Daniele Besana spent 14 years working as an IT engineer, specializing in network security, before making the switch to being a full-time web entrepreneur two years ago, focusing on job sites.
“I’m particularly interested in career websites,” he says. “Especially because of their positive impact on people. I love when someone drops a ‘thank you’ e-mail after landing a new job!”
He recently took the reins at AidBoard, a career website focused on international development and aid jobs.
We recently caught up with Daniele to find out what he’s learned from running a job board and to get his advice on building relationships with job recruiters and posting and promoting job listings.
What sets AidBoard apart from other job boards?
AidBoard is a niche job board, meaning we’re fully focused on international development and aid jobs. We deliver our job seekers what they’re looking for and our recruiters the high-quality candidates they need. That’s it, really. We’ve kept things clean and simple.
How has your site been received by both job hunters and recruiters?
I took over AidBoard in 2012, but the project was launched in 2009. Back then, there were only a few alternatives in this field, and most of them were “hurting the eyes” so to speak. It took a while to attract recruiters, but once you have good jobs posted the candidates follow naturally. Word of mouth is still a very powerful marketing tool!
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced running a job board?
Delivering value to everyone involved, both recruiters and job seekers. It’s essential to keep things in balance.
How is running a job board for international aid jobs different from your standard corporate job board? What is appealing to you about it?
It’s a very different audience, and I had to “learn the language.” Our job seekers are passionate about human rights, poverty reduction and justice, for example. There’s an idealism drive that set them apart from the corporate workers. I really like that but it was also challenging. I had to learn a lot about this world (I came from an IT corporation) to communicate in the best way.
What has been the most useful things you’ve learned through experience while managing AidBoard?
I can tell you an anecdote. Once we added advertising banners we had little control over. Soon after, a woman contacted us complaining that we were advertising an Asian dating website. The ad probably had more to do with her browser history than with AidBoard, but we learned the lesson: our visitors are sensible and everything on the website should respect their values.
What’s your advice on finding and developing relationships with recruiters?
My advice is to hang out where the recruiters do: other career websites, Linkedin groups, Twitter hashtags, but also remember that everyone is just one e-mail away. Dropping an informal e-mail to get in touch with someone is still effective. And when you get a contact, nourish it. I always offer new recruiters free coupons to try AidBoard services and I’m always trying to understand how we can do better. Don’t be afraid of bad comments: they’re still an important feedback!
What are some best practices for posting job listings?
The performance of a job listing depends mainly in how it’s written. It can have a lot of exposure but with a bad title and an unattractive description it will receive few applications. Best practices include writing a descriptive title and a compelling description.
What do you do to promote your site?
We use a lot the social networks: Twitter, Facebook groups and Linkedin pages. Now we’re exploring the potential of Google+ Communities. We try to have every visitor sign up for our free weekly newsletter: that’s a powerful vehicle to keep our job seekers informed not only about the new job opportunities but also about the new blog posts, related educational programs and website updates.