Job Boards vs. Social Media for Recruitment: Where to Invest in 2024

Jake SafaneBy Jake Safane
December 19th, 2023 • 8 Minutes

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Many companies want to ramp up their hiring efforts in 2024, but doing so can be tricky. A survey by talent solutions firm Robert Half finds that 57% of managers plan to hire new permanent positions within the first half of 2024. However, 90% say it’s difficult to find skilled professionals, and 58% report that hiring for open roles takes longer than it did a year ago.

To try to overcome these challenges and find high-quality employees, you may be wondering where to invest your resources in 2024. A common dilemma is choosing between focusing on job boards vs. social media for recruitment, either through paid or organic approaches.

While you don’t necessarily have to choose one over the other—you could take a joint approach—there are some pros and cons of both to consider, as we’ll explore in this article.

Using Job Boards for Recruitment

Using job boards for recruitment can be a straightforward way to source candidates. You post a job description on one or multiple job boards, and the applicants come to you. But this simplicity isn’t always an advantage. There can be downsides, like an excessive amount of applications from unqualified candidates due to the low barrier to entry for job board applications.

Pros of Using Job Boards for Recruitment

Some of the top ways that job boards can help recruitment include:

Increasing Scale

If you want to quickly get your job opening in front of a lot of candidates, a job board can be a great way to scale your exposure. And you don’t have to limit yourself to one job board. You can often post across multiple job boards through a single platform.

For example, recruitment software provider Pinpoint says that its software enables you to easily distribute job postings across different job boards without having to copy and paste job descriptions for each site. “Make posting to job boards fast and hassle free, with one-click posting to hundreds of job boards,” says Pinpoint.

Leveraging Technology

Job boards can also make it easy to leverage technology to improve your recruitment. For example, job boards and recruitment software tools often have analytics features that let you assess the efficacy of your sponsored job posts. Job boards also tend to integrate with technology like applicant tracking systems, making it easy to collect the data you need to screen applicants more efficiently and stay organized throughout the hiring process

Reaching Diverse Candidates

Related to increasing scale, job boards can help you reach an audience that you might not otherwise find through your recruitment or talent acquisition teams’ existing networks. This can include reaching candidates with niche work experience, as well as reaching more diverse candidates in terms of demographics like ethnicity and gender.

“The process of attracting and retaining a diverse workforce can be overwhelming for employers, but advertising roles on niche job boards can help widen the talent pool and increase applications,” notes an article from Reality HR, an HR consulting firm.

Cons of Using Job Boards for Recruitment

Despite these potential advantages of job boards, they also can bring their fair share of disadvantages, such as:

Attracting Too Many Active Applicants

The scale of job boards and their efficiency can also work against you by attracting too many applicants, especially ones who aren’t always qualified for the roles they apply to.

“It’s gotten so easy to apply to jobs with things like easy apply that people can submit hundreds of applications with a few clicks. Recruiters in turn then need to prioritize more or automate more,” writes Bonnie Dilber, recruiting leader at Zapier, in a LinkedIn post. In turn, that can lead to problems like taking too many shortcuts and using bias, like rejecting a candidate based only on their current job title, she says.

Plus, these are typically active candidates who are seeking a new job. That means you could be missing out on passive job seekers who aren’t browsing these job boards because they don’t realize your position is open and would be a good fit for them.

Competing With Too Many Companies

Job boards, like any marketplace, can result in an open competition for attention. You might be competing against hundreds or thousands of other companies, including direct business competitors, on popular job boards, which can make it tough to stand out as an employer. To rise to the top of the list, you might pay for sponsored job posts, but that can add up quickly.

Lacking Personality

Recruiting via job boards can also make it harder to showcase your organization’s culture and the personality of your team members.

“We have taken the human aspect of applying for a job and removed it from the entire process. We need direct interaction between employers and prospects. Without it, the process is slow, impersonal, and quite honestly dejecting for the candidate,” writes future of work expert Jacob Morgan in a LinkedIn newsletter.

That said, there are ways to overcome some of these job board recruitment challenges. For example, some niche job boards enable you to share more robust company profiles so that candidates get a better sense of why your company is worth applying to. You can also add more screening questions to filter out job seekers who aggressively apply to every opening they see, regardless of fit.

Case Study: Blue Star Donuts Uses Indeed for Hiring

Blue Star Donuts, a gourmet donut shop with locations in Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, leveraged job board Indeed to find new employees as the company expanded into areas like wholesale. Cami Justice, director of HR at Blue Star Donuts, was the only one at the company managing hiring and recruiting at the time, so using the job board helped her handle this tall task. Not only did it help Justice get the word out on the company’s openings, but Indeed’s tools helped her manage the process more efficiently.

For example, she used screener questions to figure out important information like availability to determine that applicants were a good match logistically for the shifts she was hiring for. She also used Indeed Assessments as essentially a pre-interview.

“The assessment feature can really gauge someone’s experience. On a resume, where someone could say they have five years of experience…going through the assessments, it really kind of tests that,” said Justice in a case study from Indeed.

Using Social Media for Recruitment

Job boards can be a great way to find talent, especially if you want to access a large pool of candidates and use integrated technology to aid the hiring process. However, it’s not the only way to find high-quality applicants. Social media can also be a great place to source new employees, especially if you want to pull in candidates who don’t even realize yet that they want to work for your company.

Pros of Using Social Media  for Recruitment

Using social media to recruit talent can be more effective than job boards in several ways, such as:

Attracting Passive Job Seekers

Not everyone who’s a good fit for a job is actively searching for a new role. So, these people might not be on job boards, but they might be browsing social media for either professional development or personal use. When they come across your social media posts, either ones that directly mention hiring or ones meant to develop your employer brand, they might become intrigued enough to reach out and apply for a role at your company.

Leveraging Employee Networks

Social media can also be a great place to tap into your current employees’ networks and gain employee referrals. When employees share job openings on social media, that can give you exposure to audiences you might not find on job boards.

Technology can help here too. For example, Jobvite, a talent acquisition software provider, says that its platform enables users to: “Share open positions with an SSO-enabled referral portal. Empower employees to reach out to professional networks with social platforms they use every day.”

Connecting With Candidates Individually

While job boards can lack personality, social media can be a great way to connect with candidates on a one-to-one basis. For example, if you find a professional on LinkedIn that seems to have the skills needed for a hard-to-fill job opening at your company, you can reach out to them with a personalized direct message. You can also connect on a more human level with posts that have more personality than a basic job description.

“Use your platforms to give a glimpse into your company culture. This attracts candidates who align with your values and vision,” writes Jordan Scheltgen, founder of social media marketing agency Cave, in a LinkedIn newsletter.

Cons of Using Social Media  for Recruitment

Social media provides a lot of advantages when it comes to recruitment marketing. However, there are also some pitfalls to watch out for, such as:

Spending More Time on Recruitment Marketing

Recruitment marketing can help attract more high-quality candidates in the long run, but it can be time-consuming and require long-term dedication. If you’re trying to attract passive job seekers by sharing social media content about what it’s like to work at your company, that’s probably not going to yield hundreds of applicants overnight.

So, if you’re trying to hire for a particular role right away, not all forms of social media recruitment would be the best fit. You might have better luck with sponsored social media posts about open roles, but that then adds cost.

Competing With Different Types of Content

Another potential downside to social media recruitment is that your hiring-related content is likely competing with a wide variety of content, some of which has nothing to do with job searches. Even professional social media networks like LinkedIn have content on topics besides just recruitment.

Newer platforms like TikTok also hold some appeal to some recruiters, but it’s important to remember what you’re competing against.

“Hiring professionals MUST keep in mind that this is not a job platform. Users are looking to be entertained, not to apply for a job. No one wants to go from watching a video to filling out an application that’s 45 minutes long,” notes an article from Recruitics, a recruitment marketing firm.

Challenging to Organize Efforts

Social media recruitment efforts can also be disorganized at times. Posting open roles and requesting emails from interested candidates may lack the efficiency of using a job board. Job boards store all applicant data in one system, making it easy to reference. Plus, you might be managing different types of content on social media, like employer branding content to attract passive job seekers, along with ones that more directly appeal to job seekers.

Recruitment and talent acquisition professionals should look for software platforms that increase efficiency and make it easier to analyze results. That might mean using more traditional social media marketing software that helps you organize your social media content and review results. You also might use recruiting software that makes it easy to share job openings on social media.

Case Study: CVS Health Uses TikTok for Hiring

One advantage of social media recruiting is that it can be easier to target passive job seekers, especially if you’re able to pay for social media ads that enable you to get your content in front of your desired audience.

That’s what CVS Health did when using TikTok for hiring. The company worked with Recruitics to reach passive job seekers through targeted ads. The used geographic areas that corresponded to locations where CVS had the greatest hiring need. And CVS was able to collect candidate information through in-app lead generation forms at a cost of $20.60 per lead.

“The authentic content in the creative appealed to the target audience with a hiring announcement and encouraged them to fill out an instant form to express their interest,” TikTok explains in a case study.  

A Mixed Approach

Both job boards and social media have their advantages and disadvantages. Take a mixed approach to tap into the strengths of both.

“Like all marketing strategies (and let’s face it, recruitment IS marketing), a multi-faceted approach works best. Use all the tools in your tool belt. This could also include networking, employee referrals, joining professional associations, optimising the careers section of your website and developing your employer brand,” notes a LinkedIn newsletter from recruitment marketing expert Leanne Hayter.

That said, you don’t necessarily need an exact 50/50 split. Consider what your hiring goals look like and how they align with your organization’s resources. For example, if you have a small HR team but enough budget to post job ads, that might make it easier to scale hiring. 

But if you have a larger TA team, that might prompt your organization to shift more toward social media. Here, you can play the long game by building up your company’s reputation to attract high-quality passive job seekers.

For a comprehensive list of the top job boards—along with many other tools to help with your recruitment efforts, visit our marketplace now. Happy hiring!

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