Job Boards: Recruiter Revenue Tool or Time Waster?

By Dave Nerz

recruiter job boardA 2010 CareerXroads study of major companies found that 25 percent of all jobs were found as a result of job board applications. This was second only to employee referrals as the source of job candidates and placement. Even with these strong facts supporting the success of job boards, it is interesting to see the varied opinions the recruiting community has regarding job boards. (Disclosure: NPA launched its own recruiter job board in August 2011.)

Here are a few of the points of view I have been exposed to. I’ll start with the least interested and most hostile parties toward job boards and move my way up the line…

There is a small but vocal collection of recruiters that don’t want to use job boards. These recruiters view job boards as “cheating.” As recruiters, they feel capable of finding talent without the use of this “crutch.” They come at if from a “we did it before job boards and we can do it without job boards point of view.” These are typically “seasoned veterans” of recruiting. Some have gone as far as to experiment with job boards and come to the conclusion that the time invested is not worth the return. They see the number of poor-fit candidates that apply to their ads and require a response as “wasting their time.” They are not willing to sift through “trash” to get to the “treasure.” Within this category is an even more job board-hostile collection of recruiters. These recruiters go a step further and see job boards as the “enemy” of “real” recruiters. This group is willing to endure hardship because they are used to it and are just unwilling to change. This group is happy with the way things were before job boards. Deny the existence and perhaps the job boards will fail or go away.

A second point of view comes from the group of recruiters that see job boards as a “necessary evil.” Job boards exist, they cannot deny the existence of this tool; therefore, it makes sense to participate and to use job boards as a recruiter revenue creation tool. This point of view is hatched out of the “if you can’t beat them, join them” way of viewing life. This is a practical bunch, but given options these folks would rather not be using job boards. This group wants to survive, so they participate.

Many recruiters embrace job boards as a tech-savvy way to reach audiences and candidates that they could otherwise never reach. This group of sees job boards as recruiter revenue generating machines. They are eager and ready to deal with the implications of having a job posted on a job board. They know that 80 to 90 percent of those who apply are not a good fit. This group is willing to sift through the “trash” to get the “treasure”. They know that the treasure is a placement that will create recruiter revenue and translate to recruiting profit.  This group is looking to prosper.

It seems that the beliefs held about job boards are often a function of the type of recruiting each individual or firm does and the length of time they have been doing it. 

My opinion? Get with it…times change. If you are not using job boards, you are missing what is reported as at least 25 percent of how the market is operating. If fact, if you are not using job boards maybe you should skip a technology cycle. Job boards are winding down and the next tech wave is underway…social media. Personal experience tells me you can skip one cycle of technology, but don’t skip two. You run the likelihood of becoming a recruiter dinosaur if you skip too many cycles. If you are in it for the challenge and recruiting revenue and profit are not a concern, that’s fine. Stick with what you know and don’t evolve. Just be sure to recognize you are shrinking the size of your market and you are making the process of catching the next technology wave just that much more difficult and that much more important if you expect to survive. 

What do you see as the next “wave” of recruiting technology tools?

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