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What no job board wants to talk about…

As you might guess, I’m a great believer in the fundamentals of job boards. I’ve seen the emails from happy job seekers and employers extolling the many ways job boards can save users time and money. In essence, for many people, job boards work.

But…there are things that job boards often shy away from – topics they don’t want to touch.  Why? Because sometimes job boards don’t work. Perhaps there were unrealistic expectations. Perhaps there was just a mess.

Be that as it may, I think talking about such issues is better than hiding from them. So here goes:

  1. “I didn’t get a job on your job board.” This might be the #1 complaint of job seekers – and honestly, who can blame them? Part of a job board’s core value proposition is that it can make finding a job easier. The catch is that there are no guarantees. There are thousands of jobs and thousands of job seekers – but that doesn’t mean the job board will connect them correctly every time. A good way to address this from the job board side of the fence is to be frank: tell the job seeker that the site is a tool, not a guarantee. It makes job hunting easier – but it doesn’t guarantee a job.
  2. “I didn’t get the right candidate on your site.” Possibly the #1 employer complaint (well, after “you’re too expensive”). Again, what is the job board? A tool. And don’t forget – maybe the job ad was poorly written. Maybe the job itself was not that great. However…the job board does have some control over the likelihood of employer success. The site can attempt to lure and qualify the right types of job seekers. It can give the employer additional tools to increase the odds (for example, attaching ‘screening questions’ to a job application form).  The job board should be doing everything in its power to ‘pre-qualify’ job seekers before they ever see the employer’s job.
  3. “Too many job postings are (duplicates, fakes, MLM, etc)”: Look at your job board. Do you in fact have duplicate or questionable postings? Yes? Then do something about it. If you’re not sure how, talk to another (non-competitive) job board that doesn’t have these types of postings. This is a controllable problem (I didn’t say easy!).

The easiest way to preempt these issues (and many others)? Simply spend some time on your site as a job seeker – someone who is skilled, moderately comfortable with the internet, but not particularly familiar with your site. Is your job board easy to use? Be honest.

Do the same exercise as an employer who is in a hurry to hire the right person for a particular position. What tools do you provide to solve the employer’s problem? How easy are they to use? How do they fit into the rest of the employer’s recruiting strategies?

(And if you can’t shake your pre-existing knowledge of your job site, find someone who can give you an objective 3rd party view of what works and what doesn’t. )

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. This was very informative, not only on a seeker’s point of view, but to hear what you have to say about what job board sites should do to help out the seeker.
    It is unfortunate that the majority of the job boards say they can offer better chances of getting a job IF the seeker pays up. There are way too many misleading marketing schemes out there that I feel are hurting job boards in general.
    I agree that job boards should be more in-tune with the seeker experience and not so much how much money they can make with before said misleading marketing.
    Duplicate job listings are abundant and it’s very discouraging for a seeker to go to more than 1 job board and see the same job posted. Sometimes the job has been (supposedly) posted “in the last 5 hours” and then another job board will say that it was posted on another date entirely.
    I think job seekers are tired of going to one job board and be directed to another where they have to fill out all of their information and then find out that the job is either expired, or not a good candidate. Now the job board has a seeker’s resume as well as other information to which they use to send (many many) emails encouraging the seeker into buying a product or upgrade mean to entice them to get a better chance at getting a job.
    I can’t remember how many job boards you said are out there, but to seekers every job board is an opportunity. It is too bad that seekers seem to be the ones the joke is on. I realize job boards have to make their money, too, but somehow there has got to be a better way. Hopefully some will read and apply your suggestion on what is the best seeker experience and how usable the product is.
    Thanks for your blog post.

  2. So true on all counts! How do we (job board owners) educate employers on how to write a good job posting? What are some good resources I can point my employers to?

  3. Kelley,

    Here are a few resources geared more toward HR managers and recruiters who hire technology professionals, but these tips can easily be applied to any job description. and More resource materials like this for employers and recruiters at Good luck with it!

    Good points Jeff. We often hear these same things and continually offer advice to customers regarding the best way to write winning job descriptions. Having a checklist like this one from Dice handy ensures nothing is overlooked.

  4. Like many people at the senior end of the market, my colleagues and I were so unimpressed with the lacklustre and generic offerings from traditional job boards and career firms that we have recently launched a new breed of exec-level careers resource that also happens to feature a job board of its own – (we do also provide links to the many other sources of career development opportunities, reviews of services, exclusive publications and so on). It’s free for search firms or corporate recruiters to post exec level roles but we do require them to pre-register and observe certain quality control standards not least that the jobs must be real and present a genuine opportunity to high calibre candidates. We’ve had great feedback from our network so far and we hope that this will continue as we build a career resource that actually meets the needs of candidates, search professionals and employers alike.

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