Job Boards Aren’t Dead, Just Changing

No doubt you have heard doomsayers predicting the death of job boards. You also likely realize that the boards are still an important part of a diversified recruitment strategy. However, while the boards may not be dying, the landscape definitely is changing. If you are responsible for recruitment strategy ROI, it’s important to stay abreast of trends.

It’s difficult to find specific statistics on the effectiveness of job board postings across the industry. The boards themselves may publish impressive numbers, but those need a grain of salt to digest. Further, there are so many factors at play in any position that it may not be very insightful to look at stats based on lumping together searches at all job levels across multiple markets.

However, you probably track performance metrics for all of your recruiting strategies. In my own position, I have seen a significant change when comparing the past 12 months with the 12 months prior to that: My company sourced 16% fewer qualified candidates from the big boards like CareerBuilder, LinkedIn and Monster.

Even more interesting to me is that, in the same period, we saw an increase in flow from sites like Indeed and Craigslist. Size doesn’t account for the difference. While Craigslist remains one of the smaller boards, Indeed passed Monster in 2010, becoming the largest job site in the U.S., according to TechCrunch. Instead, I think we’re seeing a change in candidate preferences.

Some like it simpler

The data suggests that candidates are moving toward job boards with an easier, simpler experience or interface. Some candidates feel search results on Monster are full of lots of extra stuff: “featured jobs” that are totally unrelated, calls for becoming a cosmetic sales rep and even multi-level marketing (MLM) pitches.

In contrast, Indeed and Craigslist deliver a “cleaner” search engine experience with simpler web pages, more like Google. There are no sidebar ads for finishing that degree or the latest low fare to Honolulu. Indeed takes steps to eliminate duplicates. I think candidates prefer the uncluttered experience. The more efficient and direct a search engine is, the more users it will attract.

Article Continues Below

In addition, simpler web pages are more mobile-friendly than cluttered pages, and that is significant. Huge numbers of candidates (94%) with a smartphone have used them as part of a job search. As early as 2014, Glassdoor reported that 9 out of 10 people surveyed said they would use a mobile device as part of job searching in the coming year.

Watch those numbers

As you make your budget decisions around recruitment, social media is a no-brainer. Making decisions about job boards is a little trickier, but there’s no reason to abandon them. The big sites have the reputation and the branding, but pay close attention to performance for price. For example, ZipRecruiter is a relative newcomer, launched in 2010. Yet I’ve found ZipRecruiter’s performance to be comparable to that of Monster, while also being much less expensive.

You may hear some pushback from hiring managers (HMs) and clients when you say your favoring a less well-known board over Monster and CareerBuilder. Now. you’ll have some good points for your response. Of course, you’ll want to run your own numbers — maybe Monster is working well for you.

Jessica Nettleton is a Media Strategist at Decision Toolbox, a 100%  virtual recruitment firm. For the past 10 years, she has been responsible for developing strategic plans to fill positions promptly with the most qualified candidates. In her position at Media Strategist, she researches different avenues, consults with recruiters, places all recruitment advertising and analyzes results to fine tune Decision Toolbox’s strategy. Learn more at