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Are Job Boards Dead, or Are Your Job Ads Just Deadly Dull?

Posted by Bob Corlett on September 24, 2009

Look around and you'll see quite a bit of debate about the "death of job boards."  Many question the hefty prices they charge, saying that  free is the wave of the future for job boards.  Some question whether they attract great candidates. I've certainly been bitterly disappointed by the performance of some job boards in Washington, feeling my money was completely wasted.

Similarly, candidates often feel like their time is wasted reading job boards.

But the great job board debate often overlooks one big thing - the ads themselves. Rarely do I see recruiters ask a different question.  "What would make our recruitment advertising more effective?"

Recruitment Advertising Executive Jeff Perry just did that in his post on ERE.  Here are two key points:

  • Five times more people read the headline than read the ad - meaning, your lead-in matters.  Jeff says you have about 10 seconds to capture your reader's attention (but I think he overstates that by about 9 seconds)
  • Think about what the tone of your ad conveys about your company - serious, committed, playful, creative -what?  (Just a guess here, but right now, it probably conveys that you are pretty dull because you are probably using the soul crushing language of the job description).

Job boards are not dead (not yet anyway).  While many are simply awful, we have a few that we find are consistently cost effective.  I know for a fact that you can judiciously use job boards to your advantage for very cost effective recruiting.  You just can't be dull.

For more on what you can do, see my previous post bad ads attract bad candidates, and the companion post: good job advertising gives you leverage.

What has your experience been?  Have you given up on the job boards entirely or are they still working for you?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Ultimately, very little of what is written in either the job description or the resume helps either party understand each other, or helps to predict who will be successful on the job. In this very first step of the hiring process -- posting a job ad and reviewing resumes -- there is already a frustrating breakdown in communication. 

To learn how to write more effective job postings, read How to Write Job Descriptions that Attract Top Performers. Or, if you prefer your research and information to be more attractively formatted, just download the document below. 

Job Descriptions Ads


Disclaimer: This advice is primarily for professional hiring in a large metropolitan area. Our perspective is shaped by our work in a retained executive search firm, conducting searches for CEO and senior staff positions. We've completed over 600 searches for associations and other nonprofits in major metropolitan areas like Washington DC, New York, and Chicago, but not all of our advice will be relevant if you are interviewing for other types of positions in other job markets. 

Topics: Writing Job Descriptions, Job Advertising