How to build and automate a job board to earn a passive income
If you’re looking for a way to generate a passive income with minimal initial and ongoing input, look no further than the trusty job board.
These days, the demand for jobs is stronger than it’s ever been. The rate of unemployment in the US rocketed from 4.4% to 14.7% in April 2020. Though it’s come down steadily each month since, as of November it still sat at a rather lofty 6.7%. And, high unemployment rate or not, people will always look for better jobs, and job boards will always be needed.
Where in the days of old, people reached for the back pages of the newspaper or scoured the local notice board to find jobs, the default search nowadays of course happens right here, online. From the job board giants like Monster and Indeed to social platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook and niche boards such as Remote OK and Dribbble, it’s fair to say the internet is awash with job boards. But that doesn’t mean to say you can’t build, ship and start earning money from one, especially if you go with a niche industry. And if you can automate most or all of your job board, you’ll earn the money passively, freeing you up to work on your next MVP or full-time job, or whatever you like to do with your time.
In case that wasn’t a convincing enough reason to make your own job board, there’s a philanthropic element to all of this, too. Let’s say you build a job board specifically for colleges and universities to employ both current students and alumni. Yes, you’ll be making money from the jobs posted (this isn’t a charity, after all), but your platform will help employ loads of young people who may have otherwise struggled to find work. Ultimately, job boards keep people employed. And that’s always a good thing.
So let’s dive in and look at how you can set up your own job board—all without code, of course.
How to start building your job board
When choosing your platform or tool to start building out your board, there are plenty of options available to you. You could do it like us and use out-of the-box, complete and customizable software like jobboardfire.com. Platforms like this make it easy for you to have your board up and running in minutes, with elements like search, registration and payment all taken care of, and a dedicated support team for when things aren’t going your way.
If you don’t want to use a third-party tool, then an alternative is to create a job board in a responsive website builder like Webflow, then build a stack around it to make it functional and automated. This is the ideal option both if you already use Webflow and want to tack on a job board to your site, or if you want a more affordable option than a ready-to-go platform. Using a Webflow template, you can easily build out your board and customize it however you like.
Getting set up with a Webflow job board template
Log into Webflow and search for the template called ‘Jetboost Cloneable Job Board’. This is a neat, done-for-you template with great features and all the basic functionality a job board needs. Clone the template, and give your new job board a name. You’ll see from here how much functionality is available to you within the template and CMS, including job entries, a search function, filters, a ‘favorite’ toggle for users, and a ‘submit a job’ form for employers, to name a few.
Manually import jobs to your job board
Once you’ve customized your board, next you need to populate it with—you guessed it, jobs. You’ll first need to fill a CSV with data, using appropriate column headers such as company, job title, job description, industry, salary, etc. Head to the ‘Jobs’ section of your Webflow CMS, and click ‘Import’ to upload the CSV data to Webflow. Click ‘Import jobs’ and you’ll see when you click back to your page that the jobs have been populated to your site. You can also separately add logos/images to each job post listing if you want.
Automatically fetch new jobs to your job board
But what if you don’t want to manually populate your site with jobs? Having a hands-off, automated job board is the ultimate goal since, as we’ve mentioned above, the beauty of job boards is their potential for generating money passively. If you want to auto-populate your job board with job listings, here’s how you can do it using Data Fetcher, Remotive, Airtable and Zapier.
Log into Airtable and create a new base. Remove any unnecessary columns, then search for and install the ‘Data Fetcher’ app. Once installed, log in (or sign up), then create a new API request. This essentially will be the key that allows data to be pulled from one place (job listings on Remotive, for example) into another (a base in Airtable). Fill in the Data Fetcher API request form, and click ‘Run’ when done. Data Fetcher will now do its work, pulling in all relevant records from your specified source. Once finished, the result will be a fully ‘fetched’, or populated, Airtable base. If you have an upgraded Data Fetcher account, then you can set this request to run on a schedule—for example, daily. Your populated Airtable base can then form the CSV data sheet that you import to Webflow.
From here, you’ll want to use Zapier to connect your Airtable base and your Webflow CMS.
Capture your job board job submissions
A key feature of your Webflow job board will be the submissions form, allowing employers to submit a job position they’re looking to fill. This can be done easily using Airtable and Zapier.
Create a base within Airtable and make sure it has columns that correspond exactly with the fields in your form. Log into Zapier, then make a zap connecting a Webflow form submission with your Airtable base, making sure you correctly hook up each form field with the corresponding column in Airtable.
If you want to add a review step to your workflow, so you can review any job submissions before they go live on your site, you can do that here. First, add a ‘Status’ column to your Airtable base, and customize it so the status can be toggled to ‘needs review’ or ‘approved’. Next, add a second view to your Airtable base, then rename the first view to ‘needs review’ and the second to ‘approved - add to site’. Create a filter for this view so that only ‘approved’ status items show. Create another filter for the first view so that only ‘needs review’ items show.
Whenever you look through a submission and want it up on your board, you can toggle the status to ‘approved’ and it’ll automatically move into the second view. Again, you can then use Zapier to connect your second Airtable view with Webflow so that the approved jobs are pulled through onto your job without manual input from you.
Watch step-by-step tutorials on building a job board with Webflow and Airtable
If you want to see how this whole process works visually, take a look at our video tutorial tool-path, which guides you through these steps from start to finish. It also shows you how to create a job board newsletter sign-up form so you can capture email data of visitors to your site.
So you have a functioning job board—now it’s time to get what you came for: money.
The obvious way to start earning money from your job board quickly is to charge employers a fee to list their job on your site. Prices on the web vary wildly depending on a site’s popularity, prestige, industry, and package options like the shelf life and visibility of a listing, so make sure you do your research and price yourself appropriately.
Past the obvious first step, there are more creative ways you can monetize your job board and make it an even more attractive place for employers to fill their open positions.
Shelf life options
Most professional job board listings typically expire after 30 days, but why not upsell at the checkout stage and give employers the chance to extend this if they prefer? Play around with the pricing until you find what works: you may find you sell more 30-day listings at $250 if you also add a 15-day listing at $200, for example.
Make it easy for employers to make their listing more visible if they’re in a hurry to hire someone or simply want to hire the best and be seen first. You could give upgrade options like bumping their listing to the top of the list, highlighting their listing in a stand-out color, or adding their company logo for credibility. Don’t forget to add stats (once your board has been running a while) to convince employers to upgrade—for example, mention if an upgrade increases their chances of hiring the right person and by how much.
Of course you’ll want to make it clear to any employer listing on your board that they can opt out of automatic renewal, but this can be a great win-win for both parties. The employer gets their job post re-listed without any manual input; you get paid twice.
From Twitter shout-outs to email blasts to custom matching, there are many bespoke products you can offer to tempt your customers to choose your job board over any others. Including some useful analytics will help—if you have a large email database, for example, tell employers about it when mentioning your custom email blasts.
Have you successfully set up a job board without using code? We’d love to hear your story. Get in touch!
No-Code Fundamentals: Getting started with no-code
Build a business, launch a side-project, or finally start that idea you've been sitting on, without writing code.
Join a passionate and skilled group of makers, creators and entrepreneurs in this immersive, cohort-based course. Over 5 weeks, Makerpad's expert instructors, Ben Tossell and Amie Pollack, will give you the foundational skills you need to build and share your idea with the world.