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Job boards are dead: a handy guide to a special sub-genre of recruiting articles

tombstoneI’ve been consulting in the job board industry since 2009 and active with job boards for much longer. In all that time, a particular type of article / blog post / etc. has persisted and even occasionally thrived: the ‘job boards are dead‘ article. In fact, these have been so persistent and resilient (much like ‘Paul is dead‘ or ‘poinsettas are poisonous‘) that I thought it was time to catalog them. After all, perhaps you will someday be writing your own (erroneous) ‘job boards are dead’ post!

  •  Big job boards are dying: A current example of this type of article is here. These usually focus on a couple of points: a) there are too many applicants per job posting; b) the applicants aren’t qualified. A problem with this critique: how can a job board be ‘dying’ if it is producing boatloads of applicants for its employers? That is not to say, of course, that unqualified applicants isn’t a problem – it is. But it seems that the quality of candidates is the problem – rather than the fact that the job board is ‘dying’.
  • Job boards are old technology: When job boards came on the scene, part of their appeal was that they represented ‘new’ technology – a way of improving the results of the traditional newspaper classifieds. So it is somewhat ironic that job boards are now being criticized as ‘old’ technology. As with the previous example, there is some truth to the critique: ‘traditional’ job boards look and function much as they did in the 1990s. But there has been substantial change, too. There are job boards that are really career hubs, matching sites, social search sites, and so on. Bottom line: old technology is often in the eye of the beholder – and many sites are embracing ‘new’ technology.
  • Social recruiting will kill job boards: A very popular type of article – and surprisingly enough, it is often used by social recruiting vendors and evangelists. A key part of this argument is LinkedIn, as in ‘Look at how well LinkedIn is doing! How can job boards possibly compete?‘. Sure, LinkedIn is doing well. But one company does not make an industry-killing trend, I think. Many job boards are actually incorporating social recruiting products into their lineups. Some companies have had success with social recruiting; some have not. I suspect this type of article will continue for as long as it is effective as a sales tool for social recruiting companies – and no longer.
  • Candidates hate job boards: These articles suggest that candidates hate job boards so much that they quit using them. Data indicates otherwise. The core candidate complaint, of course, is lack of response from employers – a problem that resides with the employer rather than the job board. This complaint also occurs in other hiring channels – even (!) on social recruiting sites.
  • Job boards are too expensive: As in, job boards have priced themselves out of reach – or they just aren’t worth the money. Sometimes this complaint is actually being directed at the big general boards. Occasionally it is derived from specific data: the employer is tracking cost of hire, and a given job board doesn’t produce. But to say that because some job boards are not cost effective, all job boards will die, is a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

Of course, there are plenty of writers that are saying the exact opposite: job boards aren’t dying, they’re doing quite all right. See here, here, here, and here. But…if you’d like to put together your own ‘job boards are dead’ article, please use the above guide – and let me know when you get published. I’ll want to include you in my next guide!

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Good post. We launched a Job Board last year and it keeps getting better. So while I agree with all the complaints, candidates are still using boards.

    By the way in 1975 I learned that by 2020 we would be out of fossil fuels to power our cars…that hasn’t happened yet either.

  2. […] For example, a recent article on job boards posted on took the stance that these traditional sources were not very relevant anymore, and cites data pointing to “internal movement, referrals, social recruiting,” and more that are taking the wind out of the sails of wide-net casting job boards. But you only need scroll down to the first comment to find disagreement, and there are plenty arguing that job boards are now more relevant than ever. […]

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