In my recruiting career, very few assignments were filled through job boards. Most were filled using direct recruiting.  


I know that some recruiters apparently have success with them, but is the overall strategy profitable?


Yes, one three hundred dollar ad may result in a five figure placement occasionally, but what kind of return does your firm get for the total it spends in advertising and resume access?  


Is it worth it?

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Job advertisements work for some 'recruiters' but I am not a fan of it.  I am a head hunter/direct recruiter and that's my prefer method.  In my experience, Job board advertisements will only attract the active job seekers and it is common to see them going to multiple interviews and talking with multiple companies.  They also will take the first offer that they receive and leave you stranded without a candidate.

It is only profitable if the client has no urgency to fill the position and if the recruiter is the sole person looking after this search.  

There are so many methods available and some work better then others. Many factors involved like: type of position, effectiveness of the ad, screening process of the ad results, recruiters preference, etc. If I fill a job, it could be from any number of sources and processes. I guess the "worth it" question would have to be determined by each person - if I spent $5,00.00 per year on job ads and fill one position with a $20,000.00 fee I would deem it worth it. (That was just an anecdotal example!)


Total job board spend = 4,500.00

Billings directly related to job board posting response = 217,000

400+ Good placeable in forseeable future candidates = Priceless

Advertising freeing up time for direct recruiting on hard to fill positions = Beyond Priceless


Every recruiter's situation will be different of course but recruiters who completely reject job boards just because they are "purists" who only believe in finding candidates hidden in caves do so at their own risk.

Sandra McCartt said:

Total job board spend = 4,500.00

Billings directly related to job board posting response = 217,000

400+ Good placeable in forseeable future candidates = Priceless

Advertising freeing up time for direct recruiting on hard to fill positions = Beyond Priceless

I am also seeing an incredible increase in the referring of posted jobs from an active candidate to their networks of people who are not looking at job boards, not even really looking actively.  Those candidates will not respond directly to a post but they call for information after someone forwards the job post to them.  I love being contacted by a candidate who does not even have an updated resume.  Great place to start with a top candidate that i did not have to dig out from under a rock.


My attitude is that job postings are simply advertising what we have to sell.  Think about it, did you even buy anything or start to look at something because you saw an ad or a commercial.  Jeezus, we are all over the place making noise about brands and fan pages, tweets and engagement, blah , blah, blah.  How about puting out there what we have to sell and see if we can generate interest in what we are peddling instead of playing all the silly games and acting like a bunch of simpering, engaging, reluctant virgins hoping somebody will "follow us" so we can bag them and glory in that we got a candidate from social media.


Advertising is a long way from a successful match.  Interestingly, i picked up the morning paper at the dentists office there were five pages on a weekday of big print ads.  And guess who one of the biggest was?  Monster.  Offering free customer service help for people to get their resume online.  I can get most of those people pounding the phone 8 hours a day.  My take is Monster can spend tons on print ads, get those folks signed up or at least looking at the site.  Then i spend a hundred bucks post a job and get most of them and their friends and neighbors.  Sure some of my clients can get the same ones but mostly they don't get the best, too risky, they want a headhunter to rep them, get them feedback and get them into the right people.

"Advertising freeing up time for direct recruiting on hard to fill positions = Beyond Priceless"

Sandra, good one. To me that is the essence.

These days Job Postings are going Social, somebody tweets them or shares them.

In the early 90's I remember it being a required part of my Friday afternoon to "Have your ads turned in before you leave!" 


I remember one time telling my boss at the time "I don't think we should waste the money this week.  The people I'm looking for are pretty rare.  I doubt anyone will even see that ad."


His reply "We don't run ads for the candidates.  We run them to let our clients know what we do." or something to that effect.  So Sandra - I'll agree with you here.  While the ads aren't so concentrated any more - the old Sunday paper is a thing of the past - our clients are still paying attention.


On a side note - you might be surprised how effective a free Craigslist ad is now and then.  ;)

I've got hundreds of testimonials saying YES, they absolutely do work!

The advice I often give a candidate who wants to move to an area I don't work is to check the job boards. Find companies and recruiters who are posting the kinds of jobs they want then contact that recruiter direct. If I consistently post accounting jobs many candidates will call me direct when they first decide to look or are moving to the area because they have seen past ads and know I work that that speciality.

Craig's list and a number of other free sites also gets my company name out there. I don't do print ads anymore but during the transition period when the whole world was not conditioned to look at job boards I ran a Sunday ad that said, Check our current openings on career builder or where ever I was running ads.

Believe it or not hiring managers will do a quick check of the boards to see who is running ads for the type of employee they need to hire. They will and do call before they will respond to a cold call for business. The assumption is that a recruiter who is looking for a doc probably knows more than one.

A google search will pull up a bunch of those old ads so the advertising gift keeps on giving long after they have been filled. It's not about digging through the database of a job board.


I think Job boards/Job ads are most definitely worth it if you're using social media. You can get a lot of value out of posting jobs ads via Facebook or posting them to a Careers site that your company has designed. By doing this on Facebook, you can attract, build and maintain a Talent Pool through social networking.  

You can do this on your own for free, or you can invest a reasonable amount of money in a service that does it for you. My company, for example, provides 3 different recruiting tools that allow the social employer to source and recruit through Facebook. We can set up a service for posting jobs to your Career page that is cost effective and incredibly easy for you and job seekers to use. If you have a minute, check out the products we offer:


Hope we can be of help, and good luck in your recruitment process!


Chase Delano

Community Management Intern at Identified

Chase, are you saying that Facebook is a job board?  :)

Hallelujah!  There's hope in the world...there are [smart] recruiters who understand the value of advertising, branding and time management with regards to using job boards and the nuances thereof (great comment Jerry's boss) and that a job board is simply one of many tools designed to perform a multitude of functions all pointing towards making more money.


The walk up hill both ways to work barefoot in the snow approach to recruiting is over, and was a long time ago. Those self righteous recruiters have a myopic view of the process and somehow need to pontificate in justifying their "lower" billings under the porous umbrella of more effort.  Effort doesn't pay my mortgage.   


I think the most valuable comments on this string come from Sandra and Jerry respectively; filing the database with placeable candidates and letting your clients know you're there.  I'll take Jerry's comment one more step; familiarizing candidates with your name when you call.


Too often the success of a job board is measured by direct placements (place an ad, application, placement) when in fact the greater value is building your database with placeable candidates for quick, future placements. And I would bet that if you're not seeing a very high ROI with your job board of choice, don't blame the job board; most likely you need better jobs.  And if you're not using job boards, good luck because clearly some of the top recruiting minds on this blog are.

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