Not all of us wake up one day and decide to start a narrowly targeted job board. But then, not all of us are John Bardinelli, a freelance writer and owner of Video Game Journalism Jobs. John spoke with us about what it takes to run a job board with a narrow focus.
What led you to found a job board aimed at gaming journalism?
The site grew organically out of my own career as a freelance writer and game journalist. It took me a few years to learn the ins and outs of the business and establish my online presence. Once my name was out there, I began receiving emails from writers hoping to follow the same path. There really wasn’t a centralized learning resource for new game journalists, so I thought I would create one! Video Game Journalism Jobs was founded in 2003/4 as a mailing list, then slowly turned into a forum, a blog and finally the job board with advice articles that exists today.
What are some of the challenges you may not have expected when you started running a niche job board?
I knew it would be difficult to maintain growth in a niche market, but the most unexpected challenge has been more technical in nature. When you wake up and your site is broken, you’d be surprised how much you can learn and how fast you can learn it! I’ve picked up all of my technical knowledge using that very effective method!
If you could talk to yourself right when you were starting the site, what advice would you give?
Video Game Journalism Jobs started as a hobby project and stayed that way for the first few years. I didn’t have the time or the expertise to turn the site into the powerhouse I wanted it to be, so the initial growth was slow and uneven. If I could go back, I would encourage myself to really dive in and get things going sooner. I’m happy with how things have progressed, just not the speed at which it has happened.
How do you deal with an individual who puts up a misleading job posting? What’s the right strategy?
The most important thing is to keep your users protected. Whenever we catch an ad that misrepresents itself, our first step is to unpublish it. We then get in contact with the author to sort out the issue. Most of the time, misleading posts are the result of poor communication or simple copy/paste errors. In those cases, a couple of emails is all it takes to clean things up and get an accurate ad back on the site.
Conversely, what do you do when an angry applicant comes to you?
We handle this with ample amounts of communication, as well. If an applicant contacts us, we investigate the issue right away. If it’s related to another user on the site, we get in touch with them so we can hear both sides of the story. There haven’t been any problems we couldn’t resolve using this approach.
How do you integrate social media features into the site?
We’ve used various social media integration methods over the years, but in the end, we think simpler is better. Gone are the “share this!” buttons on every job ad and blog post. Instead, we have presences on Twitter and Facebook and automatically post links to all new jobs on both social media sites. It’s good for outreach and also gets some more eyes looking at each job opening, all without cluttering our pages with buttons only a few people ever use.