General job boards: not dead, but dying

 In Press Releases

Corporate HR recruiters in South Africa looking for high quality candidates should move beyond general job boards, which have become costly, ineffective black holes for targeting anything other than non-specialist skills.

The big sales pitch of most job boards is its proprietary database of millions of candidates. Yet, this inflated number accounts for the total number of registered users, rather than active users in the last, let’s say, 30 – 90 days. In reality, the majority of registered candidates are no longer active job seekers and recruiters will only reach a fraction of the claimed number of candidates on the respective board.

Furthermore, active candidates registered on the databases of particularly general job boards cross a large number of job functions, working experience and geographical locations. This means that the number of job seekers actually relevant to a company’s specific vacancy requirements is significantly smaller.

Another problem being experienced by corporates is the large numbers of candidate applications received that do not meet the minimum criteria clearly stated on the job advert. This increases the time corporate recruiters spend managing candidate responses to jobs. Advertising on general job boards increases the volume of applications received, at the detriment of application quality.

The right sourcing strategy

General job boards are fine for high-churn, easy-to-find candidates who are actively looking for jobs like call centre staff, cashiers or office admin – provided companies have an applicant tracking system to deal with the CV avalanche.

If you’re looking for that new specialist developer, credit risk analyst or payroll manager with tax skills you’re not going to find them on a general board. The vast majority of talent with specialist skills at a professional level is already employed and not actively looking for jobs (also called passive candidates).

There are more cost effective ways of sourcing high quality candidates and searching much better quality databases.

Linkedin’s Recruiting tools provide access to its entire database of 150 million global professionals to find passive candidates. Jobs aggregator,, offers free job posting and search of the world’s fastest growing resume database. There are a growing number of niche job boards that pride themselves on small communities of active, specialist talent.

Quality over quantity

Success rides on the quality of CVs, not the volume. On job boards, all recruiters have access to the same CVs, which makes it very difficult to corner desired candidates. Companies need to start targeting a smaller number of right people, rather than spending large portions of their budgets on roulette with a general job board.

To find out where these candidates live online means tapping into social media skills or tech solutions that can automate the recruitment marketing process.

One option is speaking to candidates through job boards linked to massive content engines; For example, displaying an ad for a CRM manager alongside the daily retail news. Ads could also be extended to Pay-per-Click campaigns on Google, and LinkedIn; niche job boards and LinkedIn Premium; community groups like; and conducting search and profiling on Facebook and LinkedIn to create ads targeted at specific people.

Other companies use niche job boards to target specific communities like the, engaging expats looking to return home or, linked to the Alumni offices of South Africa’s top tertiary institutions. Using, one retailer pharmacy chain ensures a steady supply of chemists for their growing retail stores.

Crowdsourcing candidate referrals are another hugely disruptive new force. Whereas the old method of headhunting had no incentive, employees are now financially encouraged to recommend quality candidates. Companies only pay a reward on hire, which makes it a risk free strategy. In South Africa, homegrown solutions like Hiring Bounty occupy this space.

The ideal is to create targeted, engaged communities around the employer value proposition so that top talent considers your company first when they start looking. As local job boards don’t feature a social element, companies have to start the conversation and build relationships via their own corporate career sites, social networks like LinkedIn, and other tactical campaigns.

The writing’s on the wall

The job board glory days are over as boards are declining internationally due to disruptive technology. By 2018, job boards will exist in a very different form.

There is a lot of innovation currently taking place in this space and to compete with large aggregators and social networks, job boards will have to make their platforms more sophisticated, solving privacy issues and encouraging activity from passive job seekers.

Corporate recruiters in South Africa need to re-strategise when it comes to sourcing and look beyond general job boards. Committing large portions of their advertising budgets to individual boards and becoming completely dependent on this sourcing channel for the supply of talent to their business is tantamount to commercial suicide.

Finding top talent is not difficult when you have the right partners, helping you engage with the right types of talent, and using the new sourcing channels that are available today.

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