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“Job boards are broken”: thus saith TheLadders

job boards are brokenMy favorite weather site is WeatherUnderground. For some obscure, probably cookie-driven reason, I tend to see a lot of HR-related ads there. A few SHRM and iCIMS ads, for example.

The other day I noticed a corporate blue banner that said “Job Boards Are Broken”. It led to TheLadders.

This had me scratching my head, because: a) TheLadders is a job board. Really.; and b) I didn’t realize job boards were broken.

Well, marketing hyperbole aside, it got me thinking. How might a job board be ‘broken’? 

  • the job board failed to deliver on its promise (i.e., a certain number of candidates or job applies)
  • the job board’s results were out of line with its pricing
  • the job board failed to deliver results as quickly as the customer wished

I’m sure there are some other ways a job board could be broken, but these came to mind first. What do these really boil down to? Results, on time, at a competitive price. Sounds pretty simple, eh? But you know it isn’t. Any recruiter or HR pro who has tried to locate multiple qualified candidates for a sheaf of jobs knows just how hard it can be.

So, ask yourself: Was the ad right when it said, ‘Job boards are broken’? Is your job board broken? How do you know? 

Well, you have to start somewhere, and I will suggest starting with the customer. What are his or her expectations? How many candidates or applies or whatever do they expect? How quickly? At what price? You have to take the answers with a grain of salt – but if you ask them consistently, across enough customers, patterns will begin to emerge. You may, for instance, discover that 80% of your customers expect at least 30 applies per job, that they’re willing to pay $199 a post to get them, and that they want the applies within 7 days.

I didn’t say you would necessarily like the data.

But think about it: if your job board could routinely deliver the results that 80% of your customers want – consistently – do you think you’d have to worry about them thinking that your site was ‘broken’? Probably not. And if you marketed the fact that you could deliver those results – well, you might have more customers. More referrals. More revenue.

I’m not going to get into whether or not TheLadders is broken…

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I would like to see a job board owner who was brave enough to introduce a quality control element into the content they allow to be advertised on their site, rather than just taking the money and letting and Joe Schmoe advertise.

    For me, the reasons many job boards are failing is that anyone can post any old crap on there. Cut and pasted job descriptions, hastily written posts full of grammatical errors (“our client are looking”, “good telephone manor” etc.) – you see them everywhere, every day.

    Quite simply, technology is killing creativity and forethought. Instead of selling the job, many recruiters in particular spend no time actually thinking about the impression their post will make on the reader. And readers aren’t just potential candidates, they’re potential clients too.

    My guess is that maybe as much as 60-70% of typical online job board content would never have made it into print, such is the lack of quality. What’s killing job boards is the fact that so much of the content not only fails to sell the job it is advertising but is just devoid of any kind of allure whatsoever, and before long that’s what could well kill the job boards. Quality people will just stop going there knowing that what they will be presented with are second rate shoddy job posts that should never have seen the light of day.

    So, job board owners – are you brave enough to up your game and insist on some kind of quality control, or will you just continue to take the money and quietly fade away?

  2. Established in 1994 exclusively for professionals and employers in biotech, pharmaceuticals healthcare and science, is one of the two oldest and most successful “job boards” on the internet.

    All MedZilla resumes and all job postings are reviewed by professionals with experience in relevant fields prior to acceptance. MedZilla routinely rejects content that does not meet the interests of our candidates and clients.

  3. Alconcalcia,

    You’re right on the money, and I’m proud to let you know does precisely what you’re suggesting more job boards do.

    We regularly assist interested in employers in determining if is a match for their job posting or resume database needs. If we’re not a match, we kindly tell them so and happily help them find a match elsewhere. We may loose a few dollars in the process, but we gain so much more.

    Talent Zoo also offers a Satisfaction Guarantee to anyone who posts on, So, if we failed to deliver for our customers, we correct it.

    CareerBlunder, and a few others might not practice business this way, but some really cool job boards do.

    So Alconcalcia, I think we’ve taken your Pepsi Challenge and passed. What do you think?

    -Rick Myers
    Founder & CEO,
    Talent Zoo

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