March 3, 2005   view past issues

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Feature: The State of the Art in Job Boards

Just about everyone uses them these days. Job boards, I mean. Whether you’re an in-house corporate recruiter, a staffing firm recruiter or an executive search consultant, job boards are now an integral part of how our jobs get done. But, are we making the best use of their services? And no less important, what should we expect from the job boards we do use? How do they stack up against the state-of-the-art in this industry?

To answer these questions, I asked our research team to analyze the features, services and fees of the 350 recruitment sites we selected for inclusion in our 2005/6 WEDDLE’s Guide to Employment Web Sites. (The book is available from our Web-site catalog right now and will be in bookstores in about 6 weeks.) This sample represents a good cross-section of the sites in all segments of the industry:

  • commercial general purpose recruitment portals, such as, Yahoo! HotJobs, TopUSAJobs, Best Jobs USA, and;
  • general purpose career sites sponsored by newspapers, such as, Workopolis, The New York Times Job Market and;
  • commercial niche recruitment portals, such as,, DICE,, and Medzilla; and
  • career sites sponsored by associations and other affinity groups, including JSAJE Plus, the joint job board of the alumni associations of the federal service academies in the U.S., HRJobs, the job board of the Society for Human Resource Management, and IEEE Job Site, the job board of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  • So, what is the state-of-the-art among these job boards?

    First, job boards are no longer simply platforms for filling permanent positions. According to our survey, 91% post part time openings, 85% post contract jobs and 77% post consulting opportunities. In other words, today’s job boards are “one-stop employment centers” where you can source candidates for virtually any kind of workplace activity. The convenience and capability of such resources could well affect some of the major trends in contemporary workforce management. For example:

  • In a large and growing number of organizations, temporary workforce management is now viewed as a supply chain optimization challenge. As a consequence, it has been moved out of the HR Department and into the hands of the Chief Financial Officer. Finance, after all, knows how to cut budgets and minimize expenses. However, the ability to piggyback temporary staffing onto permanent staffing-which job boards can and do provide to HR Departments-not only saves time and money, but it locates staffing in the corporate department that actually knows something about how to do it.
  • Staffing firms, of course, are the traditional source for much of the temporary workforce. Does this expanding role of job boards eliminate the need for them? Absolutely not. It does, however, change the value proposition they offer to employers, and the best staffing firms have already figured that out. They know that they have to provide candidates other than those their clients can find online. Hence, they must now become experts in (a) identifying which sites among the 40,000 job boards will connect them to the best prospects for each of their client’s openings and (b) building relationships with those prospects so that they will consider the recruiter’s opportunities even as they ignore everyone else’s.
  • Second, there is a very clear hierarchy of value among the three major categories of job boards. This value is determined by the caliber of the candidate offered at a job board when compared to the price the site charges a corporate or third party recruiter to gain access to those candidates. At the top of this value chain are commercial niche sites. They generally have very high caliber candidates in a specific field, industry or geography and charge, on average, just $178 per posting. Next in the chain are general purpose sites which generally have high caliber candidates in a wide range of fields (but often fewer candidates than a commercial niche site in any specific field) and charge, on average, $182 per posting. And, last in the value chain are association sites which have very high caliber candidates in a specific field or industry, but charge, on average, $208, per posting. If you have any doubt about this alignment, consider the average number of job postings at each of the three categories:

  • 6,371 postings at commercial niche sites
  • 90,287 postings at general purpose sites, and
  • 516 postings at association sites.
  • Further, for the first time since we’ve been conducting our User’s Choice Awards poll, (click here to cast your ballot for the 2006 winners) not a single association made it into the winner’s circle in 2005.

    Finally, at least a third of today’s job boards have forgotten about the passive job seeker. Most passive job seekers (including most “A” level performers) are, by definition, not looking for a job. That means they are unlikely to have a resume to post in a resume database or to use for applying to a job posting (on those rare occasions when they do take a peek at what’s posted online). Despite that reality, 33% of all job boards do not currently provide a way for passive job seekers to fill out a profile that can be stored in their “resume database.” They are, in effect, telling these high quality prospects that they are persona non grata at their site. To add injury to insult:

  • only 66% of association sites and 70% of commercial niche sites offer a confidentially feature in their resume database, and
  • only two-thirds of association sites and 81% of commercial niche sites offer a job agent-the single most important job board service for passive job seekers as it enables them to keep an eye on the job market without doing any work or putting their confidentiality at risk.
  • General purpose sites are much better in both instances, with 91% offering a confidentiality feature in their resume databases and 98% offering a job agent.

    Job boards are only as useful as the services they offer, and the savvy recruiter will always use those that offer the state-of-the-art. I’ll cover more of what the state-of-the-art involves in my next newsletter.

    Thanks for reading,


    P.S. WEDDLE’s Newsletter grows only by word-of-mouth. So, please … tell a friend or colleague (or two) about the newsletter. We’d be very grateful, and they will be too.

    This Issue’s Sponsor: /

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of |

    eFinancialCareers.comand have become the leading job and career Web-sites dedicated to finance, securities, accounting and insurance professionals around the world.

  • serves the global financial community as the leading network for jobs and career advice in securities, investment banking, asset management and the capital markets.
  • In the US, is the #1 job and career site for accounting and finance.
  • E-mail or call today for your FREE resume database preview.

    Contact: Brendan Cruickshank


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use released the results of its annual survey of the employment market in the securities industry. It found that competition for talent is likely to be tougher this year with over 66% of respondents reporting that they will be recruiting for new sales people (in such roles as Retail Registered Representative, Sales/Branch Manager and Sales Assistant) and over 73% declaring that they will be hiring more staff this year than last. How can you prepare for such increased competition? Don’t focus too quickly on tactics. Tactics are the recruitment methods you use, and they are only as effective as your strategy. What’s your strategy? Your employment brand, what your company stands for as an employer. This brand, however, is not a slogan or a jungle; it’s the sum of the experiences you provide to candidates during your recruitment process. Get those right first-get them aligned with a differentiating and compelling image of your organization-and everything else will follow naturally. announced the results of its survey of workers and hiring managers, conducted in late 2004. The key finding? More bad news for employers. Nearly one-in-four of the respondents plan to change jobs during the first half of 2005, and an astounding six-in-ten say they will make a move by the end of 2006! The most troublesome aspect of this situation is that it is clearly preventable. According to the survey, the number one reason for this impending attrition is workers’ desire for better compensation. With the projected salary increases for 2005 barely topping 3%, it appears that many organizations are falling into the old trap of letting internal salary ranges fall behind the market. As a result, employees believe that the only way they can get a meaningful salary increase is by switching employers. What should you do? Appoint yourself a CRO-a Chief Retention Officer-and give your compensation program an “outside-in” evaluation. Then, move aggressively to make whatever adjustments are necessary and equally as aggressively promote those changes to your workforce. launched its site as a portal for healthcare recruiting. It expects to draw an unusually high percentage of passive job seekers in the industry by offering them exclusive access to the Hospital Blue Book, a publication of Billian’s HealthDATA Group. According to the site, this publication enables individuals to “comparison shop” all 6,000 hospitals nationwide (using statistics on their training programs, benefits, accreditations, operations and more) and accurately identify those with the best value proposition for them.

    The Society for Human Resource Management has partnered with Performance Assessment Network, Inc. to launch the SHRM Testing Center. The Center supports the distribution, analysis and administration of professional tests and assessments in such categories as:

  • Personality and skills assessment
  • Coaching and leadership
  • Self-development
  • Professional and managerial selection, and
  • Career exploration.
  • SHRM members can visit the site and search for tests by name, type or publisher.

    Watson Wyatt published the latest results in its on-going WorkUSA study. It found that, while workers” confidence in senior corporate management has improved, there is still a long ways to go. Barely one-in-two workers (51%) trust the executives running their company, up from 44% in 2002, but hardly a ringing endorsement. Is there a role for HR professionals and their leaders in this War for Trust? You bet there is. In fact, an earlier WorkUSA study found that in those organizations where the HR Department is viewed as effectively engaged in corporate leadership-not shunted aside and reduced to administrative management-62% of employees trust their corporate leaders; in those organizations where HR leadership is not engaged, only 8% of employees say they trust their corporate leaders. To capitalize on this vote of confidence, however, we in the HR profession must show the courage and resilience of strong leaders. We must stand up for ethical principles and behavior in our organizations and act forcefully to correct violations of those standards whenever and at whatever level they may occur.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. You need to hire a civil engineer for your company’s bid on repair work to local public bridges damaged by this winter’s tough weather. Which of the following sites would bring your search to a dead-end?

  • A/E/C Job Bank
  • 2. Business is booming in cell phones, and you need to hire telecommunications technicians to keep up with demand. Which of the following sites would let you hear from top prospects?

  • 3. Your company has just opened an office in South America and you need a bilingual Comptroller to work there. Which of the following sites would translate into a successful candidate search?

  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005 Guides and Directories

    Casino Careers Online

    A WEDDLE’s 2005 User’s Choice Award Winner

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – Part time, Consulting

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Fee to post a job: $250/posting

    Posting period: 30-90 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 40,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from candidates

    Top occupations among resumes: Management, Cook, Slot technician

    Other services for employers: Assessment instruments offered on-site, Auto resume agent, Banner ads, Status reports on banners & postings

    Answers to Site Insite

    1., a site that teaches children how to build bridges.

    2. Only is the site for a software products company; is the site of an all-natural personal products company; and is the site of an IT services company.

    3. All but, a site for bilingual openings in Europe.

    This Issue’s Sponsor: / job

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of |

    eFinancialCareers.comand have become the leading job and career Web-sites dedicated to finance, securities, accounting and insurance professionals around the world.

  • serves the global financial community as the leading network for jobs and career advice in securities, investment banking, asset management and the capital markets.
  • In the US, is the #1 job and career site for accounting and finance.
  • E-mail or call today for your FREE resume database preview.

    Contact: Brendan Cruickshank