Free Sites Grow, But Monster, CareerBuilder Most Popular

eQuestJob posting distributor eQuest says CareerBuilder and Monster are still the most requested sites for advertising openings, though Craisglist and the free job boards were among the fastest-growing posting destinations.

The company’s customers got more than 15 million responses from ads placed on free job boards and with the job aggregators in 2009. Google Base was the most requested free board among eQuest’s 20,000 clients. That makes sense since the help-wanted listings are integrated now with standard Google search results.

The data points are contained in a press release issued by the company this week.

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Craigslist was the fastest-growing destination for eQuest customer job postings, tripling the volume of 2008. The most popular city destinations were the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Seattle, Orlando, and Phoenix. All but Orlando charge to post jobs.

CareerBuilder and Monster, however, still hold the lead by a mile over other posting sites, says eQuest. A majority of clients want their jobs posted at one or even both sites. And no wonder. eQuest says “in a sampling of 400,000 unique jobs posted to each board between June 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009, both Monster and CareerBuilder garnered staggering traffic numbers, totaling almost 200 million viewers in just six months — well above the traffic stats of any other online job source.”

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


19 Comments on “Free Sites Grow, But Monster, CareerBuilder Most Popular

  1. IMHO – there are simply too many job boards. How is a job seeker to choose, and how could they possibly search them all?

    Indeed and Simplyhired don’t actually solve this issue – they actually exacerbate it.

    I am not surprised that Monster and Careerbuilder get the most traffic.

  2. Hi Glen,

    I agree, there are too many for job seekers to search and too many for us recruiters to post on. But, how do Simply Hired and Indeed complicate things? We currently use the “big” boards, almost exclusively, but are looking into more social media sites. Where do you post?

    Thank you,
    Sara Reno
    Corporate Recruiter, RGIS, LLC

  3. Glen – I completely agree. There are too many old-fashioned job boards and with them, too many job posts. This does make it difficult for job-seekers to locate the precise opportunities that they are hoping to be considered for. The company that I work for offers a solution to this issue. OneWire ( is a job matching site. Candidates are matched to relevant opportunities for which they are qualified based on highly detailed profiles that both candidates and firms create. So, instead of searching through job posts and sending out resumes, candidates need only to create their profiles and evaluate opportunities as they are matched to them. In my opinion, this can be a huge time-saver for job-seekers and can eliminate some of the confusion that usually comes with searching through too many job posts.

  4. They garner lots of traffic and views, but are those the right eyeballs? The real rubber meets the road is in the quality and results of responding candidates. But that’s a different topic!

    As a basic strategy the broad posting of jobs is becoming irrelevant. A single “major site” and targeted free/niche sites are a fine basic strategy. I disagree with Glen’s comment that aggregate sites exacerbate the complexity of the job board space. Aggregators will continue to play a key part in the job search equation and can provide a more comprehensive picture of the market. Aside from that… Aggregators make for EXCELLENT competitive intelligence gathering!

    In terms of there being too many sites, that’s possible, but I believe that segmented job sites by industry and region are not a bad thing. Especially for job seekers. If you think there are too many sites, then check out the various job board directories (AIRS, weddells, internetinc’s top 100). I also suggest you cross compare at alexa to see how many links go into the site, overall traffic, and trending.

    Sara – Our org uses a single job board for posting along with several other niche, industry, and free sites as appropriate for the recruiting engagement. A well managed single major job board presence + some free/niche as needed will typically ‘get the word out’ Combine the postings with regular social media outreach and you are getting ahead of the curve.

  5. Consider this: Currently, more than 124 million job-related searches are conducted per month on the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing). It occurs to me that a sound SEO strategy that elevates your company’s search engine ranking will soon replace the need for employers to pay, and candidates to visit, job boards at all. The entire web 2.0 movement is about eliminating “middle-men” and getting directly to the source. Controlling ones own experience. This month 124 Million will be looking for you. Will you be there? Or will they have no choice but to click on the Monster/CB/Indeed/SimplyHired/et al links that currently dominate the top Google search results, only to have to conduct a second search when they get to the middle-man?

  6. This is great data John, thanks for sharing. It is amazing to me that paid postings are still so prevalent given all the free sites. Is it an awareness issue? A comfort issue? Or is there something truly better about Monster and CareerBuilder? Can’t just be their funny ads right?

  7. I agree that there are too many boards as well. Most applicants don’t know the niche boards to go to, and since putting your resume on a job board is free, why wouldn’t they post on Monster or CareerBuilder? They are the best known and advertised. And since that is where the resumes are, that is where recruiters look first. I think the aggregate boards are helping though, especially in pointing job seekers to new places to go.

    The smaller job boards also seem to lack the automation that the really large corporations prefer. Its a big plus for companies when they can link their requisition systems directly to Monster and post jobs automatically.

  8. In response to Alan’s question about why the major board are so popular:

    That’s where the fish are. Or, in this case, the job seekers. The three national job boards have a significant share of the total job search market. One reason is branding and traffic acquisition. When you see a major traffic source like AOL with a career channel that is “in partnership with CareerBuilder” or some other job board, you can bet the job board paid plenty to be there. In 2003, CareerBuilder agreed to pay up to $115 million to AOL for four years.

    The branding power of those Super Bowl commercials and other advertising makes Monster and CareerBuilder top of mind for job seekers. Indeed and SimplyHired have done a great job with a limited budget, but much of their traffic comes via their voluntary publisher networks.

    Finally, as a job seeker, even active seekers weary of filling in uploading a resume and cleaning it up on site after site. Since resumes have an asset value to the publisher, there’s no good reason to want to standardize the process so a job seeker can post the same resume to multiple locations at once.

  9. I would have to agree with Eric on this. Web 2.0 Recruiting is the wave of the future. The job boards may still be the leading sources for candidates, but their roles will diminish greatly in the next 2-3 years. It will be all about reaching candidates where they want to be reached – through broad job distribution to free and fee sources like social networks, blogs, job aggregators, adwords, etc. Through Web 2.0 strategies, companies will build private talent communities of passive and active job seekers – and won’t be dependant on job boards anymore. The job seekers will dicate where companies must go to interact with them – not the job boards.

  10. Understanding what the job boards capabilities are now is a must. Many of the things talked about are being done. They have partnerships with Social Media, can build talent communities, have job seeker intelligence, build SEO strategies, have outsourcing services, Creative services and so forth. To think that they are not evolving and continued thinking that it is what it was 7 years ago is a mistake. The move is to target the candidates not by just posting a job but with other means of media is the direction it is going. Who else has access to more candidates in one talent pool then the big boards. The top 3 boards have over 50million job seekers – or half the labor force any givin month. They changes the behavior of job seekers over the past 12 years. Job seekers are not going to change behavior due to wanting to recruit for free.

  11. Jim,
    Thanks for the thoughtful comments in support of job boards. You ask: “Who else has access to more candidates in one talent pool then the big boards(?)” The figure I quoted above suggests that the 3 major search engines do (124M job-related searches per month vs. the 50M/month you credit to the 3 major job boards). Fact is, the planet is the talent pool, and today’s market is not on board with having their destiny controlled, and being considered a member of someone’s or some entity’s “talent pool”. They will join communities or launch their own. They will search for jobs the way they please. They will network with those they trust. They want to interact directly with the hiring organization, and not be limited by the platform of the experience-controlling middlemen (job boards). The job boards changed the behavior of job seekers during web 1.0, when the internet was finding its way, and choice was scarce. The market now paves its own road, and it’s up to us to be present and accounted for wherever they roam. Job seeker behaivior is absolutely changing. It’s not about recruiters avoiding the costs of job boards, because SEO/SEM don’t always come cheap either.

    All of this doesn’t mean that job boards are irrelevant today, but the question must be asked: If a job seeker conducts a search on Google, are they more inclined to click the link that will take them directly to a hiring company’s career page that matched their search, or one of the myriad third-party vendors that currently dominate the search engine rankings? Because that choice is being presented to a job seeker 124 million times each month, and counting.

  12. Eric, I understand the point of searches on Google but searches are not unique visitors. From a search perspective there is over 200 million searches each month conducted on Careerbuilder and over 150 million on Monster. It is not necessisarly the search numbers but where people decide to engage in consuming career content and how they want to engage it. Not to mention the services provided back to job seekers to make it easier to apply. According to this logic that google is the end all would mean that Amazon, Ebay, Expedia, and the such would also be dying businesses. The amount of content on the boards and all the SEO performance which is needed can not be achieved against huge hubs like the job boards. As for SEM you pay for a price per click between say $2 – $25 depending on the job and location. If recruiters looked at the clicks to there jobs or even the apply numbers on a posting it would far out way the cost of scale a job posting investment.

    As such, in my previouse Post… the boards have evolved with many other services that can leverage the power they have online and connections. It would be great if google opened up the intelligence of their traffic to recruiters but they have not and if they did Google is not capturing the same detailed informtion on the behaviors, perceptions or values they look for in an employer. Google is not surveying job seekers for this information and packaging it to provide value to employers. They dont have to…

    I do agree the the smart job seekers would have a network and use people they know first. And what they tend to do is consume the content online then find out who they know to get them in the company they saw.

    Most importantly though
    -125 million searches on Google (and i think this is a little low)
    – Over 350 Million Searches per month on Careerbuilder and Monster

  13. Jim,
    Good points, good discussion!

    I don’t want to portray the major search engines (I use Google to represent them all) as the end all, be all. I’m a marketer and know better. Marketing employment opps requires a well-rounded approach as does any marketing initiative, and no two audiences or marketing efforts are alike. Job boards, SEO, social media, and even print, if the shoe fits, are merely components of the marketing mix. The problem I see with reliance on job boards – especially if a recruiter were to favor and rely on one or two in particular – is that there are so many and they are so fractionailzed, to the point that you can’t be sure if you are reaching the lion’s share of your target audience.

    I might be proven wrong, but based on what I’ve been seeing in SEO capabilities I believe that a smart SEO solution deployed on behalf of an employer can and will compete for top-ten rankings soon, if it’s not already happening. And given the fact that many employers on the big boards require you to apply on their career page so that the candidate’s information makes its way into their ATS, that makes my final question in my last post even more urgent. In this scenario, a candidate might conduct a search on Google, click a link to monster, conduct a search there, find an employer they’re interested in, get redirected to the company’s career page, and finally apply for the job. I just don’t think today’s internet user will put up with such a circuitous route. Job seekers are no different than the market at large. In fact, they are the market at large. And the market at large is telling us they want a relationship with the brand. The way things are headed, they’d prefer to interact with company X’s brand, not monster’s brand. If, on the job boards, the fishin’s fine, then continue to drop a line. I just continue to ponder what the future of the job search will become, given the major behavioral shifts taking place.

  14. I agree, good discussion so far.

    I think that the bulk of the postings on job boards are there for compliance, convenience and commonality. Compliance posters are doing it because they have to and the big boards are the place you do that. Convenience posters are those who have the budgets and volume to get scraped and wrapped onto the sites providing lots of fresh content. The commonality posters are the remainder hr depts and companies who post there because everyone else is doing it and that’s about all they know about recruiting.

    With recruiters and marketers who practice their crafts with diligence, the job boards are part of the overall mix that Eric mentions. I think that you can, with effective study (mentioned in earlier comment) pick the right 2-3 resources for your goal. Surprisingly, they may not be “big 3.” It does take a little bit of time and research, but not a whole lot. And if you want to limit your $ and spend wisely, then i believe it is time well spent.

    I agree with you Eric, candidates, especially the early adopters who have gone mobile, will not use or end up on the job boards. They might see the twitter feed from HotJobs for Albany Accounting for Company A, but they will probably end up at Company A pretty quick. There is a shift happening. USA is very behind our neighbors across the pond. 42mb mobile networks are going live soon, we are still in the ‘dial up’ level of mobile access compared to what happens in other countries. I hope we will catch up pretty soon. But that catch up requires a major shift in how companies approach the mobile space and the tech behind it, as a whole they haven’t. Who do you think have the best mobile recruiting programs currently?

  15. Eric, I do appreciate the professional dialogue we are having! I agree that the strategies of just posting on the big board’s is not the only strategy. I think that when people say big board’s it is referenced to just postings by a lot of the chatter online. The point that I am trying to make is the big boards are evolving and can do everything that is mentioned by all others except RPO… Last year Google had a press release that they were putting more focus on the brand for relevancy. We saw a significant increase to our SEO. We launched SEO outside of the core Job Board. Example- search “Aon jobs”. 1st result is usually our SEO site. The reason is leverages our brand and our relevancy strength. As to the application process – there are integration solutions that streamline the process. and in most cases the total clicks to apply is reduced. Count the clicks to apply thru a board versus the clicks to apply by searching a company, run the search on their site, click the job you want, and apply. It is truly where they live, work and play online and a model of 1600 partner sites and 60k avenues to the disseminated postings give the largest reach for lowest cost. First Adaptors to SEO will benefit. The big boards are also focused on increasing this. The reason Indeed is performing so well is due to the number they have with indexing on search engines. Plus the aggregators largest clients are the boards.

    Nik- Europe is behind in recruiting. Most Global orgs. i have worked with their highest cost to recruiting is not in the US. We are in 19 countries and the mentality of job seekers is anchored around using contingent recruiting. At a staggering 85%! There is a push to move to mobile as everyone has mobile these days. CB has mobile apps. The coolest feature about this is that it works also off of GPS. You asked who is using mobile good, I think that a good company that uses Text is Schneider national.

    Thanks and truly enjoy the discussion! Pete and Nik..

  16. While it may be the case that job boards have been evolving; the apparent fact is that it has not been evolving at the speed of the world. Most job boards are still in business thanks to the job seekers who are only aware of the conventional recruiting practices. Job boards will soon be obsolete and will be replaced by various other online tools. While monster and careerbuilder may have been the most visited sites, thanks to their heavy branding activity; simply hired and carigslist lends its own convenience that the former cannot offer!

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