cxr: job boards ‘will diminish in future’
published by , on 07/03/2009

Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler of CareerXRoads have produced their 8th Annual Source of Hire Study (PDF). It’s a worthwhile read that gives insight into the activities and mindsets of recruiters.

During the month of January 2009, we invited our contacts in more than 200 large (5000+ employees), high-profile, firms to participate in our study by supplying information about their sources of hire as well as a few of their related hiring practices for 2008. 55 firms responded by January 30, 2009 … 45 firms completed our January, 2009 survey. These firms employed approximately 1,863 recruiters and sourcers and filled 309,600 openings during 2008.

Key findings range from a desire to reduce hires (and associated costs) attributed to third-party recruiters, newspapers and job boards, while increasing tactics connected to social networks and search engine marketing to how important referrals are to recruiting.

Of job boards, the executive summary said, “We believe [job boards as a] source of hire has indeed peaked and predict it will diminish in the future.” Their study revealed 12.3 percent of external hires come through job boards.


Monster led from the choices listed, followed by CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, Direct Employers, HotJobs and TheLadders. According to the report, however, between the two, more hires come from CareerBuilder, saying “within the category, Monster has lost ground to CareerBuilder.”

“The two of them account for half the job board hires but both are losing ground to the ‘long-tail’ of niche sites, social networks and other online search engine marketing capabilities that are expanding their reach. The gray area where boards are morphing into much broader suites of services makes it difficult to draw hard and fast conclusions.”

Vertical search engines like and Simply Hired were noticeably absent from the options. Considering the growth of, this was an interesting omission. According to Crispin, “The vertical search engines are there under job boards (Aggregate – 1.7%). They are, in my opinion, still poorly tracked.

“If the job seeker goes to google and types in electrical engineer job in phoenix and gets a link to Simply Hired which provides another link to the IEEE which links to the job description on the company site, your guess is as good as mine and clearly the dilution of SEM, aggregate job boards, company site etc. make it extremely difficult to analyze sources well enough to make a decision on where to spend 2009 budget. Even if there is data in the field – which is the point most people overlook – the report focuses on what is needed to improve the quality of the data, not accept it as a benchmark.”

Niche boards got particular recognition in the study as well. When asking employers to name three niche sites used to generate hires, a total of 60 were mentioned. Dice, Jobing, Craigslist and JobCentral were all highlighted in this category.

“The growth of niche sites is due in no small measure to the ease of use of job distribution services such as (one of dozens of competing firms in the category, JobTarget is a prime example of how the category has grown as it has built a solid relationship with SHRM and is marketed to SHRM’s 250,000 members), the study noted. “This job distribution category offers user-friendly means for a firm to select niche sites to post, automate the posting, and aid in the measurement of results.”

Lastly, near and dear to our hearts, search engine marketing (SEM) seems to be gaining momentum and is noted as a potential threat to traditional job boards. “This category is growing rapidly as firms learn about and develop internal capabilities or partner with suppliers and vendors. We believe this is one of the potential tools to disintermediating traditional job boards.”

The entire study and more information can be found at CareerXRoads.

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