Job Boards are for Suckers!

As with anything good; time, saturation, monetization, and the masses have ruined Job Boards. Ok, simplification but as a recruiter, I get a chuckle every time I hear ads on the radio from companies like Zip Recruiter or Indeed bragging about their reach and technical prowess in helping companies find top talent. Job boards remind me of Zombie apocalypse, they are long dead but still doing the same thing since early 2000’s and talented candidates left long ago.

All the evidence points to the job board’s eventual death because they have lost value even for active job seekers and companies desperate for talent. Companies using job boards rely on applicant tracking systems and HRIS systems to store applicants and employee records.  This means that your resume must be optimized for keywords, skills, and experience to get past the 3-5 second look to be noticed. The sheer volume of responses most companies receive is unmanageable, many will only look at the top handful of qualified results, so active job seekers are competing with hundreds or even thousands of other people for the same job.

The ease with which people can apply to jobs enables them to apply to anything and everything in the hopes of getting a call.  Any application or resume submitted rarely goes directly to the decision maker or Hiring Manager.  Your candidacy must get through the Human Resources or corporate recruiter gauntlet many of these are simply not qualified to screen and access key roles beyond just reviewing for keywords or basic skills.

The bombardment of unqualified candidates causes recruiters and even hiring managers to become blind to candidates that might be in the margin because they lack the time or attention because of the sheer number of resumes they are reviewing. Finally, quality positions are just not posted on job boards.  In fact, estimates are that as much as 80 % of new jobs are never listed but are instead filled internally or via networking.  Referrals, on the other hand, make up 40% of new hires. Here is how to use this to your advantage.

Believe it or not, people used to look for jobs in the newspaper help wanted section, back when people read newspapers.  Then the internet arrived, and job boards like and CareerBuilder flashed on the scene in 1994.  A whole new world opened for job seekers and companies looking to hire as reach increased, ease of application, and speed to hire improved.

One of the key trends that are driving job-seeking talent away from job boards, besides the sheer volume of unqualified zombies, is the rise of social media networking. with some effort, the right research, and the approach, a job seeker can locate and connect directly with the people and companies they want to pursue via LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook (more info).  Quality jobs have been replaced by fake jobs put up by employment agencies hoping to pitch the duped candidate to another role for a fee. When the quality jobs left so did the quality candidates who find work through their networks and social media.

Of the job boards that are out there, from Monster, Indeed, and Career Builder to LinkedIn and all the niche sites dedicated to specific industries, none successfully connects with passive candidates. These sought-after high performers, who make up approximately 15% of the workforce, are rarely, if ever, unemployed, and don’t ever use job boards or post their resumes online. There are a few boards that claim to target passive candidates, but they levy an additional cost on top of your paid recruitment campaign, and still, the resulting applicants are (most often) not ideal: they are, in fact, active job seekers and not passive candidates.

The job boards can’t claim to have top talent so they sell the idea that new algorithms and predictive data are based on utilizing artificial intelligence to match the talent on their networks to your role.  Instead of having to sift through thousands of unqualified resumes, they filter those resumes to provide the most qualified based on keywords and/or phrases. The problem is it’s the same database of unqualified candidates they just filter them down to the group that is the strongest of the unqualified.  At this point, companies realize they have wasted their time and the job boards try to pitch them a new service to engage the passive high performers they said would apply in the first place.  This up-sale and re-engagement charade continues till the client either hire inferior talent or goes back to the direct recruitment of passive talent through networking on social media.

So where are the high-performer passive candidates, we actively seek out for recruitment that makeup only about 15% of the workforce? They are rarely, if ever, unemployed, never actively looking for a job, don’t post their resume online, and never use job boards. For the most part, the job boards don’t do a good job of attracting these high performers. Jobs posted on job boards are boring and focus solely on responsibilities, skills required, and corporate culture selling points. This amounts to long text descriptions of positions that mention nothing about the actual opportunity in terms of learning or career growth. Further proof of job board inadequacy is their postings rarely mention anything about performance goals and instead drone on about ambiguous items that will appease the masses but creates a huge disconnect between top performers and any available positions.

When recruiting high-performing passive candidates you must present them with opportunities that are differentiated and have sizzle to cut through the noise. This could be reflected in describing company growth, and product/service market share, but something more than corporate speak must be present to assure that you are piquing the interest of the most sought-after candidates.

So why does the death of job boards matter to the unemployed, under-employed, and/or passive candidates of the world?  To get the jobs and earn what high-performing passive candidates earn you need to hang out where they are and do what they do.  You need to build and work your network to find the companies you want to work for and identify the roles you want in those organizations then you have to find the decision-makers and influencers in those areas.  Check out this blog post.