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The dangers (and benefits) of backfilling job listings

Once upon a time, if you visited a job board, you knew what you would get: whatever jobs the board had on that day. These were jobs that the board’s sales force had convinced employers to post, on that job board. If you clicked on a job, you went straight to that job posting. And if you applied for it, you did so through that particular job board.

Well, those days are long gone. Since the advent of job board aggregators such as Indeed and Simply Hired, it’s become so easy for a job board to ‘backfill’ their listings that almost everyone does it.


  • you immediately give the illusion of size and depth – just look at all of those postings!
  • you hide any shortcomings in your existing sales efforts
  • you keep job seekers happy (you hope!)
  • the job board aggregators make it so darned easy – and you can pick up some spending money via click-thrus tied to your site

But things aren’t always as simple as they seem. These are a few of the dangers I’ve seen in backfilling:

  • you create job seeker dissatisfaction – when jobseekers click on a job posting, they are suddenly transported to another job site (which may or may not have the job they’re looking for – it might just be another click on the way)
  • you advertise your site’s shortcomings – job seekers (and employers) aren’t dumb; they realize that if they see ‘Jobs by…’ logo in your search results, your site just doesn’t have its own listings
  • you give up traffic and job seekers – a certain percentage (often as high as 60-80%) of job seekers will leave your site and never come back. That can be a lot of traffic that you’ve fought hard to get – that you’ve just given away.

So what’s the answer? I don’t have one. Backfilling can make a lot of sense at a certain time – but it can also create problems.  Just like PPC and other temptations, use backfilling when you have to – and not a moment longer.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. I am guessing it’s OK when it is clear to the job hunter – that he is looking at the aggregator or a job board. Unexpected jumps from a site to the site… is what ruins the experience and is bad for everyone involved.

  2. I’m interested on your thoughts about the aggregators and job boards.

    With Indeed and Simply Hired signing up more and more Direct Hire companies as clients, scraping jobs from more and more corporate career sites and essentially competing with their job board clients for recruitment marketing dollars, do you view the aggregators as friend or foe for the job boards.

  3. Bob, I think Indeed and SimplyHired are more trouble for the big 3 boards than the niche boards. The aggregators rely on smaller boards to keep their search engines full, and they are well aware that they hurt themselves if they try to steal business from them. However, at some point that cost/benefit equation may change – and then the aggregators could turly be a threat. I think we’ll have plenty of advance warning, however.

  4. As founder/president of, a popular medical sales job board, I have taken an aggressive stand against the job aggregating boards. My site prides itself on provided a high percentage of unique jobs in medical sales, and I do not allow access for the aggregate sites. Thus, when an individual pays a registration fee to GorillaMed, he is able to access many medical sales job listings which will not be found elsewhere.

    After all, in this competitive job market, limiting the competition is the name-of-the-game!

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