Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Job Boards are dead: long live the Job Board

In a previous blog I mentioned that some have suggested that job boards are dying, or indeed dead.  I have been thinking about this some more this week, especially in my niche areas of recruitment.  We sometimes advertise on a variety of boards including Jobsite, Linkedin, Legal Technology Insider and Forensic Focus - with mixed results.

We do sometimes find people via job boards but compared to, say, five years ago, only a tiny percentage of our people are sourced this way and our levels of advertising have certainly reduced considerably in the last couple of years as a result of this trend.

My view is shifting towards thinking that the day of the job board is over.  Objectively, it is an incredibly haphazard and passive way of finding the very best people - who often are unlikley to be browsing the job boards anyway - and I think this form of recruitment is very much a case of finding the best person 'on' the market rather than the best person 'in' the market.

With the growth of social media the best recruiters (whether external or in-house talent acquisition teams) with the most effective sourcing techniques should have no need to advertise - except for branding reasons - as the details of the right person for the job are now freely available.

This poses an interesting challenge for the jobseeker.  In the new reality your challenge is, I would suggest, to use social media to make sure that you can be easily found for that 'perfect' opportunity even if you are not actively seeking a new role.   Are you doing this?  If so, how?

There is, of course, another perspective.  One of my friends who works for a job board thinks that all of this is pure nonsense!  She says that useless recruiters are doing their best to destroy them with awful adverts - from the cut and pasted job specification (zzzz) to the dreaded, 'Our Client...' (sounds so 1950's), via lots of boring adverts filled with unimaginative text and bad grammar.  Hmmm, she does have a point.....

I discussed this over dinner last weekend with a Computer Forensics Director and he reckons that this talk of social media is all very nice and fluffy (he almost choked on a giant prawn when I told him I was going to an unconference this month) but most people and companies aren't ready to move away from job boards - especially in my niches - and are genuinely puzzled by the business case for networking and social media.  Lets face it, at the majority of organisations in my area, most social media is blocked at work anyway.

He tells me that most people in my sectors aren't looking for the perfect job, don't have time to network as they are too busy and that the only social media they are interested in is catching up with friends/family on Facebook and maybe a flirt with Linkedin or even Twitter until quicky they tire of it and get on with important stuff.

I told him he is a dinosaur to which he replied,"David, this is the real world!"

What do you think?


  1. I see Facebook as ‘at home’ social networking, LinkedIn as ‘at work’ and Twitter ‘on the way to work/home’…not sure about the last one, still undecided on the usefulness of Twitter.

    I don’t plan on using Facebook to find employment or work contacts because it seems (to me) to be like mixing business with pleasure. LinkedIn I see as a really useful tool for finding employment opportunities and making contact with industry people. I’m overhauling my profile at the moment after reading the post by Bill Boorman (“LinkedIn is changing. Are you keeping up?”) on his blog, which I discovered through your blog, David.

    Also, job boards and social networking don’t need to be mutually exclusive; Jobsite.co.uk is one recruitment site that lets you add your LinkedIn public profile to your Jobsite account.

  2. Hi Lee,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    My view is that in five years from now Facebook is likely to be one of the major players in the job search world. The Facebook generation (I hate the phrase but I will use it anyway) are going to expect jobs to come to them where they hang out - and quite rightly so!