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Job Boards & the Candidate Experience

By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech

Much of the current commentary about the candidate experience focuses on marketing as a tool for promoting useful relationships with prospects. And of course, there’s no doubt that recruitment marketing, corporate career sites and candidate relationship management platforms are effective tools in creating an optimal candidate experience. They are not, however, the only vehicles for doing so. Recruitment advertising sites – that’s right, job boards – can also play a role.

Job boards have a very narrow definition among most recruiting and HR professionals. They are, as one source put it, “a website where employers can go to advertise their open positions and job seekers can go to search for open positions.” No argument there. But how that advertising is done and what else a site does for job seekers has an impact on their experience, and that’s true regardless of how effective an employer’s marketing may be.

So, what are the best ways to optimize a candidate’s experience on a job board? TAtech continuously conducts flash surveys of key segments of the online recruiting industry to tap their views on important topics, and we asked some of the best general purpose and niche job boards to answer that question. To get the most fulsome perspective on the subject, however, we asked them to address three issues.

But first, my thanks to all of those who answered the survey, including:
• Mike Corso, President
• Said Eastman, CEO
• Stephane Jean, VP Jobillico
• Roger Lear, CEO
• Joe Stubblebine, CRO Lensa

Here are some of their replies.

What does the candidate experience encompass on a job board?

“As job boards continue to differentiate themselves, predictive hiring tools, career-pathing recommendations, career-related advice and content, educational opportunities, smart-matching and quick-apply tools have simplified the process of generating applicants for employers and helping jobseekers become more educated on the process of job search.”

“The candidate experience means vetted jobs and employers; a place to create, store and track resumes along with the jobs they’ve applied to; and, no less important, reachable support from the site (e.g., for a job seeker who forgot their password).”

“There has to be something more than a job ad to optimize a candidate’s experience. Content, newsletters and other sources of information. It’s all about building a community that enables job seekers to feel safe and proud of belonging to it.”

“Content, events, digital interactions that are relevant to a specific community of job seekers and makes them feel as if they have a career, professional or even a geographic home.”

“The site should provide content and other resources that take care of a person’s entire career life cycle or at least more steps in the journey so that it serves them when they’re looking for a job and when they aren’t.”

Have job seeker’s expectations of what their experience on a job board should be changed over the past 2-3 years?

“For many job seekers, the job board isn’t a specific site anymore; it is the jobs they can access as they go about their day. It could be, for example, the jobs they find in their Tik Tok feed that originated from a job board but they don’t really care as long as they can apply quickly and easily … which should be something that happens in the next few years.”

“I think during the last 2 years of the pandemic, more people have come to want community because of the isolation, not just a cold listing of jobs. Optimally, they are looking for a place where they can feel as if they’re among their peers and not simply just another job seeker on the hunt for work.”

“Unfortunately, a lot of job seekers have acquired bad habits and unrealistic expectations over the past two years. On the one hand, some have turned into click machines, applying to every opening that sounds interesting regardless of their qualifications, while on the other hand, they are increasingly disenchanted with the silence they get from employers after they apply.”

“Job seekers are now like consumers. They are very well informed, they know exactly what they are looking for, they strongly prefer authenticity, and they expect to be cared for 100%, from A to Z.”

“With the proliferation of niche sites, vertical sites, aggregators, lead gen sites, and other kinds of employment sites, jobseekers are inundated with more non-matching jobs, jobs in zip codes that are not relevant to them, gig jobs (when they’re looking for a full time position) and even surveys disguised as jobs to generate leads for employers. As a consequence and whether they expect to or not, job seekers need to work harder to separate the wheat from the chaff in their job alerts.”

What can or should employers/advertisers be doing to optimize the candidate experience on the job boards they use?

“Stop asking job seekers to enter information that is already on their resume.”

“Stop trying to game the job seeker’s starting salary by putting the real pay for the job in ads.”

“Add a section to your job description that spells out the SVP – Seeker Value Proposition or what’s in it for them.”

“Make sure that both job ad content and the application process is “mobile friendly.”

“Respond to the candidates who apply for their jobs, confirm the receipt of each person’s application and show them the simple courtesy of thanking them for their interest.”

“Be more creative in the development of their job ads. Such ads are not position descriptions; they are sales literature and should be crafted with that in mind. The goal isn’t to inform a prospect about an opening, but instead to use language, perspective and information in such a way that a top prospect is compelled to apply.”

“While many employers still make direct buys with specific job board brands, the evolution of programmatic buying and job exchanges have made it easier for employers to post a job in one location, and the job will automatically be distributed to hundreds of job boards, ensuring that employers can reach large pools of jobseekers across multiple niche and general sites. Clear and concise job descriptions, with a clean and easy apply process can help reduce apply friction and help employers get a better ROI by converting more job views (i.e., clicks) into applications.”

Food for Thought,

Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can download his latest book – The Neonaissance – for free at