Creative Ways to Distribute Your Job Postings

ongigNot everyone can afford (or wants to pay) $300 or more to post a job on one of the premier job boards like LinkedIn, Monster, or CareerBuilder, and few recruiters (outside of agencies) have the time to proactively mine resume databases for talent. Given this, let’s look at some creative and unique ways to distribute your job postings to increase the flow of candidates into your applicant tracking system.

Before you start thinking about job distribution, make sure you’ve developed a job description/posting that stands out. Avoid the trap of using a template that reads like a congressional law. Come up with some colorful language that will make your position and company stand out from the pack. Take a look at the job descriptions that Boston-based video hosting company Wistia comes up with for inspiration. Add images and maybe even video to your text to really grab people’s attention. Can you use job titles that nobody has thought of before (“Ambassador of First Impressions” vs. “Receptionist”?) We all know that crappy content, even with the best distribution, will only go so far, so make sure you take time to do something different with your job descriptions.

One company that has made “engaging job descriptions” its core mission is Ongig. Its platform appears to make it easy to to develop job postings that are more content-oriented and likely have a better chance of being shared. It even makes the number of “eyeballs” on the posting a primary element of the post itself.

There’s a special social media strategy you can employ if you take a little bit of time, that won’t cost you a penny. Specifically in the world of Twitter, there are at least two or three (often many more) Twitter users who are successfully aggregating followers who are passionate about even the most obscure and specific topic.

For instance, take the programming language JQuery. If you are looking for a Front-End Developer, run some searches on Twitter to find the Twitter users with JQuery as part of their handle and who have decent size followings (a quick search on Google turned up @Jquery with 90k+ followers). Tweet them your job posting directly (i.e. use their @ handle in your message) and ask them to retweet. Make sure to use a relevant hashtag (in this case, #jquery) so your tweet/link can be found in searches. You’d be surprised how often Twitter users will re-tweet your message if its relevant for their audience and you ask politely.

If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities (like Medford, Oregon) where Craig doesn’t charge for job postings, you can use good old Craigslist. There’s really no reason not to. You’d be surprised how relevant the site continues to be (I’ve made a few placements from candidates sourced through this channel, though don’t tell any of my clients that.)

I’ve heard of recruiters running PPC ads on Google for their job postings around specific keywords in specific cities. Going back to the Jquery example, if your front-end developer role is in Seattle, you can bid on keywords like “JQuery” or ‘JQuery tutorial” in Seattle only, and expect that at least a few of your clicks will come from developers who might be interested in applying for your job. With PPC campaigns, you can set your budget and watch closely how your ads are performing (i.e. conversions), but only do this if you understand how the PPC world works.

Services that syndicate your jobs to multiple job boards with the click of a button, like ZipRecruiter, often offer a free trial, and even if you becoming a paying customer, the rates are reasonable. This is a good way to cast a wide net with your posting and see what kind of results you get, for minimal expense.

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One technology that I used for a while, Jobaline, has recently taken down its service — it was  integrated with Zoho Recruit, the applicant tracking system I use, and allowed me to run job campaigns through their network and only pay for their candidates whose resumes I felt would be a good match for my job. This pay-per-pick approach came in handy when working on a budget, we’ll see more players taking advantage of this model in the future.

Ask your employees to share your job across their social networks. If you are a Jobvite or TheResumator customer this is easy to do; you can even give your employees their own login to set up auto-publishing of your job posts to their networks, and track any referrals that come through each employee back to that employee. Offer incentives/fees for successful referrals and you’ll have your own little affiliate program running for candidate generation (which in my mind is no different then the lead generation that online sellers do).

Though I haven’t attempted it, you can distribute a press release through one of the online services like PRWeb to try and generate traffic for your job opening. This would work especially well if there is a compelling story behind the hire: i.e., a fundraising round, or a new technology breakthrough, or entering into a new market. It sort of kills multiple birds with one stone. If you go this route, don’t use your job description as the release. Wrap it into the release and provide a link (preferably one that you can track to see how many applicants actually show up through this approach). If the release is well-written and compelling, there’s a good chance you’ll get some press too.

Above all else, make sure that when your prospective candidates reach your job posting page, either on their laptops, smartphones, or tablets, that it’s written with some flair, and offers more then the standard templated job description. With a little creativity, you can find plenty of ways to bypass the big job boards to get your job postings distributed.

What creative strategies not mentioned here have you used to get distribution for your job postings?


16 Comments on “Creative Ways to Distribute Your Job Postings

  1. I’ve been using SmartRecruiters which is free (you pay if you put the job on paid job boards, of course) but it allows me to get a job up on Indeed and SimplyHired quickly and for nothing. They will try to sell you on their ATS service which isn’t great, but the job posting is easy enough. Also use JobScore which their ATS is a bit more meaty and free with limited bells and whistles.

  2. I would approach “cute” job titles with caution. A major objective of posting a job online for the world to see is to be findable. No job seeker is going to search for “Ambassador of First Impressions” but they will search for Receptionist, Executive Assistant, etc. Out of the box titles will most likely hurt performance because the job title does not match the way candidates search for jobs. Marketing 101 – don’t confuse your audience. I do however think an introduction paragraph in the job description that emphasizes, “the receptionist at our company is our Ambassador of First Impressions” – is a good idea.


  3. Great article! I would have to agree with Eric however. Getting creative and fun with the job description, absolutely, but getting creative with the title is risky. As Eric points out, people search on the basics.

  4. Thanks for the shout-out for Ongig Scott! We’re working hard to create an amazing candidate experience, while driving top candidates to your own page…not that of a third party. Appreciate you including us……JW

  5. Thank you, Scott. There lot of ways (free and for pay) that you CAN do it ((distribute your job postings). Has anybody done studies as to *what are the most effective ways TO do it?



    *Different from Gerry C’s significant and useful “Source of Hire Report”.

  6. Hanu software ( offers a manual job ad distribution service from offshore. It distributes to 4000 job boards globally in any. Country and ant language.

  7. I’d make two observations. Firstly, you tend to get what you pay for. The reason there is a cost attached to advertising is because way back when media owners realised that if they had an audience, they could charge people to put a message in front of that audience. And why shouldn’t they? Obviously over the past 20 years the continued growth of the web has driven the price down but whether it be a job, car, holiday (vacation), insurance, food, drink or clothes, why should it be free to get your message out there, not least for recruiters, who don’t mind taking a fat commission once they have found the right candidate?

    The second thing is quality of content. There has never been a time when a well written, creative piece of copy that sells the organisation and the job hasn’t been the norm. It’s just that again, with the increasing reliance on the web, coupled with the ease with which someone can get a job posting inline, many people have become lazy. They would far rather simply cut and paste a turgid job description (which should really be nothing more than an employers checklist of duties and the skills and experience required to do those duties) than take the time to actually think about what makes the company (or client) unique or different and the job attractive and then write about it in an interesting and informative way.

    You only have to take a quick trawl through pretty much any job board to see that laziness and cut and pasting has become something of the rule rather than the exception. As a result the web is littered with poorly written, grammatically inept ads that have all the allure of a dead sheep. It;s not rocket science, it;s just plain common sense. Think about what stimulates you to read and respond to any piece of advertising and then apply that thinking to your job copy. Humans are led by their emotions – reach out to those emotions.

  8. It is important to ask how job seekers are searching and if they will find unconventional job titles. I can tell you on our job board the ways people get/find/review jobs are first via Email Alert, and second, by category browsing. In both cases, the “Ambassador of First Impressions” title would work to the advertiser’s advantage because all the postings in the category will be displayed. As the author asks – which one will job seekers notice as being different/unique/creative?

    Now with a Google or similar search, matching the title to what the candidates are searching may be an issue. In that case could a hybrid title provide a best of both solution? i.e. Receptionist – Be our Ambassador of First Impressions

  9. @ Everyone: While we should work to have clear and interesting postings (again, that’s why I suggest getting the MarCom/PR/Corp Comm wordsmiths involved to achieve that). IMHO, most applicants don’t apply to a position because it’s clear and interesting to them, THEY APPLY BECAUSE THEY WANT A JOB.


  10. Interesting article, Scott, and some great ideas for getting creative, which we all need to do to keep bringing in those quality candidates. Attracting those particularly passive candidates can be a challenge, and I was surprised to not see any mention of Facebook as another option for job postings. I think attracting passive candidates can be done more easily on Facebook rather than on other channels, because people use Facebook daily and spend most of their time there. They even look for job referrals from friends. And, according to the New York Times, referred candidates are 40% more likely to be hired than blind applications. Facebook provides the perfect platform for automated job sharing with social connections, and it is easy for candidates to see how they’re connected to a company since they have so many friends and connections there. The ability to use Facebook profile information to intelligently and narrowly target ads is also something to consider. With the ability to target by gender, university, interests in “liked” brands and more, the ability to get to the right candidates is greatly enhanced. It’s definitely a good place to start when you’re looking to creatively distribute job postings! (Bill Boorman actually wrote a great post on our blog about Facebook ads and candidate targeting, if you’re interested:

  11. No one will ever convince me that the best candidates hang out on Facebook. Many probably don’t even have a Facebook account. As I always say, it’s about quality, not quantity. The fact that Facebook has a billion members is irrelevant. It’s about what those billion people’s socio demographic profile and their motivation for being on there, and by and large it’s for inane chat with friends and family. Yes, Facebook is A place to advertise, but there are so many more niche, and thus better, solutions. We have over complicated recruitment, made it more difficult for the candidate to know where to look next, when really it should be quite a simple process of knowing that, say I’m an Engineer, so the jobs for Engineers will either be on an engineering oriented job board, the engineering section of a media run careers site or possibly one of the generalist job boards. There really is no need for so many other avenues.

  12. I certainly agree with you, Alasdair, that there are many niche boards for candidates to use. Niche boards are a great resource–if you’re looking for active candidates who know they want a job in your niche. But what about passive candidates? Seasonal, temporary, specialized, etc. workers may not be using niche boards. And if you have a specific hiring initiative, the workers that you want may not know where to start looking–which means that you need a new way of connecting with them. There are also job seekers who have a handful of specialized skills that may not spend the time applying to multiple niche job boards. Facebook is great because ads help you target them and talent communities help you nurture them. The results from a survey of 2,500 active and passive job seekers by CareerBuilder shows that 81% want to see job opportunities posted to a Facebook career pages. And we know that 1 in every 7 minutes spent online is spent on Facebook (per a study by ComScore). They’re not investing the same amount of time on niche sites or even general job boards. Even if your candidate is using Facebook primarily for conversation with friends and family, that certainly doesn’t limit them from eventually clicking on an ad, liking your page, or applying for your job when the right, smartly targeted one, comes along. Besides, it seems that Facebook is getting traction in the recruiting world. 60.1% of recruiters feel they can better connect with potential candidates through the relationships they build in their Facebook talent communities, and 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands and companies through Facebook (according to a study by Nace).

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