility offered by WordPress is leveraged by many different kind of businesses to build their own unique web application on top of WordPress. You can literally build any kind of website from a WordPress installation by using the right theme, plugins and some tweaking here and there.  This is one of the reasons why WordPress is immensely popular. Another advantage is that you don’t need any technical knowledge to set up a job search engine on WordPress. Yes, there is a plugin or theme for anything and everything.

You can build your job search engine on WordPress by selecting a theme that supports job listings and search functionalities. It can further be fine-tuned by installing plugins that augment the job search engine with more features such as location based filtering, multiple language support, payment support, member profiles etc. Some great themes suitable for building a job search engine are Jobseek, WorkScout and Jobify.

If you’d rather design the site yourself and don’t want to use pre-built themes, you can do that too. While using a regular theme, you can use job listings management plugins for WordPress to turn it into a job search engine. Some of the popular job search engine plugins for WordPress are WP job manager, Simple job board and WP job board.

Job data aggregation

Setting up the website is only half work done as far as job search engines go. Job aggregators need a steady supply of job listings to be displayed for user queries. The best way to go about aggregating job postings is to employ web scraping technologies.  There are various types of services and tools available for web data extraction  which can be leveraged to aggregate job listings data from relevant sources such as job boards and company websites. Extracting web data is resource-heavy and requires domain expertise. Hence, it is not recommended that companies try to do this in-house. Some of the most important factors in web scraping setup are infrastructure, maintenance cost, monitoring, a reliable team and the tech-stack.

JobsPikr for job data aggregation

JobsPikr is a job feeds solution that extracts job data from job boards and company websites spanning across geographies on a daily basis. The data is made available in multiple formats and can be downloaded directly from the JobsPikr dashboard or accessed via the RESP API. JobsPikr is an ideal solution for building a job search engine as it provides job postings data from multiple sources. With this ready-availability of data, you can populate your job search engine with adequate job listings, which is also key to the success of your venture.

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