Recruitment on job-boards – graylink featured in HR Future, October 2009

 In Press Releases

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The traditional job board business model is outdated, making it unable to compete with the innovation and cost savings of search engines and social media. Employers that are exclusively focusing on job boards for recruitment will come up short in the war for talent as generalised job boards are losing their effectiveness.

Traditional job boards are nothing more than digital versions of the old careers sections in newspapers, providing an online view of the printed recruitment classifieds. Built on an outdated business model that charges a fortune for the widest reach possible when, in reality, employers need highly targeted campaigns that can be executed at the best price, the days of the old job board model are numbered.

Compared with the low cost of delivering job alerts via Google Adwords or social networking sites such as Facebook ( , Linkedin ( and Twitter ( job boards cost thousands of Rands per month. Additionally, the segmentation and targeting capabilities of Web 2.0 platforms enable employers to attract the cream of the crop while general job boards yield large amounts of hit-and-miss CVs from general skills candidates.

Job boards offer employers little competitive advantage as everyone posts their jobs to the same audience, and accesses the same bank of CVs. This makes the signal-to-noise ratio very poor in terms of the amount of money employers have to spend to stand out and get noticed over their competitors. The ability for recruitment agencies to also post jobs and trawl this candidate pool leads to even more overexposure with different agencies recommending the same candidates for interviews to the same companies.

Furthermore, job boards are focused on active job seekers, which typically have non-scarce skills in plentiful supply (a bit like fishing for sardines). Candidates with scarce skills that are hard to find are normally happily employed, passive job seekers. Companies that need to attract these hard-to-find skills (a bit more like fishing for marlin) need to extend their recruitment strategies beyond job boards ­ or face losing out on a large portion of top talent.

In their quest to add extra features that will raise the value to employers, many job boards have introduced recruitment automation tools. But, these offerings are typically standard applications that cannot be configured to the specific needs of a company, making the tools it provides less effective. A better option for companies is to put their own recruitment automation strategies in place, configured to their own requirements.

Niche job portals are a bit more effective as they are able to engage with specific candidates and target job seekers that cannot be reached through general job boards, but it still leaves employers with the mass of sardines in the sector.

The solution for employers is to look at internal job boards or career sites, building up their own private pool of candidates. While these work much the same as an external job board, career sites provide employers with a greater competitive advantage as only the company itself can access the information. It can be very successful if it’s marketed effectively. This requires every job notice placed on other websites or external platforms to have a call-to-action, redirecting candidates to the company’s own career site where they then have the opportunity to register their details.

Advertising on job board aggregators such as CareerJet ( can also work well as these provide job seekers with a consolidated view of all the jobs from one sector.

Employers have been sold on the concept that job boards will get them candidates quicker and cheaper. This is no longer true. Employers need to re-evaluate the role of job boards in their recruitment strategies, incorporating them in the online recruitment marketing mix, rather than keeping it a standalone strategy. They also need to develop an understanding of how search engines and social media platforms can complement this process, or get left behind as their competitors snap up all the good people.

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Mark Gray is the head of Graylink (
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