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Choosing a job board to post your job ads is like choosing in which TV show you want a slot for your commercial. Of course you aren’t selling fast food or the latest and greatest cologne, you are selling an employment opportunity; however, in either case, audience is everything. Would an informed marketing agency pay the big bucks to advertise their blood pressure medication on the Cartoon network? We think not.

Who is watching this show? How will the audience perceive your “products”? How much should you invest? These are the questions you can ask yourself in the job board selection process too.

Here are some tips as job board connoisseurs to help you make the best investment:

1. Don’t ask about traffic.
Start with the “who?” instead of the “how many?”. What types of candidates do you want to attract? Beyond some of the basic hiring goals (skill set, seniority, type of contract, etc.), do not forget to align with the overall recruitment strategy such as diversity and inclusion.

Based on that, instead of asking how much traffic the site has, be more specific. You are not interested in attracting healthcare job seekers if you are looking for tech professionals. Here are a few suggestions you can ask to better gauge if this job board is a good fit:

Top 10-15 searched terms
You can better understand why types of candidates are spending the most time and energy on the site by knowing what the audience is searching the most. For example, if a marketing job board’s most popular search terms are “marketing coordinator” or “associate”, you can extrapolate that this job board will give you access to more entry-level candidates.

Profile of registered users
Do not be afraid to be specific. If you are looking to fill management roles with an MBA requirement, then ask for the number of registered accounts with an MBA degree in their resume.

Verify their website titles
A domain name with “Florida” in it doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority of the job seekers are coming from Florida. A website with women in tech in the tagline does not guarantee their actual audience falls into that demographic. Their content strategy may attract the wrong group. It is hard to know for sure, so do not hesitate to double check and ask some questions about their user demographics and profiles.

2. Do ask how job seekers can find your job posting
Writing and posting job descriptions can be a time-consuming process⎼make sure job seekers will actually be exposed to them. Each job board may have a different algorithm, however when it comes to the search results the following factors are almost invariably contributing factors:

Keyword match
No secret sauce here. What job seekers put in the little white search box must match your job description. Yet, the way each job board finds that keyword in your job description may be different. Some only look at the job title, while others may take into account just the first paragraph and even the keyword density of the entire job description. Depending on how many sites you are working with, either customize for each or write a one-size-fits-all.

Job alert criteria
Many active candidates choose to sign up for job alerts. In some cases, to be displayed in the job alerts, there is specific information the job ad needs to include. The common ones are job level, salary, location, and contract type.

3. Do negotiate
“If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” Like any other salesperson, your account manager needs to meet a quota at the end of the month or quarter. Well, no surprise if you get a better deal at those times.

If you are paying to own a specific slot on the job board, ask to be in the first 3 positions. On Google, the possibility of someone clicking on the second-page result drops to 6% compared to 70% for the first page. Job seekers are more patient, but the drop is still significant if they cannot find you on the first page. If that is not an option, see if you can get rebates or trials of other product offerings if it’s a pay-for-performance model, or discounts on postings if it’s a flat-rate.

Final word
It might be overwhelming if you are just beginning to explore job boards outside of your career site and the aggregator giants like Indeed. However, your hard work will pay off when you get less unqualified and irrelevant candidates in your inbox while fewer dollars are being spent.

Time to roll up your sleeves, put on your thinking caps, and get to researching!

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