Social Media and Job Boards: Why Online Recruiters Need Both


Social media isn’t replacing the job board, regardless of what some detractors say. Job boards are still the first place active job hunters go, and social networks like LinkedIn are usually used in conjunction with, rather than in place of, job boards. Suppose discover on LinkedIn that someone in your network has shared a job vacancy. Chances are, that job is listed on a job board and that’s where you’ll go if you want to apply.

Sure, “everyone” uses LinkedIn (and Facebook), but when it comes to selecting job candidates, employers want resumes rather than LinkedIn profiles, and this is exactly what job boards provide for employers. Furthermore, communicating directly with someone over LinkedIn can be clunky and slow, while the best job boards make easy communication with applicants a priority.

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There’s no question that social media has been widely adopted in job boards’ strategy to reach good job candidates, but social media isn’t competition for job boards. In fact, social media is a terrific supplement to job boards, and can help employers reach elusive passive job candidates.

In an Either-Or Situation, People Choose Job Boards

Social media can be a time-sink, for both users and for employers looking for job candidates. Significant time must be spent determining the best content to post for maximum results, and you simply can’t let social media participation go stale, lest everyone forget about you.

But social media users generally aren’t on Facebook (or even LinkedIn) to look for jobs. A Pew Research Center study found that two-thirds of people use social media to keep in touch with family and friends. Job boards are efficient, and require less of a time investment than a social media strategy. Job boards are where people go when they want a job, and a 2012 multi-generation survey found that most job seekers across all generations rely on them as their prime resource.

Social Media and Passive Job Candidates

While active job hunters and job boards go together naturally, social media can be a terrific resource for targeting passive job candidates. Social media allows an employer’s recruiting team to research shortlist job candidates and approach them personally. Now there are so-called people aggregators designed to collect publicly available social media profile information to help employers locate possible passive job candidates. With passive job candidate, employers have to be more forward in order to find and get to know them, and social media is good for that. But by no means does that take away from the importance of job boards.

Winning Hearts and Minds with Social Media

Some of the world’s major brands use social media for brand building, and this can lay a solid platform for their hiring pushes. Once brands raise their profile on social media and win the hearts and minds of people there, they increase the chances of bringing social media followers to their job boards and of followers sharing job information with their own friends. A solid social media strategy brings in candidates who previously may never have known about the opportunities on your job board. Of course, this takes time and effort, and a heavy-handed approach generally won’t work. But a social media strategy that meshes with your job board can improve both your social media standing and your job board’s success.

Tips for the Job Board-Social Media Relationship

Social media is about sharing, so you want to avoid simply posting an endless stream of jobs, because they’ll all begin to look alike and be easier to overlook or ignore. Offer industry news and useful information, interspersed with a few important job listings, and be sure to engage with social media fans and followers.

Social media users consider their social sites as conversational rather than one-way. If they see your social media strategy as just another ad platform, they’ll stop following you, or stop paying attention to your posts. Know what your specific objectives are, and tailor your social media strategy accordingly. You don’t have to use every social media platform out there – two or three are fine, particularly at first. And be sure to take advantage of the free analytics offered on these platforms (like Facebook Insights) to learn what works best for your brand and what doesn’t.

Social media is an important part of online recruiting, but it isn’t everything. It isn’t a killer of job boards, but rather part of an important symbiosis where social media and job boards keep each other thriving and growing. Social media platforms are about sharing, and job boards provide some of that content. The most successful job boards are found alongside blogs, industry news, and other relevant content. Social media simply extends this capacity, allowing job boards to reach further.

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