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: 3576

Comment by Alasdair Murray on May 4, 2012 at 12:38pm

You can check out some words here though

Comment by Mike Vilimek on May 4, 2012 at 12:44pm

Talent Technology recently conducted the 2012 State of Recruiting Survey which, among other things, asked where recruiters are finding most of their candidates. Any guesses on the top source? Yup, job boards. More than social networks, more than internal applicants, more than referrals. Check it out the findings here:

Comment by Peter on May 4, 2012 at 1:39pm

Greetings all!  I'm new around here, so I'll include a little about me to add context to my comments - I spent over ten years building one of the largest job boards in the USA -  Many of the comments here are great and all are relevant (frankly, I'm surprised no one railed against the evil job boards and how terrible they are!) but here's my take on it:

1) For general skill set positions, general job boards are great.  For more specifics, go niche.

2) Staffing agencies / recruiters are notorious for posting horrible ad copy.  At Jobing, we worked very hard to regulate and correct/improve this as much as possible.  And it was a big challenge!

3) The bigger point (and take it from me because I am an active candidate using job boards right now) - the way job boards are being used is evolving, but they themselves won't go away anytime soon.  Heck, there are still people advertising in the newspaper, but that's a different conversation....  How do I use a job board?  I use it to alert me that there is an open position that I might be interested in.  What's the first step I take when I see a position I'm interested in? - I DO NOT APPLY TO IT.  The next thing I do is I go on LinkedIn to find someone that is likely to be over the function and connect with them.  When I cannot find an obvious person, I'll go looking for an HR Director, Director of Talent Acquisition etc...

This method has yielded about an 80% response rate - completely obliterating the "black hole" issues of applying via a major job board (the black hole is less pervasive on smaller/niche boards for obvious reasons).

But the key point to remember here is that I - the candidate - found the job on a job board.  Also keep in mind that by not placing your ad on a job board, it's much less likely to get picked up by aggregators and job search engines like Indeed and SimplyHired.

Bite the bullet.  Post your jobs.  The candidates thank you. :)

Peter D.

Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on May 4, 2012 at 2:17pm

Peter..........your approach is annoying!  I do NOT respond to candidates who try to contact me OR my hiring manager directly.  And if you happen to get through to my hiring manager, they are trained to turn those calls/emails over to me since I'm the one being paid to recruit for the company.  They are paid to either market, merchandise or develop our website.  I'm glad you have such a high response rate, but if it's so successful, why are you still an active candidate?

Comment by Bill Schultz on May 4, 2012 at 2:24pm

 Peter C.  But what if they're really good? 

Comment by Peter on May 4, 2012 at 2:32pm

Sorry you feel that way, Peter.  I'm finding most organizations open to some sort of pre-application contact.  I find organizations so stuck in their hiring process "annoying" so we're even. :)  And I won't take offense to the premise of the next question... :)

Now, to answer the other question - Frankly, I'm expensive.  I've got the flexibility to hunt and wait for the right opportunity, rather than jump at the first $50k job available.  Add to that the fact that I am looking for a good company and situation and the potential landing spots become a bit more limited.

When you're looking for work at the VP/C level, my approach is far more appropriate, I think, than if I were a machinist looking for a $12/hr job.  I would concede that people at those levels probably should just apply.  But at the executive/strategic leadership level it's a bit different.

Comment by Ian Harvey on May 4, 2012 at 2:42pm

Peter C.  Oh God forbid that we should expect to talk to candidates who show an interest in our company, and put themselves out to avoid a process very low in candidate experience! Oh the very thought!

Comment by Peter on May 4, 2012 at 2:50pm

Where's the LIKE button on this site?  :)

Comment by Randall Scasny on May 4, 2012 at 3:09pm

Are job boards a waste of time? No. Are social media sites for hiring  waste of time? yes. Here's why.

I have a customers (integrated marketing, Bachelors English, Informatics) tech savvy a great copywriter. Here's the present status of her job search campaign: 4 serious leads. Here's the running score:

3 leads: job boards (Careerbuilder and Monster)

1 lead: networking ( a friend of a friend forward to Company's Marketing Manager. Result: informational interview to see company "fit" job posting, no competition Hurrah (from me).

0 leads: social media linkedin. nothing. zip. nada. For months.

I've read various studies about social medias --  for ex.. CareerXRoads -- and they all say the same thing: job boards are bigger sources and social medias are a work in progress.

But, in the defense of social medias.... I was given a recommendation by a previous customer today (May 4). In 3 hours, I had someone on LinkedIn contact me about her job search. I've always found the social medias good for connections, not really for job seeking.

Randall Scasny


FS5 Consulting (Job Search Assistance)

Comment by Jerry Albright on May 4, 2012 at 3:13pm

Great.  Another "teach an accountant/scientist/programmer/engineer how to become a sales person" comment.  No way.  Peter - you're in sales.  Most people aren't.


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