The same thing that's dragged job boards down will kill off social recruiting (or why recruiters fail to grasp the concept of advertising)

Honestly, if I had a penny for every time I have read about how the job boards are dying I'd have ooh, let me see now, at least one of the Queen's English pounds sterling. And you know what? they are not dying of old age, they are being poisoned into oblivion by the very people who are meant to make them work - the recruiter.

Yes siree, it doesn't take much figuring out. Social media isn't the holy grail these gurus would have you believe it is. Post the same crap as you've been putting up on the job boards for the last few years onto Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin and see what happens. You'll still get a poor response.

The fact is, candidates, the decent ones at least, have tired of job boards to a great degree because they are inhabited not with alluring advertising messages that sell the virtues of the employer and the role, but rather with poorly written, error strewn offerings that try in vain to pass themselves off as recruitment advertisements.

Just look at a typical job board and click on a few. Cut and pasted job descriptions that haven't even been spaced properly, so just one huge block of text; schoolboy (or girl) grammatical errors, even job titles with spelling mistakes in them.

Imagine for a minute if you will that advertisers in all walks of life approached their business in the same way. That they started talking to their potential customers like idiots or writing their advertisements like children. People would stop buying their products and they would soon go out of business. Well guess what? People have stopped buying into job boards to a great extent because so many recruiters are just not making the effort to talk to their potential audience in an attractive, grown up, error free and alluring way. Instead they are treating would be applicants like idiots who will apply to anything that has the word 'job' in it. In short, recruiters are killing the job board, no one else.

So, all you recruiters out there who are guilty of the above sins, if you're convinced that job boards are yesterday's news and that social networking is where it's at, carry on posting up your badly thought through excuses for advertisements and see how long it takes before the very same people that turned their noses up at you on job boards do exactly the same on social networks. I guarantee that will happen if you continue posting links to job ads that at best don't sell and at worst I wouldn't expect my seven year old to write.

Views: 269

Comment by Kristina McDougall on July 21, 2010 at 8:54am
Great post ... I think it's about time that organizations start viewing recruiting as more of an extension of marketing and sales, and less of an HR function.
Comment by Derek Wirgau on July 21, 2010 at 9:46am
You are so correct!! There is way too much cut and paste. I would like to add one other item that is driving away the qualified candidates - Shell Postings!! First, as a former candidate, these shells are a disservice to the industry. Yes, it is nice to receive a great candidate you otherwise wouldn't have found. But the number you drive away, is far greater. Second, I have candidates even ask me if this is just a shell or for an actual position. How sad!!
Comment by Barbara Goldman on July 21, 2010 at 9:51am
It is so interesting to see recruiting change. We don't use job boards in our company. If a candidate is on the boards then everyone else has him too. I have tried the boards, but it hasn't worked as a cost effective solution for us. I'm an old fashioned head hunter, and this social networking thing is not new. We have always been networkers, that's how we recruit. So, the more things change, the more they stay the same :)
Comment by Dave Opton on July 21, 2010 at 10:26am

It is indeed remarkable how often one sees posts like the ones you describe. It sort of makes you wonder if some organizations don't understand that even when it is a buyer's market as it is now that recruiting is still, as Kristina has said, as much a part of your brand as anything else.
Comment by Jodi on July 21, 2010 at 11:01am
Part of my sales pitch when I'm speaking to prospective clients is that we aren't on the job boards. We're not hoping for a passive candidate to fall into our laps, my team is out hunting, talking and perhaps most importantly once we find someone that wants to listen to us, we can refer them to our website where the complete, accurate and effective posting is well written and ultimately appealing. I always tell my team that everything that they attach our name to is a reflection of the firm and if it's not well done then don't do it and if it's free it's probably worth what you paid. Just my two cents.
Comment by Sean Mulhern on July 21, 2010 at 12:23pm
Completely agree with the points made here- especially the shell postings! I'm biased- but I have seen that if there is a strategic social media effort combined with your career site as a hub and a presence on Google (300 million job searches per month) recruiting is much more effective then post and pray
Comment by Dave Opton on July 21, 2010 at 12:32pm
I also agree with Sean which is one of the reasons that recruiters are members with us as well as executives. Recruiters want quality candidates and candidates want access to opportunities that are real.
Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on July 21, 2010 at 8:51pm
Great points! It really is quite pathetic how little care seems to go in to posting (advertising/marketing) open positions. Personally, it is a major turn off to see typos, spelling, grammar, formatting issues of this type - yet far too common!

Even those that aren't completely error-ridden have the tendency to bore the heck out of the reader.
If you expect top talent to respond, then you had better make the effort to construct a compelling message that attracts their attention and makes it worth while for them to spend 30-40 minutes of their time on your ATS process.

Those who whine about the lack of quality candidates absolutely earn the response or lack there of that they deserve when they continuously post garbage. The more customized the message to the target audience, the better chance of finding the right fit.

One particularly memorable experience I have with poorly written job postings was when I happened upon an online posting that a recruiter (who reported to me at the time) mis-spelled our company name. I was mortified!
Comment by Zoe Jimenez on July 22, 2010 at 4:22am
What do you think will happen to the job aggregator sites like Indeed, SimplyHired, and ?
Comment by Nick Gray on July 22, 2010 at 11:03am
IMHO the new generation for jobsites will follow the model of targeted niche sector, direct employer advertising only. Look at


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