If you’ve ever given thought to setting up a job board using WordPress, you’ve probably spent some time browsing through ThemeForest. No doubt one of the options you came across was WorkScout from Purethemes.
Purethemes has a number of great looking themes in the Envato Marketplace and although they don’t have any home runs, all of their themes have put up consistently strong numbers and maintain more than a 4-star average across the board. WorkScout is their most recent theme and although it only has 32 ratings at the time of this review, the overall response looks pretty positive.
We’re going to take a closer look at the WorkScout theme today. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll have a much better idea whether this is the right Job Board theme for your project.
Initial impressions on WorkScout
We’ll get to the technical details soon enough but what about first impressions? This is an area where WorkScout performs really well. It’s an attractive theme — plenty of white space, good typography, clear navigation and an overall positive initial impression.
If prospective employers or candidates land on your site and can’t find what they are looking for within a few seconds, there is a good chance they’ll move to the next website. With proper image selection, I don’t think you’ll have any problem retaining visitors with WorkScout.
WorkScout Installation & setup
Installation and setup, while easy, didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped. Most of the time, when I receive these themes for testing, I get a simple ZIP file that quickly uploads via the default WordPress theme installer.
Apparently I have been somewhat spoilt as of late because I actually had to put in some effort to get WorkScout installed. My first and second installation attempts resulted in error messages. It took me a second before I realized that the file size was larger than my current limit of 8MB. The fastest way around the problem was to just pull the plugins out of the ZIP file and upload them separately.
With the plugins removed from the primary file, the theme installed quickly and easily. As expected, I was then asked to install the mandatory list of plugins which took but a few seconds to complete. WorkScout comes with a fairly extensive list of required and recommended plugins — 10 by my count — including the following:
- Breadcrumb NavXT
- Contact Form 7
- net CPT
- net Shortcodes
- Slider Revolution
- Web Fonts Social Icons WP
- WP Job Manager
- WP Job Manager – Company Profiles
- WPBakery Visual Composer
All told, the installation process was fairly straight forward. WorkScout also comes with demo data but unfortunately, no images (you get gray placeholders instead). As a general rule, especially for new users, I am a fan of demo data as it really simplifies the setup process and shortens the learning curve.
Theme features & functionality
The WorkScout theme adds several new items to the WordPress admin menu. There are a few theme specific options and a several plugin menus that are added. The two most important ones are the Theme Options Menu and several options added to the Customizer.
Theme options menu
The first thing you notice is the inclusion of Theme Options which is located under the appearance menu. Theme options are separated into 5 tabs including:
- Home Page – Here you can control a variety of options including toggling the sign-in buttons in the header and lightbox. This is also where you’ll find the background position settings for main home page search boxes.
- Contact Page – Here you’ll find the custom settings for the map and markers that are located on the contact page.
- General – Once all your required pages are created, this is where you can assign the page templates to the correct page. This section is also where you’ll find the ability to turn off comments, add custom CSS and add social icons.
- Typography – This section is self-explanatory. What’s nice is that there are quite a few customization options available for typography. Purethemes has taken the time to add the ability to select not only the font but also the weight, color, size, style, spacing, line-height and more. These options cover all the major areas from body text to navigation to headers.
- Sidebars – The final theme settings menu gives you the ability to create custom sidebars which can then be assigned to specific pages or posts.
There are a few theme specific options that you’ll notice overlap with the default WordPress Customizer. At the same time, you’ll discover that the Customizer does not contain every single theme option. As a result, there will be a little back and forth as you search for some of your desired settings.
For example, the background image for the homepage search has some options for positioning (previously mentioned) that are available here, but not in the customizer.
We won’t go into too much detail with this menu because most of it is pretty standard. The best thing to do is spend some time poking around and looking at the various options. As we mentioned above, you find some options here that are not available in theme options. For example, the mini shop cart icon in the header can be toggled from within header options. The Sign-Up toggle is located in the same place but oddly, it the only one in the theme settings area. Hopefully, some of these little details will be cleaned up in a future release.
There are a variety of additional, less obvious options available from with the customizer. You can select between a full-width layout and boxed layout as well as from three different header styles. There are also specific layout options for the blog template that will allow you to select sidebar placement and control the desired meta information.
WP Job Manager
Other than the theme specific settings, the most important part of WorkScout is the WP Job Manager Plugin. In fact, the theme is built around this lightweight plugin which offers awesome core functionality plus the ability to expand as required.
WP Job Manager adds its own menu which is where you’ll be able to manage all of your individual job listings. In its default state, there are plenty of options available that allow for detailed and customized job listings that can be created on the back-end by you or submitted by employers using a front-end submission form.
A few of the other default features included with WP Job Manager include:
- Front end submission forms with 14+ custom fields
- Categorized job listings
- The ability for employers to preview listings before publishing
- Employers who are logged in can edit their listings or mark positions as filled
Where WP Job Manager really shows its value is when you start exploring some of the 30+ add-ons that are available. You’ll want to decide on your desired functionality before you start sorting through all these options. With add-ons costing $19+ dollars each, things can add up pretty quickly. If you’re considering more than a few, you’ll want to take a closer look at the Core Bundle. For $125 you will be able to add many of the most valuable add-ons at what amounts to a significant discount.
Just a few of the add-ons available include:
- The ability to integrate WooCommerce
- Accept paid listings
- Accept PayPal & Stripe payments
- A resume manager
- Allow candidates to save previous job searches and set up email alerts
- And many more!
Additional WorkScout features
WorkScout takes advantage of the features built into WP Job Manager — many of which are designed to make the job posting and search process as easy as possible for visitors. But there are also plenty of other features included with this theme that are not so obvious including:
- WooCommerce Support means you can offer paid listings and have access to a wide variety of payment gateways.
- Visual Composer makes designing great looking page layout very easy. We published a roundup post not too long ago where you can learn more about the various page builders including Visual Composer.
- Revolutions Slider is bundled with WorkScout in case you want to add custom sliders to your pages or posts.
- Purethemes Shortcode Builder is also bundled with WorkScout which makes customization much easier. There are over 25 shortcodes available including drop caps, buttons, tabs, toggles, popups, job category boxes, spotlight jobs and more.
- Custom Widgets are included which make populating your sidebars with relevant information like recent job postings and featured jobs as easy as drag and drop.
Pricing & support
WorkScout is priced at $69 which is competitive. It’s delivered with the standard Envato license that entitles the license holder to future updates plus 6-months of support from Purethemes.
Purethemes provides support via your Envato account. In addition to live support, they also maintain an up-to-date help document that is extensive enough to answer most of your questions.
WorkScout pro’s and con’s
- Great looking theme
- Good front-end user experience
- Easy to add all kinds of functionality as required
- Back-end could use a little refinement
Wrapping up this WorkScout review
If you’re in the market for a Job Board theme, WorkScout is definitely worth taking a closer look at. There are no major issues that really stand out with this theme. Sure, there were a few little problems like the installation (which might vary by host) and some of the theme settings could use cleaning up and organizing.
Overall though, it’s an easy theme to use and it looks great. The front-end user experience leaves absolutely nothing to complain about, which in my opinion, supersedes the need for a perfect admin panel or installation process.