How Job Boards Work

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Readers have asked for a few points of clarification on how job boards work, how Human Resources professionals and recruiters fill their jobs, and how job boards make money.

I’m happy to oblige. This could be a very long post if I don’t watch myself. I’ll ask my HR/recruiting readers to fill in the blanks and correct my mistakes in the comments.

  • The best way to find a job is through someone you know. Without question. Keep that in mind.
  • Most companies have a career website and they almost always post jobs on that site. In a recession, a career website should be the first and best place to post find jobs — except some career websites suck and some recruiting teams suck. Instead of fixing the problems, HR/recruiters will look to job boards to help.
  • A site like Monster is called a job board. It’s a place where HR and recruiters post their jobs. This is called ‘monetizing the employer’ because HR pays to list their jobs. You don’t pay.
  • Why would a Human Resources department pay a company like HotJobs or CareerBuilder to list their jobs instead of investing in a better career website or hiring consultants to fix the recruiting process? That’s a good question. Job boards offer more traffic, more eyes, and more candidates.
  • Job boards have another purpose: corporate recruiters (who are employed by a company) or third-party recruiters (hired by a company to fill a job) can pay to look through the job board’s database of resumes. This may be why a recruiter called  you even though you haven’t applied for a job.
  • Job boards also consult with companies and politicians. They make money by talking to employers about trends, job data, and the top issues affecting job seekers. The data collected on a job board is very valuable and is even used by the federal government.
  • Job boards have plenty of competition. Some professional associations and colleges compete with traditional job boards and will buy software packages that build career centers on their site. Here’s SHRM, AVMA, and The American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
  • There are social networks — like Brazen Careerist — that list jobs, too.
  • And sites like Simply Hired, Indeed, and LinkUp do something different than a job board. They act like a search engine and send a virtual spider-monkey-robot to career websites and look for jobs. When the spider-robot-monkey finds a job, it copies the description. Companies pay Simply Hired, Indeed, and LinkUp to feature their jobs and have those jobs immediately indexed.

People ask me if they can find a job on a job board. Yes, absolutely — but these boards also make money by selling advertising to job seekers. You will have to wade through noise and bypass ads for colleges, debt counseling, and mortgage refinancing options.

There’s one more thing about legitimate job boards you should know.

  • No one charges you to find a job.

It’s unethical to pay for access. Society condemns lobbyists who bribe politicians for access. Why would a job board  ask you for money in exchange for access to an opportunity? It’s sketchy — so stay away from any site that asks you to pay for access to job opportunities.

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