The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

Recruitment Buzz Panel: Job Boards versus Social Media: What’s your take?


This week we have set to unmask the opinions of our panellists on the subject of ‘Job Boards versus Social Media: What’s your take?’ Read on to find out the thoughts of these true thought leaders from within the Recruitment industry…

Lee Biggins | Managing Director | CV Library

‘Job boards and social media work in very different ways. This is what the recruitment industry needs to concentrate on; not whether one is replacing the other or not.

I personally haven’t seen enough proof (yet) that social media can ever be a primary channel for recruitment campaigns. Yes, it’s great for branding and candidate engagement but for direct responses to job adverts it is still very poor. Ultimately, this is because it isn’t there for that reason.

There’s no doubt that social media is on everyone’s minds and it’s important to be aware of it. However, the time and resource it takes to put together a successful recruitment campaign, solely via social media channels, is better invested in direct response models. I don’t suggest you should ignore social media completely; CV-Library for example, has introduced a social job posting service, so clients can now automatically share their jobs on Twitter and LinkedIn. We’ve also built a very strong presence on social media and regularly engage with our users via these platforms.

I believe that we shouldn’t get carried away with the social media hype and we need to remember that the most engaged job seekers are the ones using job boards, not the ones logging in to Facebook to check their news feed.’


Tony Restell | Founder |

‘Much of the debate around job boards and social media has missed the key point.

When job boards first came on the scene and devastated the newspaper industry, they did so by allowing recruiters to do what they had previously been doing, only far cheaper and in a far more responsive way. Shortlists could be generated for hundreds of pounds rather than thousands – and campaigns could be live within hours of a new requirement being decided upon.

The situation today with job boards and social media is completely different. When I speak to employers using social media to recruit, no-one tells me the job boards on these social sites are strong performers. Quite the opposite. So social media isn’t allowing recruiters to do what they’d previously been doing, just more cheaply and in a more responsive way.

Rather, social media has made possible a whole new method of recruiting: a hybrid of direct marketing to candidates and candidate sourcing. If you want to reach out to active jobseekers, job boards remain the best way of doing this. But if you need to approach more passive candidates, recruitment firms are no longer your only option – and social has made it possible for more requirements to be filled with such targeted approaches to passive candidates by reducing the costs of doing this.’


Liz Longman | Managing Director | TEAM

‘With the ever changing world of recruitment will social media out do the job boards?  I don’t think so.  Social media can be a fantastic tool for searching for candidates but some recruiters have discussed with me potential candidates are ‘fed up’ of receiving unsolicited emails offering jobs.  Some recruiters just use twitter to tweet out their jobs, doesn’t that then become boring?  Will the job board survive?  Yes I think it will but will use Social Media to enhance their offering.’


Johnny Torrance-Nesbitt | MBA | Former Director of Employment Branding & University Relations, Monsanto USA (Corp. Hdqts)

‘In today recruitment world social media trumps job boards, for a number of reasons: costs, reach, and channels of communication, and engaging passive candidates.

Before the rise of social media, big job boards such as Monster, Career Builder, etc provided a platform for reaching active job candidates. Companies generally bought costly job packages for periods ranging for 30 days or longer as well as database access for the Recruiting team.

Social media is now cheaper than purchasing bundles of job board pacts; it reaches millions of people rather than just the active job seeking population and it allows for different levels of engagement/communication with them (i.e., private messages, likes, etc.)                      

Most importantly, social media allows Employers to reach the wider audience of passive candidates. In turn, Employers can also use a social media platform to engage connections/friends of individuals (see Work4Labs –Facebook’s #1 Recruiting Solution Application).’


Alasdair Murray | Freelance Copywriter and former recruitment marketing Ad Agency Account Director

‘Coming from a recruitment advertising/media background, I’ve always been an advocate of a targeted, rather than a big numbers, scattergun approach. I know it’s possible to target to a degree via social media, but if I were the advertiser I’d still question each person’s reason for being there, i.e. are the people who fit your candidate profile on Facebook or Twitter (Linkedin to me isn’t a social network) there looking for jobs or merely to follow celebs or chat with their mates?

With job boards, all they tout is jobs, so you can be relatively sure your message will be seen by a cross section of relevant people who are actively scanning the jobs market. Social media, on the other hand, assumes you’ll reach the people you want to, but without any certainty of why they are using the medium or whether they welcome or are annoyed by unsolicited intrusions.’


Ann Swain, Chief Executive of The Association of Staffing Companies (APSCo)

‘It’s clear that the usage of social networks in recruitment has increased exponentially but in support of, rather than instead of, established job board activity. In fact our members are reporting significant rises in job board usage too. For example, Broadbean reports that between April 2011 to April 2013 there was a 259% increase in vacancies placed on social media and a 126% increase on those placed on niche job boards. The responses to these vacancies in the same period were up 2131% for social media and up 524% for the niche job boards. So this suggests the development of a symbiotic and constructive relationship rather than something more exclusive, and I’m sure we’ll see a gradual evolution of the job board and the social media network as each realises and develops its relative strengths. The recruitment world is increasingly interactive and holistic and it’s the people and organisations who can harness and harmonise all the various streams, the best of which, will win though.’


Phil Owers | Managing Director | PapirFly

‘We should start by asking why the question is Job Boards vs. Social Media? Why does it have to be one or the other and not both? From a pure recruitment point of view organisations need to go where the best candidates are and not be limited to one channel unless it’s guaranteed they will always find them in that one place (good luck with that).

From an Employer Brand point of view, there are opportunities to present your messages on Job Boards but Social Media provides richer opportunities for branding and two way conversations with your target audience(s) bringing them closer to understanding you, even helping them to self-select.

Understanding whether Job Boards or Social Media are right for your hiring needs on a particular occasion will all be down to research and planning, hopefully based on good analytics from success gone before, but I don’t think you should limit yourselves.’


Mike Taylor | Founder | Web Based Recruitment

‘Job Boards versus Social Media is a difficult one to measure unless you know exactly where your successes come from. I would say that social media has been very beneficial for job boards as it has allowed them to extend their reach down many different channels that weren’t available four or five years ago. A lot of people may first find out about a job through a job posting link on social media and then go to the job board to apply. If you then ask them how did they find out about their new job some will say though social media and some will probably say through a job board!’


Andy Headworth | Sirona Consulting Ltd

‘It should actually be job boards AND social media – how can they work better together. Job boards are an essential part of the ‘finding a job’ ecosystem and social media is now main stream. Yet only a few job boards have invested the time and money to understand how best to tap into using social media effectively.

For me, where the overlap occurs is with the CV Database searches the boards offer – good social search skills is, in my opinion, a much more cost effective way of finding candidates.

I think there is a fear of innovation within the job boards. Some are different and are watching trends of technology and social platform use and adjusting their offering accordingly – Jobsite are a good example of this. Social media could be a real enabler for the boards – it’s just a shame that many can’t see it!’


Ian Knowlson | Managing Director | Selling Success

‘Job boards are overwhelmingly the domain of the active job seeker, even if it is only a cursory look, the viewer has made a positive intent to review the online jobs available.

Social media however is about building your corporate brand, positioning yourself as a subject matter expert and engaging with the passive job seeker. This is where most agencies fall down. Typically they only use it to broadcast a stream of jobs, very unengaging.

As we move towards a future with a Gen-Y dominant labour-force and unprecedented global skill shortages (Europe 23m skilled workers by 2020, China 140m by 2030) and War-on-Talent will heat up.  Resourcing tools, such as social media that enable recruiters to access the passive job seeker, will be essential for both companies and agencies alike.’


Mervyn Dinnen | Content & Community Manager | Jobsite

‘According to our latest quarterly, independent research Job boards remain the number 1 route to market for job seekers, with around 80% consistently using them, whilst 46% also use social networking, a figure largely unchanged over the last 18 months.

On the recruiter side around 35% use social channels to recruit, whilst 45% expect a social media offering from their job boards.

Our most recent research also showed that 72% of job seekers are active Facebook users with over half using it on a daily basis. Twitter was the second most used channel (31%) with LinkedIn (maybe surprisingly) third with 27%, although when it came to following companies through social media  it was Twitter that proved more popular than Facebook.

So first off I think it’s safe to conclude that Job Boards and Social Media aren’t an either/or but two separate routes to market that can work in unison. In fact it would seem that job seekers and recruiters want and expect that!

Both offer different ways to access available opportunities which, after all, is what job seekers really want. The job board gives them live vacancies to search, companies to research and (by uploading their CVs) a way to be found by hiring companies, all proactive methods to be on top of the search…whilst social media offers the opportunity to connect, converse, research, follow and put themselves on the radar of companies, whether they are hiring or not.

Both will live happily side by side for some time yet!’


Mike Gorshkov | Director | Linearesourcing

‘Job boards still have a place thanks to the breadth of opportunities they offer candidates, however, candidates are becoming disengaged by unexciting content in job adverts and a lack of personality in the application process. People want to view as much information and content in one place as possible and then share it easily with their community; this is where social media really comes into its own as a recruitment channel, not as a platform for job postings, but as a tool to encourage engagement and affinity with employer brands.  

Although both social media and job boards clearly have a place in the recruitment process, job boards will need to drastically improve their offering to challenge the convenience and reach of social media.’