Job Boards May Not Be The Sexiest Sourcing Tools But They Still Work

As more than one survey has pointed out, job boards are far from dead.

The latest survey, from the International Association of Employment Web Sites, shows applying to a job posted on a commercial site is still the leading way some job seekers find work, with nearly 25 percent saying they “responded to an ad posted on a commercial job board” to find their last job.

But, compared to the percentage who found work that way in the 2006 survey, when 31.7 percent listed a job board as the way they found a job, the numbers have declined substantially.

Referrals are rising

As the chart shows, job seekers who found work via a job board have fallen almost 23 percent in 10 years. That may not so much be a sign of their declining importance, as evidence of the rise of other search tools and techniques.

Source of Employment surveyReferrals, which didn’t make it into the top five in 2006, now account for almost 13 percent of the placements. You can attribute that to the emphasis companies have placed on promoting referrals and such tools as Jobvite, which make the process so much more efficient.

Company websites have also dramatically improved in quality, becoming a destination for job seekers. Not among the top five sources in 2006, company career sites are today how 10 percent of the survey’s responding job seekers found their last job.

Article Continues Below

One curious result is the 7.3 percent of job seekers who reported being contacted by a recruiter who found them by searching job board resume databases. With all the buzz surrounding social and business networking, posting a resume on a Monster, CareerBuilder, or niche job board is still effective.

Don’t read too much into the numbers

It’s much more effective, in fact, than expecting to be contacted by a recruiter sourcing candidates via social media. Not even one (1) percent of the job seekers in this survey said they found their job through a recruiter “who saw my resume/profile on a social media site.”

While some of the results of this survey echo other surveys, including the annual Source of Hire survey compiled by the recruitment consultancy CareerXroads and another from HR software vendor, Silkroad, it would be a mistake to read too much into the results. Like most source of hire surveys, the sample size and collection methods make drawing conclusions more art than science.

What can be said is what report author Peter Weddle notes in the conclusion: The “responses strongly refute the conventional wisdom, at least as it has been espoused by some in the recruiting field, that ‘job boards are dead or dying or dinosaurs.’”

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.