Lots of organizations make lots of hires from advertising on job boards. I know we do. Yes, we have a world-class candidate research team, but we still find a reasonable number of great candidates from posting on job boards. So relax, this post is not another "death of the job boards" rant.
Most employers waste money on job boards by ignoring the math. Last month we had an average of 496 people read each job ad we posted, and 30% of them applied (150 on average). That's about normal for us, our ad views vary from 500 to 700 per month and our "view to apply" ratio varies between 27% to 34% month to month.
So, assuming you are looking for the same kinds of candidates we are (big assumption) if you are running ads that don't get as many viewers (readers), or if you are getting a lower than 30% response rate, then you paid the same advertising rate that we did, but harvested less value for your dollar. In other words, you threw away your money by crafting and an ad that did not perform for you. So let's look at why our ad might have outperformed yours.
The likely culprits are:
You ran a title in your ads that is not a common title among your candidates. (This will result in nobody clicking to view your ad).
You wrote a dull ad. You probably just posted the job description. (This will result in a low application ratio)
You required a cover letter and salary history from everyone. (This will result in a low application ratio)
You asked the candidate to submit a business plan or jump through some other hoop in order to apply. You did this to save yourself time screening resumes, and winnow out the less serious people, but what you really did was make all the busy people (with other options) opt out.
Online, you make a terrible first impression. You have no online presence of any kind, just a dated website. You ignore LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Candidates cannot get a sense of who you are--you are digitally anonymous. (This will lower the application ratio from the best and most marketable candidates, who have options).