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Why you should use free job posting sites

Rob Long
Rob Long

Rob Long is CRO at Workable. He's a former recruiter who writes mostly about hiring best practices.

free job posting sites

Job boards are not dead. Free job boards are not a waste of time.

I’ve heard it said that recruiters shouldn’t use free job posting sites because:

  • the candidates from them aren’t qualified;
  • it’s simply too time consuming to post to free job boards; and,
  • it’s difficult to manage responses to candidates.

This is wrong. It’s poor advice. And if you follow it, it could damage your business.

Free job posting sites should absolutely be part of your recruiting strategy. Let me explain why and debunk some of this harmful rhetoric:

You will find qualified candidates using free job sites.

It’s often said that you can’t rely on free job posting sites to bring you qualified candidates. One recent stat I read claimed over half of candidates from free job boards are underqualified. But, wait a minute, that means nearly half of the candidates I get (for free) are qualified for my job? That seems like a pretty decent return on zero dollars.

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You don’t have to be overwhelmed by all the applicants.

If you’re screening resumes using your inbox or spreadsheets or a clunky Applicant Tracking System (ATS) with a poor user experience, it’ll be overwhelming and time-consuming to review all the applications you’ll get.

But this is why your recruiting software should be easy to use. An ATS should enable you to screen resumes faster, spend more time evaluating candidates and spend less time clicking buttons and switching screens.

You can notify all applicants of your hiring decision, and rejections don’t have to be cold and impersonal.

Since you will get so many applicants from free job boards, some say you:

  • Won’t be able to notify all of them of your decision, and this will damage your employer brand.
  • If you do send rejection emails, they’ll come across as cold or impersonal, and this again damages your employer brand.

I think I’ll file both of these arguments under ‘P’ for patronizing.

The answer to this is simple. Send notification emails. Don’t be in the 39 percent of companies who aren’t notifying candidates when they are rejected. It’s not the free job boards’ fault when companies don’t notify candidates. This doesn’t mean you have to write an essay to each applicant. Above all, they will appreciate hearing back in a timely fashion.

Good recruiting software should make sending rejection emails to every candidate easy so it isn’t a draining chore that prevents you from maintaining your employer brand. If you’re struggling with how to write a rejection email that people won’t hate, we have some templates that might help.

A lower conversion rate is no reason to avoid free job sites.

I’ve been a recruiter. Even with all the drip mails and automation in the world, it still takes longer to find, reach out to, hear back from and engage one great sourced candidate than it takes to screen two job-board applicants. I could probably screen 152 in that time.

I’m not saying don’t source candidates (I’ll get to that later.) But to only source, just because the conversion rate of sourced candidates is higher, is nonsense and means you’re missing out on qualified applicants.

Free job boards help you build your candidate database

When you’re using spreadsheets or a clunky ATS, it’s true that having more candidates makes hiring more complex. The answer to that isn’t to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

If your recruitment software is preventing you from getting qualified candidates from free job sites because it’s too hard to separate them from the under-qualified ones, take a look at your recruitment software, not the job board.

And finally, I’ve heard:

“Avoid free job sites and focus all your time on sourcing.”

No. Just no. This is the worst.

No channel reaches every candidate, passive or otherwise. You’re better off having a mix of channels in your recruiting strategy, where you don’t say “no” to candidates from free job boards who could be relevant and are actively seeking jobs (which is good.) Good people look for jobs, too. And good people look on job boards.

Absolutely get referrals, they are a brilliant source of hires.

Absolutely do some sourcing, some roles may need it.

Absolutely use recruiters when you need their support, maybe for tough roles or a temporary boost in hiring capacity.

Absolutely use job boards. Absolutely use free job boards. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Your recruiting software should let you to do all of those easily in one place.

If your recruiting software is limiting your recruiting strategy and you’d like to find out why 6,000 companies have already switched to using Workable, we’d love to speak to you.

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