Monday, August 10, 2009

Job Boards not Dead, but check the Sick and Shut-in List

Job Boards are sickly, maybe dying. Why? Because despite advancements in technology, integration with ATS systems and strong customer partnerships, job boards have steadfastly refused to report their results in terms of the only metric that matters: hires. Job board marketing departments will share all kinds of data, and try to convince recruiting leaders that clicks and impressions and conversions are reason enough to pay $100-$300 for a single job posting.

The truth, in my experience, and found in the CareerXroads Source of Hire Survey , job boards only account for 10-15% of hires made, yet they capture a significant portion of any recruiting department budget and overwhelmingly account for sourcing expenses.

It's time to call the job boards on the carpet. Prove that you're worth it. Do the hard work, the last mile of ATS integration and research. Tell us the number of hires made, and the type of hires made as a result of postings and job board database searches. For years, job board reps have told me that it's just too hard, they can't get behind corporate firewalls to get the data, the tracking isn't accurate, etc. etc. etc.

My answer to the job boards? Get it done or lower your prices. Recruiters can/will find a way to make up for the 10-15% of hires made - through referral programs, social media, job fairs, SEM, direct sourcing and about a dozen other channels.

(Full disclosure and fine print: I am working on a job broadcasting solution, similar to a job board. The beta release - planned for fall - does not have the ability to track hires. Our solution, however, will be significantly less expensive than job board solutions)


  1. I think the future of job boards will be a combination of greater accountability (aka "getting it done") with a more tighly-focused approach, i.e. - "vertical" job boards. There are already a handful of job boards that are giving employers and recruiters greater access to information so that they can make decisions regarding where they'll do their recruiting. It's just a matter of time before social media and viral recruiting force larger job boards to either "get small" in the form of verticals or start fessing up regarding the *real* numbers (or both).

  2. Very good point although its a tough one for the job boards to be able to track hires without direct integration with a recruiters own system. But a recruiter can do this for themselves.

    It took us 6 months but i got tired of hearing how many applications were being driven to our site and how we should be paying more for that (as the print market dies and they try to recoup the fees.)

    In the end we managed to track how many applicants we were getting from each site we used, how many of these applicants were actually relevant and then how many made it to interview and ultimately placement. Guess what? We canned 4 of the 6 job boards immediately as they had not driven any hires, nor had they driven interviews. We are able to show this information in terms of a profit and loss statement for each job board. This now forms the basis of each and every negotiation - results.

    I do find it kind of funny though that you are making this statement and then going on to set up your own job broadcasting solution that actually wont measure placements! Your unique proposition? Cheaper? Not sure that's really that much of an attraction. Ultimately, no matter how good you think its gonna be, if you cant get the data and prove you drive hires you are no better than anyone else and will also struggle to defend your pricepoint, no?