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Fri, Jan 21, 2011

Talent Acquisition

Job Boards Are Dead? Not So Fast, My Friend!

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How people find jobs and how jobs find people is certainly changing.  As with most everything online, social media has become the great disruptor.  It used to be that a recruiter could just post their ad in the newspaper and people would apply.

Then along came the job boards like Monster and others who moved the game online.  And just when it seemed that maybe we started getting our arms around how the job boards worked, social media crashed the party.  And we are still sorting out what has changed and what hasn’t.

Evidence of this chaos is all over the blogosphere this week.  Laurie Ruettimann, our resident cynic, has opened up a discussion on her blog around the question of whether job boards work for either job seekers or recruiters.  In addition, Eve Tahmincioglu, the Career Diva, also wrote a blog post this week for job seekers that advises them to stop the use of job boards and invest more time in LinkedIn.  Eve points to a Wall Street Journal article that details how some recruiters are scaling back their use of job boards as a part of their recruiting strategies.

It is all interesting discussion.  The use of job boards is certainly changing.  I have not doubt that many companies have scaled back their use of job boards, but I’m not sure that might be more related to few jobs to recruit for and tighter budgets than it is about effectiveness.  So, I’m not sure that it’s quite time to pull the plug on job boards in your search process whether you are looking for a new hire or for a job.

Job boards work, but they aren’t a silver bullet.  There is no one silver bullet.  Recruiting on job boards is no different than recruiting anywhere else.  Without a well-executed strategy for how and why you are using that job board, you will likely fail.  The same is true for LinkedIn or picking up the phone can making cold calls.

Here are some things to consider about your recruitment approach before you decide to abandon or rethink job boards:

  • Know where your hires are coming from.  If you aren’t keeping good metrics on how you find the people you hire, then you can’t possibly make informed decisions about where you post your jobs or how you go about recruiting in general.
  • Know your target and advertise where they are looking for you.  Some types of people still look in the newspaper for jobs.  If you want to hire those people, you should probably advertise there.  Other types of people live in social media.  As a recruiter, you have to understand where your target audience might be looking and put your ad in front of them there.  And you likely have lots of different types of people who you try to recruit, so that means you will need as many different approaches.
  • Learn to write great advertisements.  If you are posting job descriptions on job boards, don’t blame the job board when it doesn’t produce what you are looking for.  A well-designed job posting is compelling in that captures the attention and interest of those who you are interested in hiring.  This is a skill and an art form that needs to be developed.  Great advertising helps the right people opt in and the wrong people to opt out.  If your postings are working, why not focus on some design first before you throw out the whole approach.  It could be your execution that is lacking.
  • A good recruitment strategy involves blending a variety of approaches (job boards, social media, employee referral, etc.).  But, until you measure and track what works for you and you invest in knowing your audience and writing effective postings, you are just playing a guessing game.  It is this guessing game that ultimately creates the frustrations that lead to the discussions in the blogosphere this week.

If you are a job seeker, I think it’s dangerous to put your eggs in any one basket.  To suggest, as Eve does in her post, that you should stop job boards and start doing LinkedIn isn’t the whole story.  You must do both.  And even more importantly, you need to spend time networking and reaching out to your friends and acquaintances to ask for referrals and leads.

Just as a recruiter must have a recruiting strategy that uses many different mediums to attract job seekers, so too does the job seeker need to use many mediums to find a next great job.  But, understand that the job search process is going to be filled with frustrations.

You may have to apply for a lot of jobs and reach out to a lot of people in order to find the right job.  Not everyone is going to get back to you and it’s likely that some recruiters will mistreat you along the way.  Don’t let poor behavior stop you from finding a great job.  Hang in there because it only takes one good response and one good interview to result in your next great job.

About the Author

Jason Lauritsen serves as “the corporate guy” in his current role of Vice President of Human Resources, Union Bank and Trust and is a speaker and writer for TalentAnarchy. Jason’s early career was a rapid progression of sales and management roles including launching, leading and ultimately selling a small business in his mid-twenties. He’s a leader, sales guy, entrepreneur and corporate executive–all rolled up in one.

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  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/roberta-fallen-as-ba/22/baa/73b Bobbi Fallen

    Very insightful from both sides of the ‘recruiting table’!! Thanks.

  • http://ubuntuhelp.org Alec Mansker

    I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays..

  • https://www.optimalresume.com/libraries.html Ed Potter

    “Job boards work, but they aren’t a silver bullet. There is no one silver bullet. Recruiting on job boards is no different than recruiting anywhere else. Without a well-executed strategy for how and why you are using that job board, you will likely fail. The same is true for LinkedIn or picking up the phone can making cold calls.”

    I couldn’t agree more. It would be foolish to completely ignore either online job boards or social media, and that goes for the individual job seeker or recruiter alike.

  • Louise Goodman

    I kind of agree, I know from 4 years + of end-to-end tracking that job postings supply the most applications but the lowest conversion through to hire. I think the reason for this is two-fold:
    1) a lot of companies still post and pray, some recruiters don’t think about whether the job board is the right place for the role they just want to get something out there.
    2) job postings attract only the most active of job seekers.

    Companies do need a strategy for using job boards however that is often at odds with the last minute nature of recruiting. Until companies implement a CRM program that allows them to attract and engage top talent we won’t know the true ROI of any channel.

    However, I do think that used properly, LinkedIn can be a formidable recruiting tool and one that should make job boards nervous

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