If you are at the planning stage of building a job board website, then the JobEngine theme from EngineThemes could be just what you are looking for. This offering is more than just a theme and in fact transforms a standard WordPress installation into something that is an ideal platform for a job listings website.
While JobEngine does change the visual appearance of a WordPress site as a regular theme does, it also adds all the functionality that is needed for managing a job board website. For this reason it’s probably best to think of this product as more of an app as opposed to just a WordPress theme.
JobEngine has been developed and released by Engine Themes. The team currently have three other themes available. Like JobEngine, these other themes have been built to deliver not just the appearance, but also the functionality of a particular type of website. This includes a forum, a classifieds site, and a hotel website.
This is a really interesting approach to WordPress theme development and it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on the products available from EngineThemes to see what type of service or business they will cater to next.
However, today we are looking at the JobEngine theme and finding out whether the additional features it adds to WordPress meets their objective of providing an all-in-one online job board solution.
As this theme is all about turning your WordPress site into a fully functioning job board, the core features of this product are its abilities to display job listings and then allow job seekers to apply online.
Further features which support these two objectives include the following:
- Payment plans: optional ability to charge a fee and accept payments for listing jobs
- Email templates: create templates to notify advertisers and job seekers of certain events
- Full mobile support thanks to the responsive design
- Ajax job filters for preventing page refreshes when searching jobs
The main areas of the theme are the job listings, the company profiles, and the job seeker profiles.
Job listings can be created either through the backend of the site by admin users or through the front end by visitors to the site. Job seekers can create profiles and online resumes storing their details, and then using those details to apply for a listed position. Alternatively, job seekers can apply directly to a listing, without creating a profile.
Companies can also create profiles or accounts, allowing them to provide additional information in support of their vacancies. Job seekers can then browse all the vacancies listed by a particular company.
There are many different settings and options available for configuring how the job listings are displayed and managed through the site. This gives you a lot of control over how your site functions and what services you provide to your users.
Although in most cases incorporating extra website features and functionality directly into a theme isn’t always a good idea with the use of plugins being the preferred option, for a theme such as JobEngine, it’s a slightly different case.
As this theme has been developed to do more than just change the appearance of a WordPress site, but also change its whole raison d'être then this approach is justified. This theme wouldn’t be used for someone simply looking for a nice template for their site, but it would only appeal to those actually looking for a solution for building a job board website.
Setting up JobEngine
Although JobEngine does more than a regular theme, it’s still just as easy to install and use as a standard WordPress theme.
Once the files have been uploaded and the theme has been activated, you are presented with the option to run the setup wizard. This is a good idea as although the theme is very easy to setup, it does walk you through the options in a systematic way.
The first step of the wizard is related to the branding of your site. From the branding page you can upload a logo, and a mobile icon, as well as set the website title and description.
The next step of the setup process is to define the job types, such as full-time, intern, etc. and then set the job categories such as the industry or field.
The user interface makes it very easy to add the different options, and to make it easier for users to navigate, each option can be colour coded.
Following on from there, the next step is concerned with choosing a currency, setting up the payments gateways, which include PayPal and 2CheckOut, as well as the option to deal with cash payments. From this page you can also define the payment plans.
When it comes to setting up the payment plans, there are five fields that can be configured:
- Name of the plan
- Availability (no. of days)
- Number of jobs
- Featured listing or not
This gives you plenty of scope for creating a range of payment plans, offering discounts for those seeking to post multiple jobs, and charging a premium to those wishing to highlight their listing as featured to make it stand out from the crowd.
The payment plans are optional so if you have no intention of charging users to list their vacancies on your site then that is fine too. A recent update to the theme removed the need for advertisers to select a plan when only one plan was in use.
The next step in the setup wizard is whether to enable resumes or not. If enabled, you can then set which availability users can tag their resume with, such as part-time or full-time; as well as which category they can place their resume into, such as an industry, or expected position.
After completing the final step of the wizard, the option to install sample data is offered. This allows you to see how your job board will work when it starts getting listings posted to it. The process worked well and quickly populated the job board with some sample data. This data can then be removed at a later date simply by clicking on the ‘Delete sample data button’.
While that last step concludes the wizard, there are many more settings and options available for configuring your job board website.
The theme also includes a handy dashboard which gives you an overview of your site, including the number of jobs posted, applications received, and revenue generated from your paid listings.
From the admin control panel you can also manage the company profiles, setup the pay-to-view resumes feature, and configure the email notification settings, including the message templates.
Managing the Jobs, Resumes, and Applications
While JobEngine provides a well-designed custom control panel for setting up and configuring the theme, the management of the jobs, resumes and applications from job seekers are managed through the custom post type feature of WordPress.
This allows admin users to create new listings from the backend, using the familiar WordPress post editor. When posting a job for example, the relevant extra fields are added as custom fields, and the user can also select the custom taxonomies such as the job type and the status of the position (full-time, part-time, etc.).
Resumes and applications can be managed in the same way and when entered through the WordPress admin interface, make use of the custom post type interface.
Overall, the main JobEngine admin interface for configuring the theme and the site is a departure from the native WordPress UI, both in terms of its appearance and functionality. While this isn’t often a good thing, with JobEngine the control panel works really well. The design is very clean with no unnecessary images to slow things down. The fluid layout makes it easy to work with on smaller screens. While the use of Ajax allows you to update the settings and add fields without having to constantly refresh the page and save your changes.
Frontend User Experience
While you can create job listings and resumes through the admin interface of the site, for a job site to be useful, visitors need to be able to add their own listings and job seeker profiles. Thankfully JobEngine makes this very easy to do.
Posting a Job
While those posting job listings must register an account, this is all done through the frontend of the website and only takes a couple of steps.
As well as listing the job title and description, users can set the location on the map, and choose how the applications are delivered to them.
The process for listing a job on the site only takes three main steps, each with a few options, making it very easy for users to post a listing on the site.
Once a listing has been posted, it is set to pending and added it to the queue where it will wait until an admin user can approve or reject it.
The front end forms for posting jobs are very well designed and easy to use and shouldn’t provide any obstacles to those wishing to post a vacancy on your site.
Browsing the Jobs
If your WordPress site is set to display the latest post on the homepage, then the job board listings will now be your homepage after the theme is installed.
The appearance of the job board is very well designed and conveys a professional image to job seekers and those with vacancies to list. Users can view the jobs from the homepage, or filter them by categories, or use the search function to find specific positions.
Applying to a Job
The process for applying to a job listing is also very straightforward and intuitive. Applicants can either send their application directly without registering, at which point they can enter their contact details, attach a file, and write a message.
Alternatively, job seekers can register an account and create a profile on the site. The profile can include information such as education history, work experience, the type of job being sought, and skills.
The job seeker’s profile can also include an avatar and links to their profiles on social networks such as a LinkedIn, as well as a link to their personal website.
Once a profile has been created, its status is set as pending until it is approved or rejected by an admin user.
Overall, using the site as either an admin user or a visitor is a very easy and simple process.
Support and Documentation
There is a good amount of documentation online to support this theme. However, I did notice that the quick setup guide was out dated and didn’t include any mention of the resume feature of the theme.
However, this isn’t too much of a problem as the settings and options of the theme are very well laid out and labelled, making it very easy to get started with and use on an on-going basis.
The EngineThemes team are committed to keeping their products up to date with regular updates. The company blog is also kept up to date allowing you to keep track of the latest upgrades that are made to their themes though the theme updates category. A quick browse of the blog gives you a good indication of the on-going work they are doing on their products.
At $129 JobEngine is expensive for a WordPress theme. However it’s important to be aware that this isn’t just a theme. It’s a tool for changing the purpose of your site from a regular WordPress installation to a fully functioning job board.
When you compare this price to some of the premium job board plugins that are available, it seems much more reasonably priced as opposed to just considering it as a theme.
JobEngine is a really well-designed and well-delivered product. While some might prefer the approach of providing this level of functionality in the form of a plugin, I think in this case, combing the appearance and the functionality together in one package works really well.
The design and the features really complement each other and work well to form a complete package. This approach also makes life easier for the user as they don’t have to worry about the plugin features not displaying correctly with their chosen theme, or other compatibility issues. With JobEngine it’s simply a case of installing the theme file, and then following the setup wizard. In just a short matter of time it’s possible to have a great looking job site up and running.
When it comes to the features of JobEngine, I couldn’t think of anything major that had been missed out or could be added to improve the product. However, it would be nice if job seekers could attach a resume file to their online profile for later use, making applying to jobs online even more instantaneous.
If you want to build a job site and want a very well-designed theme that includes all the features needed to manage such a site then JobEngine is a great choice.