Are job boards on the way out?

Updated: Nov 13, 2019


With a reported massive 70% of jobs not listed on job boards – and candidates becoming more and more disillusioned with the arduous task of applying for job after job without getting a meaningful response, there has to be a better way of matching candidates to jobs.

In nearly all situations I advise friends and clients to look outside of job boards as there are very rarely positive stories or a good return on investment that come from using them.

On both sides of the coin it can be argued that job boards are a real source of frustration in the recruitment process. Add in the increased usage of automated software that determines whether you are a good fit or not and you have less and less chance of standing out from the crowd.


Nearly all candidates I speak to spend an extraordinary amount of time putting together a tailored resume and cover letter – apply for 30 roles and hear back from maybe a handful. They feel frustrated and start to lose confidence about their job search.

And nearly all companies that I speak to, express frustration at the lack of return on investment and relevancy from job boards. They simply don’t have time to sort through hundreds of applicants.


And even with professional networking sites such as LinkedIn allowing passive candidates to connect with aspirational companies there is still a big proportion of the population in Australia that have not embraced the networking site (no profile or never check it! if that's you - you should probably read our blog on getting your LinkedIn up to speed here) – so what is the answer to the talent shortage in Australia and New Zealand?


Read on as I give you insider information from being both an Agency Recruiter and a Hiring Manager about why they use job boards, what the frustrations are and whether it's time to ditch the job boards in your job search.


Agency Recruiters

Quite often agency recruiters use job boards as a form of brand awareness – the more jobs they have advertised the busier they are perceived and therefore they can position themselves (quite rightly usually) as an industry leader. They will naturally attract candidates and clients alike.


Combine this with the fact that nearly ALL agencies will be using recruitment software that integrates with the job board, and that generally they will get a LOT of applicants. This software will rank you based on relevancy to the role, so if 300 people applied and you are applying for a role that on paper it looks like you aren’t relevant for – know that you are unlikely to get a call because software screens your application before a human does.


While dealing with agency recruiters can be frustrating for some people – it is important to understand that if you are a candidate with little to no experience or trying to completely change industries, then going through an agency might not be the best strategy. Clients are paying a significant fee for an agency to find them the best fit, and they can be quite strict in wanting a perfect fit to their role.


If an agency has a lot of roles that appeal to you, and you are already registered with them – don’t waste your time applying for the jobs. Simply call the consultant to ask them outright if you could be considered for the role, a good consultant will tell you if you are a fit for the role. A great consultant should have found your details on their database but that’s another story! If you aren’t a good fit – ask for some feedback around why so that you can use that information going forward.


Generally, agency recruiters may believe they have less return on investment because they must advertise obscurely – hiding the name of the company and salary details – quality candidates are generally less inclined to apply for these roles.


On the plus side – Agencies have access and insight on roles that haven’t hit the market yet due to confidentiality. Find yourself a well-placed recruiter who you can develop a transparent and long relationship with and they will be a part of your job search throughout your career!


Hiring Managers:

Hiring Managers are not necessarily recruiters – they could be General Managers who are responsible for hiring. They are generally time poor (who isn’t really?) because recruiting this one role is not their only job - thus at times the process may be slower than dealing with an internal HR or Recruitment Specialist.


The size, desirability and success of the company and role - will ultimately determine how many applicants you are up against. I believe that a lot of the 70% of roles not advertised sit with these smaller companies that don’t get a return on investment from advertising through job boards.


If, however they are on a job board you really need to think about what you can do to get their attention! I am surprised by how many people who express a desire to change jobs or industries, yet their resume and cover letter don’t address this. Applying for a role where you have no relevance on paper just looks like a random application – and you will quickly be passed over for a more relevant applicant.


Smaller companies are also less likely to use automated recruitment software, a fact you can use to your advantage.


So, should you stop applying for roles on job boards? Simply put no – they will always have some part of the recruitment process. But if you want to tap into that 70% of jobs that aren’t advertised? Then its time to invest in a strategy that yields better results.


The Talent Mill specialises in career coaching that helps you come up with a tailored strategy to get that dream job. Contact us now for more information and a complimentary exploration call.


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