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Does anyone advertise jobs in newspapers anymore?

Christine Del Castillo
Christine Del Castillo

Former Community Manager at Workable specialized in employee experience, talent brands and our event series, Workable Ideas.

Remember when the classifieds section of the local paper was the obvious place to look for a job?  Back at the dawn of the new millennium, the printed “Help Wanted” section was effective recruitment advertising for employers and one of the revenue mainstays of the newspaper industry. But it turned out that what job ads (and the revenue they brought) could lift up, they could also bring crashing down. As employers and job seekers alike migrated to the internet, the performance of printed job ads declined. 

Eventually, the two biggest online job boards, Monster and CareerBuilder, took in more job posting revenue than all the newspapers in the United States. Newspapers and job boards went head to head in the recruitment space for years until finally they joined forces. Monster and CareerBuilder now power the job boards of thousands of newspaper sites and provide options for newspaper job ads.

Today’s online newspaper job ads can be just as effective as an ad in any popular job board and can be discovered in job search engines like Indeed. As for print employment advertising: the fact that some careers advice states that job seekers should start here, because there’s less competition, should give you pause for thought — this is not the most promising place for employers. However, there are some niche scenarios where print ads can be useful. To help you decide where to invest your recruitment dollars, we’ve discussed these below. We’ve also included details about the reach, cost and logistics for both print and online employment advertising.

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Who will see your newspaper job ads?

Print newspaper advertising has a limited geographic reach. For example, if you’re posting a job ad in the print issue of the Boston Globe the readers of that issue will likely be in Boston and Boston’s surrounding cities. In smaller cities, where people are more reliant on one local newspaper, or in specific industries, this type of job advertising can work.

Online job ads enable recruiters to cast a wider net. Monster’s job ads, for example,  reach over a thousand newspaper sites, plus the option of some print newspapers, in the US and many other countries around the world.

Related: The best places to post your job openings

When does it make sense to invest in a print job ad?

Nearly half of all candidates in the service industry and in heavy industry (mining, shipping, machinery manufacturing) use local print newspapers to search for jobs. To target candidates in specific industries, you might want to think about trade publications in addition to, or instead of, a local daily newspaper. Small weekly newspapers may also be a good bet. A print ad in a newspaper may also be effective for promoting recruitment events for a mass audience, such as a local job fair.

How much does newspaper advertising cost?

Purchasing an ad in printed newspapers may be costly on its own, but more affordable when purchased with an online newspaper ad. Print ads are often priced by “column inch,” a system of measurement carried over from the days of manual typesetting.

RelatedWhat’s the best day to advertise job openings?

Let’s say you’re running a three column ad that is five inches long (15 column inches), priced at $30 per column inch. That ad by itself costs $450.00. But many employers end up tacking on additional costs: The cost of a designer to design the ad, and the cost of a media buying agency to negotiate the best deals, place the ads in the right categories, and manage all other publishing logistics. Price sheets will vary from newspaper to newspaper. Here’s a list of print newspaper advertising rates by state.

If you’re purchasing an online newspaper ad, you may find that your newspaper is a partner of a big job board like CareerBuilder. For example, if you want to buy a job ad in The Baltimore Sun, you can get a package that includes a print ad in the newspaper’s Sunday issue, free design templates, and an 30-day online ad in for $579.00.

For comparison, you can check out The New York Times, which has an online only recruitment package, including a social media boost, at a similar price point. Their partner for this product is RealMatch.

How much time is needed to publish newspaper job ads?

Job ads in online newspapers can go up fairly quickly, after a review process ranging from a few hours to one or two business days. Job ads in a printed newspaper are subject to publishing deadlines. You may also have to wait a week if you’re posting in a weekly supplement such as the Sunday issue of the newspaper.

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