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: 3577

Comment by Alasdair Murray on May 3, 2012 at 7:21am

It's like asking if grocery stores have had their day. The good thing about job boards, particularly niche ones, is you know what you're going there for and what you hope to find. We have made the whole recruitment scenario incredibly complicated by introducing new and supposedly better ways (according to some) to recruit and be recruited. Yes, Facebook has 800 million members, but whoopee-do, how many of those 800 million are relevant to what you are looking for as a recruiter? Tweet your jobs - that'll work! Yes that's very targeted isn't it!

In short, job boards are there for one purpose only, to advertise jobs, just like the grocery store is there to sell groceries, whereas social networks are many different things to many different people. Go figure which route is more targeted. What's lacking is quality in some recruiters advertising. Poor, ill conceived job ads with all the allure of a dead sheep will not recruit anyone, wherever you post them. Get your message right, consider the target audience and hey presto, job boards are the place for you! Good luck!

Comment by Nate Fischer on May 3, 2012 at 7:28am

Yes, job boards are a waste of time, you should all go look elsewhere for your candidates so they can all be mine JUST KIDDING. 

Kudos to Alasdair for summing it up nicely.   If you know how and where to look they are still good. 

Comment by Dave Hitchman on May 3, 2012 at 7:38am

What is a problem with job boards is the number of recruiters that post non-existent jobs, jobs they don't have permission to submit candidates for, jobs with poor or misleading descriptions, multiple duplicate postings.

As with many things a degree of honesty from recruiters is needed.

Post on job boards ONLY real jobs

Be honest in the description - especially about the salary offered

Be honest with the company you are representing - many excellent engineers do not have a degree, it is certainly NOT needed for 99.99999999999% of jobs, and almost certainly not for the others either. Someone who can write C/C++/C# for an embedded device can write the C/C++/C# code for your banking system, someone who can write code in any language can swap to a new one. What you need are ENGINEERS not code monkeys with a narrow and limited experience/focus.

Finally, be honest both ways - in the UK I keep seeing adverts for engineers with 15, 20 years worth of experience listed and salaries little better than you would earn as a checkout assistant. Engineers are valuable and useful people and need to be paid as such. If you are employing code monkeys, paper shufflers or some other poor excuse then fine, just don't make out you need engineers.

Comment by Shikha@AON on May 3, 2012 at 8:45am

Certainly Job boards are still one of the preferred sourcing can search both active and passive candidates there..

Comment by Emily Stevenson on May 3, 2012 at 8:49am

Thanks for the comments guys - Alisdair, I completely agree and personally, I still love my little grocery store as sometimes (like with job boards), I find hidden gems in there that I wouldn't find anywhere else!

Nate - yes, if you can find the right job board that isn't completely over saturated with candidates and/or fake candidates then they are not something to be ignored completely in a candidate pool search process.

Dave - I have personally had experience of applying for a fake job and then being pushed into something else by a recruitment company (see my post 'Give those recruiters a red card ref!') and wish that job boards could find a way of policing the content that gets added.

Comment by Alasdair Murray on May 3, 2012 at 8:55am

The problem with job boards is that some of the providers, i.e. recruiters, are allowed to post up such woefully bad advertising copy that the reader sometimes wonder why they bother looking. Many of the very people who stand to benefit from having a captive and targeted audience at their command have conspired to dumb down the creative content of a lot of the boards before turning round and delcaring job boards are dying!  yes, it's some recruiters who are doing their damndest to kill them and their own profitability with their cut and pasted, grammatically inept and unalluring job posts. Think about it, a lot of what you see on a ob board would never have made it into the press due to editorial quality standards being adhered to. The free for all that allows any clown to post a job online has resulted in a severe dip in quality of content. If you're one of those people who persist with posting up rubbish, you only have yourself to blame. Get with the programme! Think about what YOU would want to see to attract you into your next job and then actually think about how to attract quality candidates rather than just blindly posting up dull nonsense. Rant over!

Comment by Emily Stevenson on May 3, 2012 at 9:01am

..but it was a valid rant.. :) let's hope they hear you!

Comment by Paul S. Gumbinner on May 3, 2012 at 9:58am

I have found that job boards are useful tools in a very different way.  I use The Ladders to generate leads.  90% of the responses I receive are useless and do not match the descriptions I require.  However, it often shakes loose candidate who I have not been in touch with in many years who have developed appropriate skills which I did not know about.  I find that very useful and I can update them in my computer and, occasionally, place them.

I do not like linking my name to the job boards.  The reason is that so many inappropriate candidates who I already know reply.  Often arguing with me as to why I should send them because they are able to do a job which they are not qualified to handle.  As recruiters, we are responsible for finding candidates who can do a job, not those who would like to do one.  I am not concerned about awareness since I am very well known in my field.

Comment by Chuck Klein on May 3, 2012 at 10:41am

Is the writer of the article a recruiter?  Her profile shows her working for a software company and working less than 1 year in the industry. 

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on May 3, 2012 at 11:00am

I think job boards are more effective when the ad is transparent about who the company is.

Research shows that the agency "our client" ads receive 5 times less response than ads where the employer name is displayed.

I think the market is getting wise to the agency tactic of posting non-existent jobs and/or jobs where they have no client commitment, so for most agencies I'm not surprised that job boards are providing a diminishing return.


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