How to Choose the Best Online Job Boards

This is an extract from our full guide ‘Choosing The Best Online Job Boards’.

It’s a challenging task trying to choose the most appropriate and effective online job boards - one the research team at Recruitment Genius faces daily.  As you know, if you don’t choose the best online job boards your recruitment campaign runs the risk of immediate failure. To maximise success we use our buying power to advertise on all UK’s best job boards, but you may not have the benefit of using our service so here is some simple advice.

Things to consider

You must change your mindset to consider four critical points:

1. Job boards sell job advertisements – they are not in the business of filling jobs.
2. Use ‘applicant logic’ rather than ‘company logic’ – put yourself in the shoes of the people you hope to attract.
3. Advertise on a broad range of job boards to generate sufficient market coverage – the chances of your advert being seen are miniscule. There are over 2,000 job boards in the UK but applicants only visit an average of 2.4 so you must advertise everywhere
4. The online job board market is fluid and fast moving – a board that is relevant today may not be tomorrow. This is one of the reasons why Recruitment Genius has invested in a research team who solely monitor and prioritize job boards.

Avoid ‘Company Logic’

We have identified a few errors we repeatedly see:

“We always advertise on the site/ This is where we got our last member of staff from”

Job boards get their traffic from search engines but sites like Google are constantly changing its search algorithm. Therefore candidate traffic can never be guaranteed. This means you won’t always get the same results twice running.

“The job board was cheap/ I got a good deal/ I got a free trial”

Everyone likes a good deal, but it’s only good if it helps you recruit the right candidate. For example, a well-known national job board offering free trials announced that 68% of companies who use this offer never return. That’s two thirds of customers not returning because their free trial was not successful.

Each day a vacancy remains unfilled is a day lost of adding value to your business. This will cost your business money. Too may companies forget the hidden cost of unfilled vacancies when they work out their ‘Cost Per Hire’ metrics.

“I’ve heard of their site”

Just because you have heard of them, doesn’t mean your ideal candidate has. You need to increase your market awareness.

“The job board is a specialist in our sector”

Almost anyone can call themselves a ‘specialist’. Unfortunately job boards are about advertising so you need to find out if they are any good at it.

“The job board is part of an industry-leading publication”

Many industry publications have seen their audience disappear along with their advertising revenues. Whilst they may know how to write great editorials and sell advertising, do they know how to attract quality applicants?

We find publications charge thousands of pounds, but are wedded to the age of print. We would recommend seeking better value elsewhere as we are now immersed in the digital age.

Use ‘Applicant Logic’ instead

If you can put the mistake of using ‘company logic’ behind you then you can move on and try to see the world through applicants’ eyes. We recommend you adopt this tried and tested systematic approach that we use here at Recruitment Genius.

Step 1. Search

93% of candidates look for jobs online with most using Google. Searches are becoming more specific; simple ‘head’ phrases such as ‘sales jobs’ are being replaced with the use of ‘long-tail’ phrases such as ‘B2B sales jobs’. Approximately 70% of job searches will also include a geographical location giving a clear indication of how important location is to jobseekers.

Step 2. Research

Conduct a search on each site to see if they advertise similar jobs to the one you were looking for. If in your experience it wasn’t quick, easy or relevant then job seekers will find the same. If there are complex application and registration processes too, your target audience could go elsewhere.

Be aware that some job boards could advertise ‘related jobs’ or ‘other people applied to…’ right next to your advert. This inadvertently generates competition. Some may also try selling training courses and unrelated products/services, which will distract the job seeker from applying for your job.

You should also identify whether the site offers any additional services such as:

Job email alerts – this free service has potential to drive significant job seeker traffic to your advert.
Featured adverts – often charged at a premium price, this service could help place your job advert higher in search listings.
CV Search –this feature allows you to search for relevant applicants from a wider pool than those who respond directly. However, be careful as many CVs are out of date.
Filtering service – this tool allows you to ask candidates questions to identify the most suitable.
Aggregation – job boards also place their jobs on a network of other sites called ‘aggregators’. Therefore have a look at other sites such as Indeed.com to see if the site you are considering is advertising there.
Anonymity – by reserving your anonymity on job advertisements, you are not at risk of damaging your brands reputation, being bombarded with sales calls and applicant enquiries.

Step 3. Purchase

The next step is to negotiate advertising with as many sites as you can afford. Take into consideration you must advertise on multiple sites and try to negotiate a discount. Though this may take time, good advanced planning will pay dividends and avoid the risk of wasting money.

Beware of meaningless statistics

Take care when looking to buy. You may be quoted figures that sound good but are effectively meaningless.

  • Number of hits – every image on a web page counts as a ‘hit’. If your page has 100 images on one page, it will equal to 100 ‘hits’. This sounds amazing but it is actually an ineffective statistic that some sales people use on naïve buyers
  • Number of (unique) visitors – it is important to remember that not all visitors on your site are job seekers
  • Number of applications – unless you are getting these figures from a sector-specific site, it could be another meaningless statistic. A generic site could have 100,000 applications, but how many of those were for jobs related to yours?
  • Number of CVs – job boards may offer a CV database access service, however approximately 81% of CVs are out of date within three months

Choose the right package

The right package is one that allows you to test the suitability of a job board. If successful, you could make a short-term commitment.  As demonstrated above, things change quickly in online recruitment so we always recommend caution with regards to long-term contracts.

Step 4-7

For these steps, the following helpful guides are also available:

1. Write a compelling job advertisement
2. Respond to job seekers
3. Screen and shortlist candidates
4. Conducting effective and legal interviews
5. Making a job offer
6. Reference checking
7. Induct or ‘onboard’ employees

Step 8. Measure and Research

Measure what you value and value what you measure.

Keep a record of the two important metrics: Quantity and Quality. You need statistics that can cut through ‘luck’ and identify sites that consistently perform the best.

If you decide to recruit again, you must recognise the need to conduct your research again. The online recruitment industry is fast moving and you need to ensure you keep up with it.

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