Job Boards Still a Leading Way to Fill Vacancies

Source of Employment surveyAs more than one survey has pointed out, job boards are far from dead.

The latest survey, from the International Association of Employment Web Sites, shows applying to a job posted on a commercial site is still the leading way some job seekers find work. Compared to the percentage who found work that way in the 2006 survey, the numbers have declined substantially.

As the accompanying chart shows, jobseekers who found work via a job board have fallen almost 23 percent in 10 years. That may not so much be a sign of their declining importance, as evidence of the rise of other search tools and techniques. Referrals, which didn’t make it into the top five in 2006, now account for almost 13 percent of the placements. Attribute that to the emphasis companies have placed on promoting referrals and such tools as Jobvite, which make the process so much more efficient.

Company websites, too, have dramatically improved in quality, becoming a destination for job seekers. Also not among the top five sources in 2006, company career sites are today how 10 percent of the survey’s responding jobseekers found their last job.

One curious result is the 7.3 percent of jobseekers who reported being contacted by a recruiter who found them by searching job board resume databases. With all the buzz surrounding social and business networking, posting a resume on a Monster, CareerBuilder, or niche job board is still effective. Much more effective, in fact, than expecting to be contacted by a recruiter sourcing candidates via social media. Not even one percent of the seekers in this survey said they found their job through a recruiter “who saw my resume/profile on a social media site.”

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While some of the results of this survey echo other surveys, including the annual Source of Hire survey compiled by the recruitment consultancy CareerXroads and another from HR software vendor Silkroad, it would be a mistake to read too much into the results. Like most source of hire surveys, the sample size and collection methods make drawing conclusions more art than science.

What can be said is what report author Peter Weddle notes in the conclusion: the “responses strongly refute the conventional wisdom, at least as it has been espoused by some in the recruiting field, that ‘job boards are dead or dying or dinosaurs.’”

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. 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.

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21 Comments on “Job Boards Still a Leading Way to Fill Vacancies

  1. These surveys are interesting, the collection of the data seems problematic though. It’s hard to know how or even the sources are tracked correctly. Broadly speaking, when you ad up all the internet sources, including resumes found on job boards, it looks like there’s been little to no change except maybe some other avenues being added. My guess is there are more than a few reasons for this. But the more important point is this is actual data, and it belies all the BS in our field about innovation. The reality is we’re still finding people with largely the same means and tools.

    1. Whenever these conversations come up, I like to remind everyone of Silkroad’s annual report that’s based on data taken directly from their ATS – not surveys. http://hr1.silkroad.com/sm-top-sources-of-hire It should get more coverage than it does, and it should be referenced in all of these conversations. Why haven’t more ATSes published this stuff?

  2. These surveys are interesting, the collection of the data seems problematic though. It’s hard to know how or even the sources are tracked correctly. Broadly speaking, when you ad up all the internet sources, including resumes found on job boards, it looks like there’s been little to no change except maybe some other avenues being added. My guess is there are more than a few reasons for this. But the more important point is this is actual data, and it belies all the BS in our field about innovation. The reality is we’re still finding people with largely the same means and tools.

  3. I’m assuming a majority of the candidates that applied on the company website actually saw the job posting on a job board in the first place.

  4. I’m assuming a majority of the candidates that applied on the company website actually saw the job posting on a job board in the first place.

  5. Because the survey was done by the International Association of Employment Web Sites, I would not give it much credence. That’s like reading a study from the National Association of Tobacco dealers showing the health benefits of cigarettes and deciding to smoke because of it.

    1. The source is an issue, but as pointed out in the article these numbers agree broadly with stats from other sources. Which basically means all the BS about innovative sourcing techniques is just that, BS. Companies are still getting people largely the same way through largely the same sources

  6. Because the survey was done by the International Association of Employment Web Sites, I would not give it much credence. That’s like reading a study from the National Association of Tobacco dealers showing the health benefits of cigarettes and deciding to smoke because of it.

    1. The source is an issue, but as pointed out in the article these numbers agree broadly with stats from other sources. Which basically means all the BS about innovative sourcing techniques is just that, BS. Companies are still getting people largely the same way through largely the same sources

  7. Sorry but I have been in the recruiting technology space since helping get Monster off the ground back in 1997. Even back then classified ads in the newspaper still made up a majority of the overall volume of hires but the trend was clear that classified ads were on the way out. I know for a fact that job postings are quickly losing their effectiveness as they only reach a very small percentage of in demand candidates. Sourcing technology platforms like ours at http://www.1-page.com that have over 1.3 BILLION….yes billion with a “B” are where candidate identification and engagement will take place moving forward. Yes, job boards are cool like classified ads…..but they are in fact on the way down and out.

    1. That’s assuming that companies know what ‘in demand’ candidates are, and assuming new tools can connect with those candidates, that they can then recruit, hire, and retain them. If candidates truly are in demand, then they will be able to command higher salaries and better treatment, which are the two things most companies, in the US at least, are steadfastly refusing to offer anyone.

      1. Certainly recruiters in Boston who are tasked with recruiting Software Engineers know very well that that skillset is very much in demand and nearly impossible to find. If I had a recruiter who didn’t know the labor market for a specific skill I would be shocked. Can Google connect with information on the internet? Again, 1-Page has over 1.3 Billion candidates profiled and each company has their own private cloud based upon who their employees are connected to in various ways. Think of big data aggregation and then have it all focused on candidates and identifying who they know at your specific company. I have seen it work real world on our platform and it is very powerful. Pay scale is defined by many things chief among them your skillest, years of experience and certainly the scarcity of people like you. If there are 100,000 people I could hire tomorrow to turn a screw why would I value that role by paying the person $90 per hour when any of the other 99,999 would happily take the job for $12 per hour. Scarcity and demand for a resource drives price and pay up.

        1. “If I had a recruiter who didn’t know the labor market for a specific skill I would be shocked.”

          You shouldn’t be. Agencies have massive turnover, corporate recruiters are often an after thought, throw away kind of role filled with someone right out of school. You’re right in that this information is not hard to come by, but it’s the mentality of most employers that gets in the way, because they simply don’t think they have to bother to look for it first. They have their budget and that will dictate all, and if that means they need a senior java programmer at 40K, so be it.

  8. Sorry but I have been in the recruiting technology space since helping get Monster off the ground back in 1997. Even back then classified ads in the newspaper still made up a majority of the overall volume of hires but the trend was clear that classified ads were on the way out. I know for a fact that job postings are quickly losing their effectiveness as they only reach a very small percentage of in demand candidates. Sourcing technology platforms like ours at http://www.1-page.com that have over 1.3 BILLION….yes billion with a “B” are where candidate identification and engagement will take place moving forward. Yes, job boards are cool like classified ads…..but they are in fact on the way down and out.

    1. That’s assuming that companies know what ‘in demand’ candidates are, and assuming new tools can connect with those candidates, that they can then recruit, hire, and retain them. If candidates truly are in demand, then they will be able to command higher salaries and better treatment, which are the two things most companies, in the US at least, are steadfastly refusing to offer anyone.

      1. Certainly recruiters in Boston who are tasked with recruiting Software Engineers know very well that that skillset is very much in demand and nearly impossible to find. If I had a recruiter who didn’t know the labor market for a specific skill I would be shocked. Can Google connect with information on the internet? Again, 1-Page has over 1.3 Billion candidates profiled and each company has their own private cloud based upon who their employees are connected to in various ways. Think of big data aggregation and then have it all focused on candidates and identifying who they know at your specific company. I have seen it work real world on our platform and it is very powerful. Pay scale is defined by many things chief among them your skillest, years of experience and certainly the scarcity of people like you. If there are 100,000 people I could hire tomorrow to turn a screw why would I value that role by paying the person $90 per hour when any of the other 99,999 would happily take the job for $12 per hour. Scarcity and demand for a resource drives price and pay up.

        1. “If I had a recruiter who didn’t know the labor market for a specific skill I would be shocked.”

          You shouldn’t be. Agencies have massive turnover, corporate recruiters are often an after thought, throw away kind of role filled with someone right out of school. You’re right in that this information is not hard to come by, but it’s the mentality of most employers that gets in the way, because they simply don’t think they have to bother to look for it first. They have their budget and that will dictate all, and if that means they need a senior java programmer at 40K, so be it.

  9. 33.9% is “all other” and higher than job board responses. I presume this includes social recruiting?

  10. While use of social media in job searching continues to grow, there is no reason social media and job boards cannot work side-by-side. While many industries are more-suited for one or the other, you may be doing yourself a disservice by not considering both. For lower-level positions, paying a recruiter is often not worth the investment. You’re smart, you should be able to adequately read through resumes! In addition, many job boards have an algorithm or the ability to sift through a certain level of information for you. Time is money, and they often make the process much more efficient.

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