Recruitment advertising is a funny old business. You put together your best job advert, stick it up on a jobs board and then cross your fingers that the job board promotes it across the industry and the right candidates apply.

But what if that doesn’t happen. What if you don’t get the ideal candidates applying. Or you don’t get any candidates applying at all. Where does the blame lie? Is it the job board’s fault and is it a sign that the job board in question just hasn’t performed? Or does the blame lie closer to home?

Well, as you can imagine, this is a bit of tricky one for a number of reasons. Firstly, when it comes to job boards, just like any other form of advertising, there are no guarantees. With recruitment advertising, it’s all about the current market, whether the candidates you’re looking for are actually pro-actively searching for a new job at that time and whether they actually come across your ad and want to apply.

Of course, it’s a job board’s responsibility to promote your vacancy and to try and make sure your ideal candidates see it – but if we take a step back and think about for a moment – that’s really all they can do.

At its heart, a job board is just an advertising platform – it’s a place where you can post your vacancy and where candidates can apply. It’s not a pro-active recruiter who can target specific candidates and convince them to apply – and it’s definitely not a recruiter who can decide not to put a CV forward for a role because it’s not suitable.

All a job board can do is promote your vacancy and provide the platform for candidates to apply. Yes, screening questions can be put in place in an attempt to encourage only relevant candidates to apply – but they rely on the candidate answering them honestly – and unfortunately, not all job seekers are honest when it comes to applying for vacancies.

job boardLike I said earlier; it’s a job board’s responsibility to promote your vacancy and to essentially get eyes on your adverts – so in this respect, it’s the view count that really matters. In most instances, the more views an ad gets on a job board, the more applications it receives – but if your ad has received lots of views but hardly any apps, the blame could lie with you and your business, rather than the job board itself.

A job board can only work with what you give them, so while they might be able to steer lots of prospective candidates towards your ad, if the copy of the ad just isn’t exciting and appealing, you’re going to have an issue.

Like I mentioned in a previous blog, a job board can lead a horse to water but it can’t make them drink – and by that I mean a jobs board can drive a candidate to your advert but it can’t make them apply – that lies with the copy of the ad, the reputation of your company and the way you’re presenting yourself on that particular platform.

Of course, as this post is being written by someone who works for a job board, it might sound like I’m trying to pass the buck a bit here… but I’m simply stating the facts. With job boards, it can be easy to just judge its effectiveness on the number of apps you receive – but I’d really urge you to rethink this state of mind.

Yes, the number of apps are always going to play a part – but if you’ve posted the same ad on multiple boards and you’re not getting any apps through any of them, it suggests there’s a problem with the ad you’re using, rather than the boards themselves.

Coming back to the question of how you can measure the effectiveness of a job board, like I said before, it’s important to consider the stats for both views and apps on your ad – but I’d also look at the wider picture. Consider the quality and relevancy of the apps you received and how much sorting of CVs you had to do before you came up with your final list. For instance, you may have only got three applications from one job board, but if they were all relevant and you want to interview them all, I’d say that job board is definitely more effective than another which has given you 30 apps – only one of which was relevant in any way.

It’s also worth looking at what the job board said it was going to do and what it has actually done in terms of promoting your vacancy, how helpful they were in helping you to create your account and post your vacancies initially – and if they alerted you to the fact that your ads weren’t performing.

If they did alert you to the fact your ads weren’t doing great, consider how they suggested improving the ad to attract more views and apps and if this improved the performance at all. The most effective job boards will work to ensure your vacancies get the attention they deserve and will also work with you to make sure your ads performs as well as they can.

It’s also worth considering how well the ads have performed on other platforms – and how the job board in question stacks up against others you’ve used in terms of performance, price and overall attitude. Sometimes you’ll find that the niche boards (like Bubble) may work out more expensive than more generalist boards, but if they can deliver quality, relevant apps and lots of ad views, I’d say they’re definitely worth considering in terms of a long-term partnership.

As ever; I’m keen to hear what you think on this issue. Do you agree that it’s unfair to judge a job board on the number of apps you receive alone? Or do you still think this should be the main performance indicator for job boards? Leave me a comment below.

Read more: