We’ve all been using online job boards for years; they were one of the first really useful applications developed for the early web. And when you think about a job board, you know exactly what it needs to do: let a job seeker search for a position a certain distance from their home in a field they have some skills and at a salary they can live on. Job done.

You might think there’s not much room for innovation there, but you would be wrong, according to Tom Ricca-McCarthy, CEO of job-board software supplier Madgex.

The 15 year-old technology business provide innovation updates to every one of their customers job boards each month. “A job board is a bit like an iceberg, there’s a lot going on under the surface,” says Ricca-McCarthy. “It’s really easy to make a bad job board, it’s less easy to make technology that gets users to take action, makes the owner money and continues to do so as technologies and users expectations change”.

Innovation at Madgex is less about eureka moments, more about roadmaps and regular release schedules. Last year the business released over 300 upgrades to clients, all free of charge. These are monthly, iterative product updates that centre on publishers’ revenue aims and job seekers’ requirements, from HTML editor upgrades and new SEO tools, to additional upsells and reporting improvements.

These types of software updates sit are at the heart of Madgex’s commercial strategy. “This is about keeping the customer competitive at no extra cost,” says Mike Fahey, Account Director at Madgex.

Client services

Madgex serves over 40 million job searches and 2 million job applications a month and Fahey sees the separation of the innovation team from the day-to-day as a way to make sure clients are never compromised by development efforts. “We power over 500 brands and our clients turnover tens if not hundreds of millions of pounds in recruitment revenue.  Keeping roadmap and innovation separate means our work does not interrupt our the day to day service.” he says.

The Madgex client list reads like a Who’s Who of newspaper and magazine publishing, from the Guardian to the Washington Post, The Economist to Haymarket. But the firm also works with associations like the Law Society and recruitment pureplays including the Jobzonen, the second largest site in Denmark and Fish4jobs, a large UK generalist site.

The business gets a fair amount of inbound business from publishers, associations and even the pureplays that have set out to develop their own job-board solutions, spending millions on developers, and then realize that they can’t keep up with the changing needs of the market.

“We deliver the development. Companies paying us thousands of pounds a year benefit from an annual R&D and product development spend of more than £1.5 million,” says Ricca-McCarthy. “They benefit from the economy of scale and scope of our staff of 75 job-board fanatics. We know we have the largest concentration of job boarders in Europe, and possibly globally”.

Platform optimisation

The business looks at innovation on two levels – tactical and strategic – and the tight focus on platform optimisation doesn’t mean that the innovation team at Madgex isn’t looking out for brand new products. “When I created the Innovation team, I challenged them to deliver at least one new product a year,” says Ricca-McCarthy. “The general theme & aim is how can we help clients monetise their audiences more – all our customers are sat on really good audiences, so our objectives is to give them additional, relevant services that they can profit from.”

This year’s new product will be around Courses advertising & monetisation that allows Madgex customers to extend beyond jobs and into Career Management.  The course finder functionality will make recommendations associated with specific job searches, but also around jobseekers career aspirations and even unsuccessful applications, working from the huge amount of data that jobseekers supply.

Alongside platform optimization that includes efficiency, SEO and security enhancements, and improving platform usage such as responsive display and personalization, data insights has been a big focus for the team.

“It’s really easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data you can collect on your audience and commonly the drive in organisations is to collect more and more. Our objective is to add a layer of information, to help our clients interpret that data and allow businesses to make decisions on it. For example, our ‘Job Board Insight’ product allows our clients to visualize & measure the supply and demand across their job board,” explains Fahey.

Ricca-McCarthy say this is not data for data’s sake, but to help customers run successful businesses. He sees sales directors using the JBI dashboard to target sectors or regions that they can sell more in, or marketing directors using it to identify audience segments where traffic growth is required. ”For our customers, it’s a bit like turning the lights on,” he says.