Job Boards; Do They Still Work?

by in Industry and Markets, Recruitment

Job boards don’t work.

That’s a phrase I hear a lot, and I mean a lot. It seems that everyone is very quick to bash the inefficiencies of the job board.

Poor quality applications, lack of applications, expensive, all reasons not to use them.

Yet when you look at recent research such as that provided by LinkedIn that 46% of all hires come from job boards, it would suggest that job boards are in fact working very well. So why the huge disparity in feeling over what works and what doesn’t? For many years, I have put this down to a negotiation tactic from clients in order to prevent the job boards from putting their prices up year on year. I think I’m pretty good at spotting a negotiation tactic, but now I think that many recruiters genuinely feel that job boards don’t add anything to their business.

At best I think they see job boards as a necessary evil, something they need to be seen to be doing but the ROI is very little.

It’s easy to blame the market or the media, but there are a number of contributing factors clients should consider before declaring this route to market useless. There is no silver bullet to recruitment as I’ve written about before, and I constantly advocate a multi-channel approach in the recruitment marketing strategy.

These are the issues as I see it:

  • The quality of copy and adverts that get put onto job boards isn’t good enough; many are just cut and paste job descriptions;
  • There tends to be a spray and pray mentality – advertising on all boards and hoping for the best;
  • Job boards have the pricing model wrong where quantity is rewarded with greater discounts, lowering the quality of advertising copy;
  • Job boards have branding options that are too slow or cumbersome for an agency that needs candidates fast;
  • Clients often buy the cheapest possible inventory and then blame the inventory/job board when it doesn’t get them candidates;
  • Job boards and clients do not commit enough time to learn how each other works and there is a power struggle between the two. i.e. This is how you must advertise vs. This is how my business works;
  • ROI of boards isn’t monitored so no one really knows where the candidates come from;
  • Job boards want all jobs regardless of industry and location.


The last point is particularly relevant. No board is suitable for every job. You should not be ‘spraying and praying’ even though that’s what we’re encouraged to do. This raises expectations beyond reality, unfortunately until now there has been no sure-fire way of knowing which boards to advertise which jobs on, beyond your own individual experience which in truth is not enough data to be scientifically sure. So you take no risks and post to all.


It’s horses for courses, but I think of it more like putting a Ferrari off road!

WaveTrackR Multiposter Software

It’s something that’s baffled me for years now, but with our latest development of WaveTrackR we can finally assess which jobs will perform on which job boards. Consider the industry, the job title, location and salary and the performance board to board is surprisingly vast. Finally we’re reaching a point now where spray and pray can come to an end, expectations can be realistic and we can start to appreciate the good that the boards generate and not just the disappointment of poor quality candidates if anything at all…

As for the rest of the points, well that’s a work in progress, but I would urge recruiters to spend a bit more time on the quality of their copy they’re advertising, and for the job boards to speed up the time in which they can get the added value inventory out to market.