Job boards have been around for what seems like forever.  If an internet year is the equivalent of a dog year (seven years to every one human year) then job boards are past their century mark and in some cases approaching dinosaur status.

Do people still use job boards?

Even just a quick online search reveals that yes, people do still use job boards. From brands like Monster, Jobsite and Totaljobs to aggregator sites such as Indeed or Broadbean, the job boards are alive and seemingly thriving.

The catch is that in today’s mainly stagnant or contracting job market, such sites are understandably swamped by candidates urgently seeking employment. For both job seekers and employers this may reduce their effectiveness.

So, how are job sites are used?


For Recruiters/Employers: 

Job boards are still valuable assets in the recruiter’s toolbox despite the threat of being eclipsed by social media and online referral/networking sites such as LinkedIn.

Generalist job boards don’t normally yield high numbers of suitable candidates for specialist vacancies but may prove more effective for a broader campaign. What they do, however, is raise awareness of a brand. What’s more, all it takes is just one outstanding candidate for that ‘hard to fill’ vacancy to justify a recruiter’s investment in the site.

The downside for job boards is that online networking and word of mouth referrals normally produce a better success ratio. A trusted recommendation is preferable to hours spent sifting through CVs.

Employers have similar reasons as recruiters for using job boards. The key difference is that some use them in the hope of avoiding the cost of engaging a recruitment agency’s services and you can gain a large pool of candidates at comparatively shorter notice.


For Candidates:

In a highly competitive market, some of the best candidates will still get lost amid the increasing volume of job seekers. For the most effective results, frustrated candidates should take a multi-pronged approach:- 

-          use relevant industry keywords in CVs uploaded onto jobsites to enable companies to find their CV.

-          apply recruitment agency techniques to a job search by drawing up a list of target companies and approaching them directly, highlighting the benefits they will bring to a company.

-          research the job sites relevant to their industry (see link below).


In response to the need for more streamlined job boards, there has been a growth in niche sites tailored to specific industry sectors. Niche job boards specialise in either a particular job function, (such as sales or engineering) or an actual industry sector, (such as retail, hospitality and so on). Other categories include vacancies over a certain level or within a specific geographical location. Yet more may create a subgroup of job specialisms.

For a complete guide to job sites, including the best rated and improved job boards, whatjobsite is an excellent online resource for candidates and employers. 

Although sometimes perceived as antiquated, job boards still play an essential role in the recruitment process – you bypass them to your detriment in my opinion. The most successful ones however, are those that continue to respond and adapt to changes in the online world.

Views: 3572

Comment by Emily Stevenson on May 3, 2012 at 11:32am

Paul - that's really interesting, I haven't met anybody who uses job boards in that way. It's a good way to do it, as you said, as many inappropriate candidates apply it's hard to sift out the ones that aren't qualified/incapable of doing the job and who still will apply.

Chuck - I'm not a recruiter, no. And apologies, I haven't updated my profile in a while. I work in Marketing for a recruitment software company. Many of our clients use job boards though and I have obviously been a candidate myself using them.

Mitch - I used to hate it when I didn't know who I was applying to! Part of applying for a job is seeing where the job is and looking into whether your values fit the company's ones.. Nightmare.

Comment by Paul S. Gumbinner on May 3, 2012 at 11:37am

Emily an Mitch: I always identify myself as a recruiter and my client always know I am running a listing.  Just as an aside, every year I make several placements from the Ladders, most are new candidates, but one or two will be people I have previously known.  Even though I beg my candidates to keep me up to date on their careers, I know that most will not do so.  Consequently, the job boards are a very good way of updating me.

Comment by Jerry Albright on May 3, 2012 at 12:05pm

I place "mid career" professionals in IT, Engineering, etc.  When they think they may need to look around - or once their company has closed it's doors - or are otherwise in the job hunt - they go to Monster and Careerbuilder.

They do not spend their free time cultivating their personal brand and reputation in Talent Communities - or wait in the wings of a few companies that have great products hoping to be tapped on the shoulder at just the right moment in time.

Need a job?  Get on the job board.  That is how most people think.  The only ones blathering on and on about social networks, branding and such are not candidates.......or recruiters....

Comment by Randall Scasny on May 3, 2012 at 12:11pm

I found the article and the comments interesting. Since I market a job-seeker paid assistance service, my take on job boards is perhaps a bit different than a recruiter's.

in brief, I can get "legit" recruiter inquiries from job boards ALL THE TIME, yet I seem unable to get any interest from recruiters via social media sites like this one. I joined this blog to find out why.

Job boards have gotten a bad reputation: partly due to their own pathetic business model and partly due to the numbers game. Job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder market to job seekers as a path to their next career. But nothing in their business model marries them to an individual job seeker's success. They earn revenues on the employer recruiter side and use some of those funds to attract job seekers to view ads or enter their data into the resume database. This is the basic problem. As a result, anyone can apply to a job, whether they are qualified or not via a job board (some exceptions : pre-employment q's) or post a resume that is basically a lie with no penalty. The job board doesn't know and doesn't care other than posting some content that say's don't commit resume fraud or charge a resume critique fee to the job seeker with no guarantee. In the end, the data quality of job boards is poor and unreliable. However, one can make them work for you. Here's how.

1. Write a resume to a job ad.

2. Track the searches/views clicks of a resume in a database. If they aren't increasing, the resume needs more information. ( I call this resume tracking or testing "crowdsourcing a resume." I use YOU the recruiters to tell me if the resume is of interest based upon the aggregate searches and views. I have taken an 2-year unemployed job seeker and rebooted her campaign with a job offer in 8 weeks based upon my crowdsourcing technique.

3. Be as detailed as possible when posting a resume to a job board. Manually input the information instead of uploading the resume.

A couple of comments about Job boards:

CareerBuilder is very branded and popular but job seekers get crap from it. Too many contract jobs. Too ma ny scam jobs. Too many ridiculous inquiries. Too easy to apply to a job. Poor quality control.

Monster is very branded for sure but if you spend the 90 minutes filling in the profile IN DETAIL, you get good recruiter inquiries. My inside tip for Monster is in the section called career goals, it asks for the job title of the job you want. Well, you can add 15 job titles. So, go to and search for all the iterations of the job you want. Take all the iterations and post them into Monster. It drives up job seeker visibility.

Market niche boards are the best. Less competition, best data quality, good results.

Randalll Scasny

Director, FS5 Consulting

Comment by Dave Hitchman on May 3, 2012 at 12:13pm

@Paul S Gumbinner

So how do you know these 90% are useless?

If they don't match the description you require is that because you are not clear enough in your definition

If someone (lets go for a simple example) is currently working for Ford bolting wheels on the car why would they want to move to bolting wheels on for GM? Most of the time people are looking for new challenges, promotion, something to stretch themselves a bit. A candidate in that condition is more likely to put effort into a new position. If a candidate is just swapping Ford for GM in the hope of getting a few extra $ then why are Ford not paying him more - probably because they aren't worth more. They aren't going to be motivated and will move on to someone else very shortly as well.

If I have been programming C++ (for example) for 20 years in embedded consumer devices why am I not suitable to program C++ on your banking application? Maybe in fact there is some merit in taking my experience elsewhere and learning from it? What is more being more flexible can save money for the company as well, poaching from one bank to another will cost a lot - see above - and won't be successful in the long term - see above, bringing in excited new blood with outside experience will provide a lot of benefit and cost less.

I sometimes wonder whether the recruitment industry is as blinkered as the old HR departments that sunk most western industry over the last 50 years. Maybe this is part of the reason companies are moving to India and China claiming there is no talent in the western world?

Comment by Paul S. Gumbinner on May 3, 2012 at 12:18pm

@Dave: Not sure why you are so angry and felt the need to challenge me. I am a single industry practitioner - advertising.  Ad agencies hire ad agency people.  It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if someone is at Ford bolting wheels, they cannot work for an advertising agency on a car account, or even on a tire account for that matter. 

Comment by Dave Hitchman on May 3, 2012 at 12:25pm


I am not angry, but yes you do need challenging. Ad agencies poach each others staff ignoring much talent. Who says the guy bolting wheels on at Ford hasn't amazing ideas for advertising. Now I know it would be difficult to interview each of the hundreds of candidates to see whether they are amazing but the fact is that many of the people ignored by agents are much closer than your wheel nut fitter is to an advertising executive. My second example is quite true. There is another point here, the advertising person became one from college with no experience. What is the difference here between that and a person who is 40 coming on board with no experience? Only the age. At 40 he might be after a career change, he is still able to learn, he has some experience of life which could be - is - useful, he is able to challenge some of the 'group think' that you see in places. The college person might have 40 years ahead, the 40 year old only 20, but if you look at history you will know the college person will up sticks with his 2 years experience for a new place, the 40 year old will probably stick it out for 10 or more.

Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on May 3, 2012 at 1:59pm

After months of interviewing and declining candidates for an open CTO position, I searched for CTO resumes on Monster and not only did I find someone local, but he's a superstar to boot and one of the best hires I've had in years.  Therefore it's always luck of the draw, right timing for both the candidate and the company and the investment for resume search is well worth one hire from a job board, rather than having to send it out to an agency which was my othe next step.  I've found great candidates on Monster over the years.  It works and will continue to work.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 3, 2012 at 6:31pm

Job boards are an important part of my recruiting plan.  They keep on ticking while i am spending my time direct recruiting.  My ROI on job board spend is off the top of the chart.  When my active recruiting day ends my job board adds work all night and weekends and deliver potential candidates while i sleep.  Unlike employees they don't call in sick, don't get their feelings hurt and i dont' have to argue with them about whether a candidate is a fit or not.

Any recruiter who posts a phony add or an add for a job that they do have a listing for needs to be nibbled to death by the baby ducks, called out as a flake, stoned in the village square and any other thing anybody can think of to point them out as crooks and theives.


Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 3, 2012 at 6:44pm

@ Dave The difference between the kid out of college who became an advertising executive as opposed to a wheel nut screwer of age 40 is about 150K.  and 5 years or more of training.  Recruiters are not hired to find someone who is trainable.  We are hired to find someone who can hit the ground running.  If companies want to hire trainees in advertising or engineering or any other verticle they will go to the colleges and at least look for people who have some formal training in a field.  There is a lot more to any job than good ideas and a lot more to any industry than just being sort of close to the functional job requirements.


Example:  An accountant with a degree who is working in cost accounting in mfg.  would be like a fish out of water in public accounting or oil and gas accounting.  Recruiters do not get paid to try and put a square peg in a round hole.  Anybody can do that and it's free.


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