Everyone seems to have a stance when it comes to the validity and usefulness of job boards. Once the reining champion of sourcing and recruiting, job boards are quickly losing steam. When Monster and CareerBuilder first stepped on the scene in 1994, they were the top dogs, and stock was through the roof. Last year, Monster went on the market when it had a market cap of $969 million and since then, shares have fallen by half.
Job boards were seen as this new, ultra convenient way to search for a job quickly. Before then it was the newspapers, door-to-door, and good old fashioned networking. Everyone flocked to these job boards and the industry boomed. But something went wrong; the technology didn’t really grow with the crowd. The big job boards have stayed seemingly stagnant or on the decline in comparison with the advances in social networking and recruiting. Furthermore, they never really surpassed the power of networking.
Recruiting site CareerXroads did a study that concluded that as little as about 18 percent of all hires are a result of job boards. Other studies in the same field would contend that 12 percent is high, and that the figure is in all actuality probably less than 10 percent. HR pro Paul Bernard says that he, “frequently cautions clients who are applying for a position online.” Bernard says that job boards “will give them no more than a 2 percent chance of getting an interview, let alone walking away with an offer.”
A main issue is the sheer number of applicants who come from these job ads. Job boards cast such a broad net that the screening process becomes a joke. With dozens or even hundreds of applicants, no wonder these large job boards are on the decline.
Internal movement, referrals, social recruiting, niche job boards ,and networking are all trumping these major job boards because of one simple thing — connection. Job boards, no doubt, have the market cornered when it comes to quantity, but candidates and hiring managers are finding out quickly that that isn’t what matters. In fact, that tends to inhibit the chances of a professional match. Quality is what matters. Cultural fit is what matters. Access to relevant connections is what matters.
Don’t get it wrong, job boards are not all together useless. Niche boards should not be thrown out with the bath water. Pulling away from the masses and finding niche boards that are relevant and targeted can make a world of difference for both recruiters and candidates. Where candidates are concerned, it’s obviously better to be one of a dozen than one of a hundred. And for recruiters, these niche boards provide fewer candidates, but of those fewer candidates there will be more relevant ones. Furthermore, using niche boards shows that the homework has been done, you’re an industry insider and you know what you’re looking for.
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Major job boards do a great job at providing a large pool of candidates. That’s great if you happen to be opening up a 500-employee plant, but that’s not what most of the candidates and recruiters are on them for. As the decade of big job boards has come and gone, we’re finding a renewed passion for connection. Soft skills and cultural fit aren’t assessed in a resume online (that happens to be amongst dozens of others), they are conveyed through interactions, dialogue, and personalized communications.