Talent Acquisition

6 Reasons Why Job Boards Don’t Always Work

Job boards have gotten a bad rap lately. Despite the fact that they are often the first stop for college grads looking to enter the workforce, or experienced employees looking to change careers, many involved in recruiting and hiring love to criticize job boards and resume posting sites.

One reason is that in order to hire cutting-edge talent, one must employ cutting-edge technology – and how can technology that was created in the ‘90s be considered cutting edge?

The truth is, there are a number of reasons why job boards fail to live up to the expectations of both employers and job seekers, and the fault lies partially with both parties, as well as with neither.

Let’s look at a few factors that cause job board dissatisfaction, and the reasons behind the job posting evolution.

1. Employers

When it comes to job board frustration, part of the problem lies with standard employer practices. Nowadays, most employers and recruiters use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to collect applicants’ resumes and attach them to open positions. An ATS will usually allow employers to search its database for resumes that fit the job’s required qualifications, thus allowing the employer to build a pipeline of candidates long before the job ever sees a job board. Additionally, an ATS will often rate a candidate’s fit for the job based on his or her resume. While those jobs that are posted will often receive hundreds of applications, employers usually only view a handful of applications based on fit, or who applied first. While a good ATS will notify those who weren’t selected, many applicants never receive a response, adding to their frustration.

While none of these are the fault of employers, there are those who try to game the system and benefit from job boards at the candidates’ expense. Posting non-existent jobs for the purposes of information gathering, building a resume database and generating website traffic is certainly nothing new. Furthermore, some businesses, like academic institutions, are required to post ALL open positions on job boards, regardless of the position type, where they are in the recruiting process or from where they plan on hiring. The result is often the same – frustrated candidates who wonder why applying to job postings doesn’t yield results.

2. Candidates

Applicants aren’t the only ones who get frustrated with job boards – in fact, sometimes they’re the ones causing it. Despite what some consider to be common resume writing knowledge, a search of a job board’s resume database often reveals both the best and worst. Resumes devoid of formatting, filled with spelling and grammar mistakes and poorly worded experience summaries add a whole other level of difficulty in finding candidates who meet experience requirements. Add to the fact that those who upload their resume, then find a job soon after, rarely remember to remove it, leaving tens of thousands of posted resumes for candidates no longer on the market.

Also causing frustration for employers are those candidates who apply to numerous jobs for which they’re not qualified. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and anyone who’s been unemployed knows the urgency of finding work when bills start piling up. Unfortunately, this causes some candidates to treat the application process as a numbers game and apply to as many open positions as possible. This is obviously frustrating for employers, who are already inundated with applications for job postings.

3. Social media

In the past decade, there have been a number of changes to the way companies recruit talent. Certainly the biggest impact has been made by LinkedIn, custom-designed for employers and recruiters to discover and connect with employees with the exact skill sets they require. Other less career-centric social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more recently, Snapchat allow employers and job seekers alike to use the age-old art of networking in a modern medium that allows them to connect with people in every corner of the world in every industry.

4. Passive candidates

Also working against job boards is the emphasis many employers place on only recruiting passive candidates. While the requirement that candidates are already employed before a company will hire them is controversial, it usually negates using traditional job postings to fill positions. Instead, recruiters or hiring managers opt to source passive candidates on LinkedIn or industry-specific websites and sell them on the idea of leaving their current job for a better opportunity.

5. Referrals

When taking hiring metrics into consideration, employee referrals beat hiring from job boards in nearly every category. Time to hire, cost of hire, time to onboard, tenure at the company – employee referrals always rank at the top. Employers realize that good employees know good employees. When faced with the option of paying to post a job ad, screening hundreds of resumes and conducting dozens of interviews, the option of relying on employees’ recommendations to build a candidate pool is usually more attractive.

6. The value

Those who profess that job boards are a thing of the past may be overlooking a few essential recruiting demands that they still fulfill effectively. For employers that need to hire multiple workers for entry-level or low-skilled positions, connecting with passive candidates individually on LinkedIn isn’t a viable option. When it comes to building a pipeline of candidates who have not yet established themselves in the workforce, or for positions that may not require a strong social media presence, job boards are still an effective tool.

Also consider the amount of time it takes to source candidates individually, and the amount of lost revenue while a job goes unfilled. A well-written job ad placed on the appropriate job board can yield numerous quality candidates in a short period of time. And while posting options used to be limited to large generic job boards, now there are hundreds of industry-specific job boards that allow employers to reach candidates with unique skill sets in niche markets.

While job boards now share the recruiting space with a number of other shiny new tools, they’re not dead yet. For many employers, the perfect recruiting tool may be a combination of job boards and social media, posting ads from job boards on company social media pages to maximize exposure, or posting social media links on job board ads, allowing candidates to view and connect with the employer online in order to get an idea of the company culture and employer brand. While those who thrive on recruitment’s cutting edge will continue to talk of job boards’ demise, there are some tools in the toolbox that are easily forgotten until the need arises. For employers and recruiters, there’s a long road ahead before job boards disappear completely.

By John Feldmann

John Feldmann is a Senior Communications Specialist for Insperity in Houston, TX. With over a decade of marketing and employment branding experience in the recruiting and human resources industries, John specializes in employment- and HR-related content development for a variety of media types in order to communicate Insperity's brand to both business professionals and job seekers. Follow John on X @John_Feldmann.