What are Job Boards, and Do They Work?


In last week’s blog, Making Sense of 2015 to Boost Success in 2016, Doris mentioned that our blog focus is changing. We are planning to immerse ourselves in several projects, and report here, work out loud, about what we are finding and learning.

This, our first project, grew out of our partnership with Encore Tampa Bay. Doris is working with a subcommittee of ETB, and the discussion of matching boomers and employers or volunteer opportunities, both for profit and nonprofit, arose from feedback from ETB participants. Job boards can do just that. Doris set to work using her masterful search skills, and uncovered 54 job boards in no time at all.

Some of us remember when you registered with an employment agency to find a job. You filled out a form, spoke with a job counselor who pulled jobs from his/her folder-146153_640files (sometimes a rolodex), and sent  you to interviews. Usually, employers paid them a fee if you were hired, but sometimes you paid the agency a fee. For those higher up in the work chain, there were head hunters who recruited executives or helped them find new positions. If you were a do-it-yourself job seeker, you poured over the daily want ads in the newspaper, circling those you wanted to pursue. Calling or visiting the number or address in the ad with cover letter and resume in hand was the way to get in the front door.

What are Job Boards? When did they start?

Today, as we know, job hunting and job applications are all done online. Job Boards are designed to match jobs with job seekers. This is not a new concept, and as soon as the internet became somewhat sophisticated, job listings online proliferated, often starting with newspapers putting their job listings online on their newly developed web sites.

Here is an infographic depicting the history of the online job board and the increase of the use and numbers of boards available.

History statistics of job boards

Infographic from Visually.

What Types of Job Boards are Out There Today?

Today, there are several types of job boards:

  1. Aggregators – list jobs gathered from all over the web.  Indeed and SimplyHired are examples.
  2. General Job Listings – employer placed job listings. Monster and CareerBuilder are examples
  3. Niche listings- industry – specific or work preference-related boards. Dice is an example of an industry board for the tech sector, and FlexJobs is for those who want flexible work hours. The Ladders is for executives looking for new opportunities.

According to UndercoverRecruiter.com, there is a difference in how employers use the different major job boards:

Both Indeed and Monster produce more candidates that do not have any college education than Careerbuilder. Careerbuilder also features more candidates that have college degrees, some from an accredited online college. Indeed and Monster both cater to teenagers, temporary job seekers, those with only high school education and those who are fresh out of college, while Careerbuilder does not include these candidates.

Employers posting more serious positions that require qualified candidates often choose to use Careerbuilder…..Employers hiring for entry-level positions are likely to use Monster because Monster receives more traffic than Indeed and lets employers filter and manage applications.

How Effective are Job Boards in Finding Jobs?

The effectiveness of Job Boards for those seeking employment depends on who you read, as statistics range from less than 10% of users getting jobs to 20% of all hires from Job Boards (for example, CMO.com from Adobe believes the stats are less than 10% while USGreenTechnology.com states 20% of all hires are from job boards).

Several recent sources report that social media is a better way to search for jobs because networking still accounts for over 50% of job hires. Employers are reporting using LinkedIn over job boards, and job seekers use twitter to make connections and interact with those in sectors they want to enter. Mashable says that an up-to-date and richly complete LinkedIn profile is a must for active and passive job seekers. It reports that the Facebook professional version, BranchOut, is not as successful and employers still see Facebook as a more social versus business site, but do check both personal Facebook and Twitter accounts for your digital footprint to uncover any inappropriate behaviors or habits.

Sarah Sutton Fell, the founder of several job web sites including flexjobs.com, has this to say about job boards in an article for jobboarders.com:keyboard-417090_640

  • Job listings have not changed, even though the technology and application methods have. Employers need to catch up and move away from traditional job descriptions on sites.
  • Smaller, niche sites tap into the needs of both employers and job seekers. Large sites are ruled by ATS/RMS (Applicant Tracking Systems) programs that search for keywords in resumes, and eliminate 90% of those submitted before sending the 10% to employers.
  • Candidates and hiring managers get further apart, not closer together, when using job boards because of the ATS/RMS methods used for screening candidates.
  • She sites Marriott’s gamification process for hiring as a way to bridge the gap between candidates and hiring managers, and make the process more enjoyable for everyone.
This report by QuintCareers asks whether ATS/RMS has ruined job searches for everyone using job boards as well as applications to large employers. Resumes that are not formatted properly, have the right keywords, or are just misread by the ATS machines are rejected from moving on to a human’s desk. The study cites a company that submitted a resume they thought would be perfect for the job they posted, but it was rated very low and rejected by the ATS. When using the major job boards where there may be hundreds or thousands of applicants, this is how your resume will be screened.


What are the Pros and Cons of Using Job Boards?
Like anything, there are some positives and negatives to using job boards.
  • These sites are free or low cost to use
  • Your resume gets a lot of exposure quickly
  • You are able to apply to many jobs in different sectors
  • Niche job boards are smaller and more targeted, saving time


  • On the major sites such as Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder, your resume is screened by ATS, which rejects 90% of all applications
  • Employers are using LinkedIn more frequently for job applicants
  • Often jobs listed on job boards are outdated, already filled, or no longer available
  • Networking is still the major way to obtain employment. Using social media to build networks may be a better use of time.

Have you used job boards? What was your experience like? Do you recommend them, or a particular one? Why or why not?

Resources used for this blog:

Visual.ly: History and Statistics of Job Boards

JobBoarders.com: A Brief History of Online Job Boards Since 1995

USGreenTechnology: History and Statistics of Job Boards

Mashable: A Recruiters’ Perspective: Job Boards and Career Websites 

Work Chronicle: Advantages and Disadvantages of Job Hunting on the Internet

Undercover Recruiter: Which Job Boards are Most Useful for Job Seekers?

Careerealism: 5 Reasons Why Job Boards Aren’t as Effective Anymore

CMO. by Adobe: Job Boards: Still Sucking Wind

Quint Careers: Have Applicants Tracking Systems Ruined Recruiting, Hiring, and Job Search?


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  1. […] next blog project: reflection and journaling for work and personal learning. Just as we explored Job Boards in our previous blog project, we will be examining the various aspects of the sense part of the PKM […]

  2. […] – their use, advantages, disadvantages, and limitations. As part of the research I did on What are job boards, and do they work? I uncovered the fact that applicant tracking systems, or ATS, make the determination of which […]

  3. […] research that Lisa and I have started on seeking employment in today’s digital world. Lisa’s blog post on job boards last week provided the history, context, job board types, role and impact of ATS (Automated […]

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