Move Over, Job Boards: More Effective Ways to Find Talent Take Lead

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Job Boards may be in trouble.

Recent research has found that while job boards can still be a decent way to find candidates, they are in competition with more unique approaches to finding truly qualified talent.

While job boards used to be the front runner, they have fallen behind, from 20% of hires in 2012 to just 18% in 2013, according to a report by CareerXRoads. Approximately one in every six hires can be attributed to a job board, down from nearly one in four hires four years ago, according to Workforce Management.

Additionally, in Bullhorn's 2013 North American Staffing and Recruiting Trends Report, more than 1,800 recruiting professionals ranked job boards dead last in terms of the most effective ways to source high-quality candidates.

Networking, referrals, databases, and social media were all ranked above job boards in this study.


One issue is that job boards have become oversaturated by average talent and flooded with unqualified candidates. This "job board trolling" results in candidates heavily applying for online jobs, sometimes blindly, when they are not a match, leading the recruiter or hiring manager to sift through hundreds of unqualified applications instead of a small and more direct handful of talent data.

A New York Times piece on internal hires suggests that candidates who apply on job boards carry a "negative stigma," which could also effect the hiring outcome. These issues have left recruiters with a "less compelling candidate pool for their dollar," said Sarah Fister Gale with Workforce Management.

Other changes to job board postings in recent years, according to

  • 58% of respondents said they have either reduced or no longer use print advertising
  • 71% of respondents prefer specialist job boards to generalist job boards
  • When choosing a job board, sector specialism (72%), pricing (59%) and audience size (43%) were cited as the most important factors
  • 50% of respondents said they use social media to recruit with LinkedIn being the most popular platform
  • 30% of respondents cited reducing costs as the top recruiting priority

Finding talent is evolving with the times. Many organizations are utilizing niche job boards, internal career sites, or alternative research methods to uncover talent. Similarly, candidates now build their professional brand and network as an alternative to applying on job boards.
There is much debate about the effectiveness of job boards. As with any talent acquisition methods, leveraging job boards with other methodologies will be key as technology continues to shift and the demand for top talent in a candidate-driven market continues.

"Job boards aren't going to die anytime soon, but they must evolve if they are to remain a competitive, effective recruiting resource," said Aravinda Rao Souza of Bullhorn's study.

Studies show that less than 50% of the candidate population can actually be found online. While social media and job boards can be beneficial tools for uncovering top talent, unless they are leveraged with other research methodologies, your talent search is likely to fall short.

Using job boards as one component of the process instead of relying on it entirely is likely to yield much more comprehensive results.

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