March 31, 2014

The Bogus-ness of Indeed.com

Filed under: Job scams, Job Search, Q&A, Recruiting, Stuff I worry about, Stupid HR Tricks

In the April 2, 2014 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a reader asks me to stop dissing job boards:

You claim that job boards don’t work. Yet virtually every job in the world is advertised on job boards, and employers use job boards all the time! Just look at all the traffic they get. I think you’re missing the boat — please admit that there’s plenty of evidence the job boards do work!

Nick’s Reply

Here’s the problem with job boards today: None of them offer any evidence that they work.

What does it mean that “they work?” It means they actually match people with jobs. You know: find jobs for people and find people for jobs.

Indeed-infographicAbout.com says, “The best sites for finding job listings in 2014 will help you find the most current job openings fast” (about.com). Finding job listings is one thing. But if job boards actually work, they should be able to show they are the cause of hires. They claim they are, but they offer no evidence.

Let’s look at Indeed.com, which is referred to as “arguably (and probably) the largest job search engine” (DigitalTrends).

On March 27, 2014, Indeed published an article and infographic titled “How 140 Million Unique Visitors Use Indeed to Find Jobs.”

On its face, the title seems clear — it’s going to tell you how people found jobs using Indeed. But the infographic shows nothing of the sort. In fact, contrary to the misleading title, the graphic seems to be very careful not to claim Indeed actually fills jobs. Let’s look at the data presented in that infographic (click here to follow along). It tells us everything except whether Indeed works:

1. 140 Million unique visitors each month. So what? What does tracking unique visitors have to do with actually filling jobs? All this tells us is that lots of people go there.

2. “Traffic on Indeed has increased by 40% over the past year.” Again, so what?

3. “Each month, 72% of online job seekers in the US visit Indeed.” But, how many get jobs there? There’s no mention of that. I’m still waiting for how all those people use Indeed to actually find jobs.

4. “There are 25 million resumes on Indeed that employers search for free.” Those employers could be printing resumes to line bird cages. Where are the stats on how many people they hired? All this statistic tells us is that employers might be stupid. Judging from the rising complaints about “a talent shortage” from employers, it seems “free” is worthless. And employers are indeed sometimes stupid.

5. “Job seekers use the 4 million employer reviews to research companies.” So what? They use Google to do the same. Does Google claim it fills jobs? Do we see a trend here? Lots of data showing big numbers, which seem impressive by themselves — but no outcomes analysis.

6. “45% of Indeed searches come from mobile.” Yah, so? Every marketing program today includes the obligatory reference to “mobile.” But how many of those searches yield hires?

7. There are 16 million jobs on Indeed worldwide, and 8.2 added per second. But how many are filled by people searching for jobs on Indeed?

8. Indeed is available in 50+ countries in 28 languages. Perhaps translators are getting jobs. What are the success rates by country?

The infographic slams us with impressive statistics about web traffic, numbers of job postings and resumes, percentages of job seekers that visit — all kinds of data. Indeed concludes that “More people find jobs on Indeed than anywhere else.” After scanning the clever infographic, you probably believe it.

Well, I don’t. I think it’s all b.s. All I see is that lots of people find job listings on Indeed. (Oops, could that be what Indeed really means?)

In the midst of all this promotional “info” there is not one shred of data that tells us how many people actually got jobs on Indeed, or how many jobs employers filled on Indeed. “People find jobs on Indeed” clearly means they found job listings in Indeed. So what?

The infographic is bogus. Those numbers do not indicate success rates. It’s classic deception by distraction that convinces people to keep patronizing job boards.

My challenge to job boards

I challenge Indeed.com, and every other job board: Show us your job fill rates and the success rates of job seekers who use the service, and point us to your data. Indeed’s revenues are not public, but they must be staggering. The company clearly spends a lot on advertising and promotion. You’d think that if Indeed had a shred of evidence that its service actually works, it would be prominently displayed in the infographic.

Why isn’t it?

I can’t find one word about Indeed’s success metrics on its website. Can you? Indeed features an “Engineering Blog” on its site — posts about database technology — but nothing about outcomes analysis or success metrics.

My guess is that Indeed’s dirty little secret is that human resources departments dump billions of dollars into an empty hole, and that nobody really cares how many jobs Indeed (or any job board) actually fills — as long as the cash keeps rolling in.

The job boards “show us the money” because they’re making it hand over fist. But they don’t show us results.

My challenge to employers:

I’ll make a second challenge to employers: Pay a job board only after you make a hire through that board. Suddenly, job boards will be able to accurately track who got hired from where. And you’ll know where your money is going. (This is no different from this challenge to job boards that charge job seekers.)

Funny thing

Every job board executive I’ve ever talked to claims that “there’s just no way we can track actual hires — it’s too complicated.” Gimme a break. Web analytics is rocket science today — we can track virtually everything you do online — and there’s no way to figure out whether a job board was the cause of a job being filled? Wouldn’t the very best job service be designed to ensure it gathers the necessary data to prove it works? I mean, what are all those “data scientists” for, anyway?

I think the truth is simpler: Indeed.com and most of the other job boards (the bigger, the worse) use deceptive marketing tactics to imply bogus benefits. Certainly, they fill some jobs, but just because millions of people gamble doesn’t mean enough of them win to justify the practice. All it means is that the house wins.

While you keep job hunting, you generate more visits to Indeed.com, which yields dramatic increases in “the data” — and in the number of suckers born every minute.

Do job boards work? I’d love to hear from employers who actually know where their hires came from. Did you get a job through Indeed? What’s your best source of hires — or jobs?

: :

88 Comments on “The Bogus-ness of Indeed.com”
By Alison Green / Ask a Manager
April 1, 2014 at 2:21 am

Bravo, Nick. Indeed.com’s stats in no way back up their claims of being effective for job hunters or employers — they’re web traffic stats and nothing more. Web traffic has value, certainly — but it’s no indication of the type of success that job seekers and employers are looking for.

Job seekers who want to use online job postings (and I know you might argue against it altogether, pushing people to use their networks instead, but I think they have a place for junior and mid-level people) are far better served by using niche job boards that target specific fields.

By Bella
April 1, 2014 at 5:57 am

I equate job boards with reading the want ads. Indeed is tracking reader stats not employment stats. Reader stats are great for selling advertising space and future want ads but do they really provide value to an employer or job candidate.

Are those want ads just wasted space? Given the practice of folks posting false jobs for a variety of reasons I wonder how many of the jobs posted are real? When I see companies post the same job over and over again it demonstrates either high turnover or ‘trolling’ behavior in their organization. If the job turnover is high then how stable is the organization? If they are ‘trolling’ for job seekers, why?

There are so many ways to skew data and imply results that don’t exist. Reading is not the same as understanding what it is you read. Advertising hopes you won’t use mental energy to understand or look beyond their hype … interpretation of the data.

It they want a real outcomes then they need to treat the jobs as inventory and when a candidate is hired then it is considered sold. What you failed to mention is that often employers have a mandatory field on their applications where you must identify where the job applicant found the job. I wonder how many job candidates select Indeed? I wonder if this practice just keeps the churn churning?

By John Franklin
April 1, 2014 at 6:42 am

Kudos exponential, Nick. Well-done. There’s most certainly a difference between “finding” a job and actually LANDING one. I point out in my job-hunting seminars all the time that job boards are not only a waste of time for job seekers but that often the ads that are posted don’t even reflect real jobs. Companies want to repopulate their talent pools with fresh resumes to keep the database current – certainly helps those folks in HR keep THEIR jobs if they can point to regular responsibilities that need fulfilling – or they want to do data mining to get a sense of market salary expectations, frequently-used software programs (“Forty percent of our competitors are using Indesign now vs. QuarkXpress…”), or other pertinent information. I once had an interview where the first question was, “Tell us what’s wrong with our Web site and what trends you see in the industry.”). This would have been fine, but I wasn’t interviewing for a Web position. The question struck me as nothing more than an attempt to use the interview to gather information about what the company could do better, which pretty much told me the interview wasn’t serious and I had wasted my time. (They went with another candidate & I got the reject in record time, something that appeared to confirm my suspicion, although the fact that the hiring manager was reading the I interview questions from an HR-provided sheet of talking points also had a bit to do with it as well….)

But bottom line: You’re absolutely right. It’s not about how many jobs are filled; it’s about how many suckers can be conned into paying money and generating stats showing “hits” to the site. Anything other than a fill percentage is irrelevant to a job seeker and further proof he or she is wasting their time chasing ads on the Web.

By Emmie
April 1, 2014 at 6:48 am

I was just hired for a job I found on Monster. I agree that job boards are the equivalent of want ads, providing the postings but no added value. However, I would not have reached this company without the Monster posting. I would not expect much from the job boards but I would not exclude them from future job searches either.

By david
April 1, 2014 at 7:17 am

Hey Nick,
I finally found out indeed existed only last month and posted my hard to fill all commissions insurance sales job there. I received 47 applications from which i conducted 6 interviews, made 6 offers and hired one great agent. From the 6 interviews I’d still like to land 2 people. Indeed gave me a great guy to help me with ad writing and budgeting. These results cost me $500 for 30 days. I respect your opinion very much but so far i like indeed.

By Rajesh
April 1, 2014 at 7:19 am

Nick,

i work with a startup. So they do not have money to buy space on any job portal for job postings. Indeed provided me free job postings. with them I was able to close 15 positions in last 6 months. Some of them were hard to find skills. However I do go through each profile carefully. Give a call. Keep record of the interest of the candidate. So if something does not work out right now it sometimes works in future.

Job postings is a medium. But we have to do hard work ourselves.

By Howard Lee Harkness
April 1, 2014 at 7:44 am

As a contract software engineer, I have found the job boards useful.

The usefulness is a bit limited, of course. Essentially *all* of the listings on Dice, Monster, et.al. in my niche are placed by job shops (contract agencies). I’ve landed three of the last five contracts I have had through job shops, although only 3 of those shops actually bothered to establish a long-term relationship with me. I’m currently “between contracts” and those 3 shops are getting me the most quality leads.

Surely job shops find some value in the job boards, or they would not continue to pay for those services.

Since I’m not particularly desperate, and I’m getting some income and keeping busy freelancing, I’m being fairly picky about clients and rates, so it may be a while before I land another contract. Plus, I kinda like working under my own paper, so the shops have their work cut out for them — they have to do better than I can.

…which shouldn’t be too hard. While I’m a good programmer, I’m really not all that good at marketing. And, like I said, 3 of the last 5 contracts I’ve had have been through shops.

By Ian
April 1, 2014 at 7:45 am

I wanted to agree with Alison about niche job boards and how they work for hiring junior to mid level employees. I have received two jobs in my career from my industry’s job board, which helped me twice gain a foothold in new parts of the country where I did not have existing contacts. Once settled, I could leverage my network to find the next job. When I have been hiring, this job board has proven successful at attracting talent as well. Our institutional HR pages typically get clogged with submissions from applicants who are applying to every job in the organization; the industry board gives us targeted applicants.

As for Indeed, I have wasted many hours searching through listings and applying to jobs without ever scoring one phone interview. However, I was recently contacted by a headhunter who found my resume on the site. We’ll see what happens – though at this point in my career I have mostly moved on from using boards myself and am in a proactive-contact mode for consulting positions.

By Debra
April 1, 2014 at 8:00 am

This January I obtained two jobs through Indeed, one temporary and the permanent one I have now.

By Steven
April 1, 2014 at 8:03 am

Overall, job boards work very well for me. I had my resume posted on monster.com for just a few weeks, and I was recruited and hired for a full time tenured position at GE at twice my prior pay rate.

Now, I am in a phased retirement, but I still find temp contracts to work on. I found two lucrative contract positions on simplyhired.com. One of them actually found me and offered me a project the same way GE did.

The real problem with job boards is that countless unthinking recruiters find my resume, don’t understand what they read, and then ring my phone off the wall regarding jobs that I am not well qualified for or do not wish to relocate to. I have been forced to route all incoming calls to my answering machine and to screen calls via caller ID.

Also, simplyhired.com has more jobs posted for my engineering discipline than indeed.com ever does. I even ran a statistical comparison to test both of these leading “metasearch” engines, and indeed.com missed many postings that simplyhired.com found.

The time required is nil if email alerts are properly set up. I spend about 5 minutes a day scanning my email alerts from indeed and simplyhired.

I hope we never have to go back to the days before the power of computing!

But, what do I know? I am in a niche profession with a shortage of qualified professionals, so my experience may be different that that of other jobseekers. Not bragging. No offense – it is what it is.

By Marc Himmelberger
April 1, 2014 at 8:10 am

How about this…
EVERY EMPLOYER IS HIRING!

I’m no longer surprised by the number of professionals that don’t have a clue where their next position is coming from.

Been following you for years and I just believe what you have preached. NETWORK!

GOD Bless

Marc

By Suzie
April 1, 2014 at 8:37 am

Congrats to you who have used the job boards successfully. I have been out of work for over 6 months (not long compared to many others). I have not had any luck. Most of the jobs listed that I am qualified for end up leading right to an agency. ALL of the agencies I have contacted that are in my area(and I have contacted many) say they have nothing but manufacturing jobs. I have ended up taking those assignments because I need the money. The pay is usually less than $1 over minimum wage. So again I say congrats if they worked out for you.

By Chris Walker
April 1, 2014 at 8:47 am

In the careerXroads.com annual Sources of Hire survey for 2012 (the 2013 survey isn’t out yet), Indeed was identified as the source 5.2% of the time, Monster 2.1% and Careerbuilder 1.9%. They have a great business model don’t they? Job seekers go there not really expecting success.

If you’re gong to use Indeed, I recommend going to the Advanced Job Search options and and select ‘Employer web sites only’. That way you avoid all the scams, fake ads and the other junk that is aimed at job seekers. Or just use linkup.com. It only searches company sites by default. Employer sites are the second largest source (and fastest growing) according to careerXroads.

By Dee
April 1, 2014 at 8:57 am

I found my present position on Career Builder. For some, that is the best way to find open positions. My son found a job by networking.
Job boards are just a replacement for the newspaper want ad

By Gord M.
April 1, 2014 at 9:22 am

I love your suggestion. Pay the job board once you make a hire through that job board! That’s practical.

By Steven
April 1, 2014 at 9:25 am

I think it takes all methods to find a job these days. My approach is kind of geeked out. I distribute my time between the different lead sources according to the probability of success for each method.

I have also found jobs by networking, but part of my network came from job boards – and websites like LinkedIn.

And, although I am eternally grateful for the excellent professional recruiters that have helped me in the past, I will admit that I have been forced to block emails from some of the less competent recruiters who do things like shotgunning resumes, submitting resumes without permission, and stealing job leads.

By Ben J
April 1, 2014 at 9:28 am

I disagree with your conclusion because I disagree with your premise. You state “What does it mean that “they work?” It means they actually match people with jobs. You know: find jobs for people and find people for jobs.” That is what you do. I view job boards as the modern version of the Classified Ads in the newspaper. In this role, they do work.

Most of their claims are misleading or irrelevant, but so is most advertising.

Their search capability and email notification makes it so easy, why would you not use them as one of the tools in your search?

By Don Harkness
April 1, 2014 at 9:32 am

I think the point of this blog has always been where’s the best use of your time toward landing a key opportunity to move your career forward, whatever that means to different people.
Job boards are one tool among many, people do find and land jobs through them, and as a recruiter I find people by boards, e.g. Indeed.
But if you’re talking about serious career development and not tire kicking for a paycheck, the probability of landing meaningful building blocks in your career are about 80% through networking, 15% through recruiters (not mutually exclusive from the former) and the rest through other means which is where job boards fall. I wish I kept the reference for those stats, but I’ve been recruiting and job hunting for 10 years and I believe them. From what I see, job hunters flip the stats and spend 80% of their time or more where they have a 5% probability of success. and the job board’s chest pounding imply they are connected to the 80% probability side of the equation, encouraging people to lose a lot of valuable time messing with them.
Which is what I think is the point of this particular discussion

By Nick Corcodilos
April 1, 2014 at 10:03 am

@Ben J:

“Most of their claims are misleading or irrelevant, but so is most advertising.”

That’s my point. The fact that most advertising is misleading is no excuse.

“Their search capability and email notification makes it so easy, why would you not use them as one of the tools in your search?”

Why is ease of use a criterion for using a tool? A hammer is very easy to use. I’ve never seen a good dentist use one.

The point of my article is that, while job boards like Indeed (and Indeed is not alone) go to lengths to promote all sorts of statistics, none of the statistics are relevant to the quality of their product. I challenge the job boards to publish success rates, and I challenge employers to demand to see success rates. Otherwise, employers are throwing money in the dark.

By Harry Zeffer-Clark
April 1, 2014 at 10:06 am

Nick after my wife was let go from her company, I turned her on to your blog and got her a couple of your downloads. She had not looked for a job in 9 years(Miss “Find A Job While You Have One”). Job boards were like the old newspaper want ads, we tracked her resumes and made contact with someone in the company and also networking as we could. The job she is taking is nice and during the interview The Director of Programs came in,hugged her and said “long time no see”. NETWORK PEOPLE!!! ps. my sister recommended her to a VP she used to work with to start the process.

By Suzanne C.
April 1, 2014 at 10:08 am

I am sure they could work better than they do. I have never had any luck with them. If they did work, we would not see the unemployment rates that we see, we would not see the skills shortages that we see or bad matches. There is a lot of information that could be used for strategy and workforce planning, but it is really just a bunch of hype and phooey. We are a nation of untapped talent and wasted potential and we can’t afford to be that way.

By Howard Lee Harkness
April 1, 2014 at 10:13 am

“A hammer is very easy to use. I’ve never seen a good dentist use one.”

The implication that a dentist never uses a hammer is somewhat funny. You didn’t even limit it to use in the dentist’s practice (as opposed to home handiwork — actually, I once saw a dentist use a hammer in his office to hang his framed diploma).

But even so…

The Navy dentist who extracted my impacted wisdom teeth (a bit over 4 decades ago) used one on me, along with a chisel, in order to break them up for easier extraction. Granted, it was a very specialized hammer & chisel.

By Nick Corcodilos
April 1, 2014 at 10:32 am

@Howard: Thanks for that! :-)

By Robert
April 1, 2014 at 10:55 am

Nick,

Do a bit more research here. We have to distinguish between “opinion” and actual reality.

http://blog.indeed.com/2014/03/31/new-research-indeed-provides-more-hires-than-any-other-external-source/

Indeed has been named the #1 source of external hire for three years by multiple third party sources including Silkroad, iCIMS, and Newton Software. All this information is published on Indeed’s blog, and all this data is coming from third party sources.

I found my job on Indeed.

Thanks.

By LisaMBA09
April 1, 2014 at 11:18 am

I would also like to add to this list:
1. ZipRecruiter
2. Dice
I encourage everyone to ADD http://www.disconnect.com onto your computer and add DuckDuckGo as a search engine. Both track all the third party data tracking that is so insanely prevalent right now. Especially if you are applying through LinkedIn. My hackles stand on end with the excessive third party tracking that is occurring.
As Nick has repeatedly said time and again…work on your internal contacts, apply directly to the companies that are your best fit and be careful what you wish for when using these sites. Instead of using any of these sites, contact the local recruiters if you MUST use a recruiter to obtain your next position.
Just my thoughts and opinion.

By Matt B
April 1, 2014 at 12:28 pm

I have to disagree.. I like Indeed and know a lot of other people that do too. I found my job on Indeed within a few weeks. My employer is a large internet company and I know they don’t waste money on sources that don’t produce results.

So have these people:
http://gotajob.indeed.com/

By Kyle
April 1, 2014 at 12:50 pm

You only looked at the facts to spin it your way, Nick. There is another side supporting Indeed’s ability to drive hires that you chose not to only ignore, but to deny.

http://blog.indeed.com/2014/03/31/new-research-indeed-provides-more-hires-than-any-other-external-source/

http://www.icims.com/blog/post/2012/08/23/Where-Do-You-Find-Your-Best-Candidates

By Nick Corcodilos
April 1, 2014 at 12:50 pm

@Robert: I think it’s just as important to inspect the assumptions and numbers in those surveys.

CareerXroads produces a survey similar to that from SilkRoad each year, and the results mirror one another. But once again, the numbers are very deceptive.

Both studies break out “internal” and “external” hires. Yet, every position is required by law to be posted publicly. Thus, “internal” sources are merely another form of competition faced by job boards and other paid sources. Looked at that way, the “29% of external hires” delivered by Indeed is actually 29% of 41% of “all external hires.”

(If you disagree that the distinction between “internal” and “external” is bogus, put yourself in the position of the job hunter. When pursuing position X, you face competition from all job seekers, not just “external” ones or those online.)

Now we see that, according to the SilkRoad survey, Indeed.com actually delivers .29 X.41 or <12% of all hires -- far from the >30% Indeed shows on the graph you cite on Indeed’s own blog.

The problem is, Indeed is a job listing aggregator — it scrapes jobs from all other job boards. Employers really have no way of telling where a job or applicant really came from — because Indeed isn’t telling them. This duplication of job postings corrupts the pool and the “results.”

Now we’re arguing about how accurate <12% really is.

I repeat my challenge to any job board: Start publishing your own data about hires through your system. Clearly, third parties cannot capture the data that a job board can about its own transactions. Doesn’t it strike you as really odd that job boards don’t track their own success rates?

By Nick Corcodilos
April 1, 2014 at 12:57 pm

@Matt B: I’m not saying Indeed doesn’t fill jobs or that employers don’t use it. I’m saying it uses irrelevant marketing statistics to suggest how well it works, rather than actually gathering relevant data that reveal its success rates.

Your statement about your employer is a bit of a tautology: You’re claiming Indeed produces good results because your employer would not waste money on a source of hires that doesn’t produce results. That’s like saying gambling is the best way to make money because so many people gamble – how could they all be wrong?

By Trish
April 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I think if job boards work for you or not depends on: what industry you are in or trying to change careers and get in, what part of the country you live in, size of metro area, # of years experience and size of the business, etc. Some people have job skills that are in demand and live near metro areas where jobs exist; other people are not in that situation.

Many businesses with no HR department or money for recruiting post on Craig’s List. Also for potential employees that do not have the magical number of years of experience and/or specific kinds of experience and/or degree in the right field… job boards will not help them secure a job. The problem is that most of this is in constant flux. I believe job boards only help select groups of people, not individuals looking for work.

I also agree many businesses want to have new job applications on file in case some one quits, as the old ones are purged periodically. Job boards often advertise for jobs that do not exist or even combine various job titles.. into one description. Then the businesses categorize these applications… and break them down into specific job titles. Most people who apply for these jobs realize they are looking for perfect candidates: and these people do not exist. If they did exist they most likely would not need a job board to find their job!

By L.T.
April 1, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Headhunters and the occasional recruiter will find a person for a job. As far as finding a job for a person, only sports or talent agents can do with with any degree of success.

In the tech / business / rest of the world, YOU are your own best agent. If you aren’t plugged into your network, highly outgoing, and so forth, you just will not be working in this economy.

Speaking of lies & statistics: I saw a recent article in the Washington Post that stated that the unemployment rate was 7.3% but only 63% of Americans were in the labor force. This seems to mean that either 29.7% of the unemployed workforce doesn’t count, or the REAL rate of unemployment is closer to 37%.

By Nick Corcodilos
April 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm

@L.T.: When you multiply fractions by one another, you know that funny things happen, right? I don’t think everyone does :-). I don’t think anyone told the marketing and public relations people what happens. I’m not sure that those who read marketing and P.R. materials get it, either. What a mess.

By Ken B.
April 1, 2014 at 6:01 pm

I agree with those who compared Indeed, Monster, etc. to the old printed classified. In one aspect online job boards are better because they are searchable. Determining success rates would be difficult without some kind of manual survey just as it would have been with printed classifieds.

LinkedIn might be the exception though. They could compare members’ ad responses with a members’ profiles to see if a company applied to actually shows up in that member’s profile. I wonder if they have that data and choose not share the results.

Finally, I have one interesting story. I once networked with a hiring manager at a company that I was interested in and that I knew had a potential opening I was qualified for. They had not posted it yet. I kept in contact with the hiring manager on a consistent basis for six months (including a lunch). When they were ready to hire for the position, the hiring manager never let me know. Instead, I found out about the job opening on Monster. I ended up getting the job no doubt thanks to my networking.

By Linda
April 1, 2014 at 7:37 pm

If Indeed (and I assume Monster, etc.) cannot identify how many of their posted jobs result in hires, how can any statistics on Internet as a source of job hires be accurate? Many job coaches quote varying percents for Internet job hires and the funny thing is that they all use different percents. Makes me wonder how accurate any of these percents are. If Internet percents are wrong, then logically successful Networking percents and recruiters percents must also be wrong. While I believe Networking and recruiters are great avenues, I also believe the job boards are. Both of my last 2 jobs were obtained through Monster.com ads. Yes, Networking and recruiters got me to interviews but it was through the Internet postings that I received the job offers.

By Steven
April 1, 2014 at 7:54 pm

I concur with Linda. I have had good results with resumes submitted to jobs posted by recruiters on the job boards.

The recruiters were well networked, and I found them on the web. And, most of them continued to work with me even if I was not a fit for the first specific job that I applied to.

What defines a network anyway? I really don’t see any other working method for a niche career like mine with only 2 Schools in the entire USA graduating qualified engineers in my discipline.

On any given day, there are around 500 jobs open – all over the USA. The real issue becomes one of relocation more than available leads or job offers.

By Nick Corcodilos
April 1, 2014 at 9:26 pm

@Ken: “…the old printed classified. In one aspect online job boards are better because they are searchable.”

I’m not sure about this logic. I don’t see how searchability makes job postings better. Classified print ads worked much better than job boards for two simple reasons that are lost on both employers and job seekers. (But recruitment advertising companies understand this and love it.)

1. Print classifieds cost more.
2. Print classifieds delivered fewer applicants.

Please think about that. I’ll post the logic, but I’m curious to see what others think first.

By Nick Corcodilos
April 1, 2014 at 9:36 pm

To those who have had success getting jobs through job boards, more power to you. In a column the other day, Paul Krugman at the NY Times discussed the big straw man in the jobs debate: “the talent shortage.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/31/opinion/krugman-jobs-and-skills-and-zombies.html

Evidence is pretty clear that there is no overall talent shortage. One point he failed to make is that, given the glut of talent, the job boards should be filling jobs at an incredibly high clip — if they actually work. But they’re not. The point of my column is that no matter what the anecdotal evidence is, the job boards do not publish their success rates. The state of the job market begs for such information Why don’t they publish it?

I’m a skeptic, and based on available information, I think it’s because their success rates suck. One legitimate test would be for employers to pay job boards only when jobs are filled. Unlike the old print classifieds, online and database technology make it possible to track placements, and this can raise the efficiency of the entire recruitment system. Why isn’t this being done?

(I think the answer is simple. It’s in the job boards’ revenue model. They don’t need to fill jobs to make money. So they don’t bother measuring success rates. Employers are content to keep paying for a benefit no one will measure. Why indeed would the job boards measure it, if the customer doesn’t care? Is there a board of directors at some company out there reading this? Do you know where your HR budget is tonight?)

By VPSales
April 2, 2014 at 7:17 am

Talent shortage? We are turning out an incredible generation of talented, worldly, socially conscious, and capable of young people from our universities every year..and companies complain they can’t find talent?

Maybe you will have to put your managers on the hook for doing the most important job in your company…HIRETAIN…..

By Erik
April 2, 2014 at 11:31 am

My question, how do job boards know if an employer moves forward with a hire without them reporting that back to the boards? Source coding is something that is common place and can be found in a lot of the URLs for jobs that I apply to (i.e. &src= ) so I’m sure they know I clicked on the job from CareerBuilder or Indeed.

By Ben S
April 2, 2014 at 11:32 am

http://gotajob.indeed.com/

By Marc Jakeson
April 2, 2014 at 11:56 am

http://blog.indeed.com/2014/03/31/new-research-indeed-provides-more-hires-than-any-other-external-source/

=]

By Nick Corcodilos
April 2, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Please note: I’m not questioning whether people find jobs via Indeed. Of course they do. My comments about Indeed pertain to its status as the preeminent job board and “source of hires.” The “articles” Indeed has posted (e.g., link in Ben S’s comment) don’t stand up on closer inspection. And I stand by my critique of Indeed’s infographic — it’s bogus because it does not offer any data about success rates. Anecdotal evidence is nice, but it’s not data. The “list” of people who “got a job” offered by Ben S. omits people’s names. Sorry, but that’s the oldest “tesimonial” trick in the book.

Again, I’m sure people find jobs via Indeed. My beef is with the lack of data to describe how this leading job board actually performs. Don’t HR managers want data?

As Erik points out, there are ways Indeed could accurately track hires through the site. It’s already got ID information from the job seeker, the employer, about the job posting and about the applicant’s data record.

It’s troubling that Indeed’s advertising relies on third party “analysis” of how well it performs. While independent analysis can be a good thing, the available analysis is published by companies that rely on data flow from Indeed to run their own businesses — so it behooves the likes of SilkRoad to encourage employers and job seekers to use Indeed and other online job boards. But inspection of the data suggests the success rates are nowhere near what’s claimed for Indeed. SilkRoad, for example, doesn’t describe its data set in any detail. How do we know whether the companies polled are employers, contracting companies, or employment agencies?

My criticism of the company is that it offers no objective way to measure success rates in hiring and getting jobs, and that it publishes questionable “marketing content” that tells us virtually nothing. If employers don’t really care what they’re throwing money at, it’s up to them. But the bogus-ness is showing.

By L.T.
April 2, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Nick, the “information” presented in the info-graphic seems remarkably similar to sites trying to sell advertising by the eyeball. Who cares how we do what we say we do (video, information, jobs, porn) but we really do have unique visitors to our site.

By Ken B.
April 2, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Nick, my reference to searchable was for job-seekers to find more relevant job postings. Also, many job boards, such as Indeed and Monster, also have alerts when relevant jobs are posted. BUT, this does not necessarily leads to more hires.

I see online job boards has having warped the process though. Isn’t the objective to hire the right person for a job? (Right, by the way, could mean a lot of different things.) Companies believe job boards have made the process more efficient because they can automate the whole application process down to reviewing resumes. For a number of reasons, as you know, this reduces a company’s chance of find the right person for the job.

By Chris
April 2, 2014 at 2:03 pm

This just in…

“7.1 million “sigh-ups” for Obama Care (AHCA)yet the mandated health program is and continues to be a galactic financial disaster. About $635 million for a website that STILL pumps out “error” messages??

“Sign-ups”…really? Since late last year they have refused to show actual documentation for the same reason the job board CEO Nick referred to said it was “too complicated” to keep track of it all.

Complicated? Doesn’t pass the sniff test thus it’s B.S.!

Not only did Obama Care shuffle money behind the scenes away from Medicare and other sources the “health/young” crowd needed to make Obama Care work has been avoiding signing up and if they did have not paid.

Nonetheless, like job board marketers in their crafty infographics, you get Obama parading and declaring success on the White House lawn.

The story is the same and as old as dirt…a sucker is born every minute. Remember the promise “you can keep your doctor”. How did that work out for millions of you??

I love it how the “me, me, me” crowd posts “I found a job therefore job boards work” self serving “facts”.

Riiiight…and if a few hundred are “cured” of cancer there is no risk of remission and the rest of use can’t be afflicted with this disease since others were “cured”???

Clearly logic dictates that job boards may work for the minority but as our economy shows we are WELL BELOW average, much less full, employment in the USA while many employers whine about “lack of talent”.

Job board metrics track and boast traffic, hits, impressions in the pursuit of advertising $$$. Follow the money folks.

Actual hires are not formally tracked or proven…no evidence. Unless you call their “glory” page (“testimonials” from unaudited claims of new found jobs) “proof”. It’s all self serving like the “me, me, me” crowd that bows down to job board hype.

Hang my career hopes on savvy job board marketing with the rest of the delusional Sheeple in America?

NOT!

By S
April 2, 2014 at 2:06 pm

I was just unexpectedly contacted via Indeed by a recruiter from a well-known specialty staffing agency who found my resume when looking to fill a short-term role. Although I was coincidentally already an established candidate with her agency, I was living in a different city than her region and therefore didn’t come up on her internal database. The job is a perfect match and exactly what I have been looking for. Although it’s a different city than I plan to work in permanently, I accepted since I can easily relocate temporarily, build my experience, and come back to my city of choice. It’s truly a dream job and I’m still stunned by the fact that a stranger just handed it to me. Coincidentally, by a few degrees of separation, the recruiter and I have worked in the same cities and same companies although at different times. That also helped build trust between us.

By Nick Corcodilos
April 2, 2014 at 2:42 pm

@S: I’m very happy you’ve got a job you really want. But what I’m stunned about is that the company will pay a huge fee to a recruiter who failed miserably at his job. You were in his database, but his databases are not connected. He knows you but didn’t think of you. You’re a perfect match, but he blew it. He completely miss it all. I don’t see why he’s going to be paid a huge fee. As for the employer, it pays its HR staff big salaries to find people on job boards — why didn’t they find you and avoid the fee?

Don’t misunderstand. I realize Indeed facilitated your hire. But only because highly paid people aren’t doing their jobs. Do you see the incredible irony and failure of this recruiting system? We’re talking about hens picking at the ground for a grain that fell out of a bucket. (No offense.) That a third party database in a very redundant recruiting system coughed up your resume when everyone failed to “see” you in front of their faces — that’s indeed a success, but only in the midst of an incredible failure.

I really wish you the best. Where they found you won’t matter to you — but the board of directors at that company should be turning the HR department inside out to figure out what went so wrong.

By Nick Corcodilos
April 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm

@Ken B: Points taken. The problem is that recruiting is now a numbers game. Employers really believe that more is better.

By marybeth
April 2, 2014 at 10:40 pm

@Nick: re your question re why print ads work better than job boards, I think it is because with the old print ads, human beings were actually reading the résumés and applications, and they were talking to people who telephoned them about the jobs. They had direct contact with prospective hires. That is how I got one of my first jobs post-college with a management consulting firm. There was an ad in the newspaper; I telephoned them, spoke with the office manager, who scheduled me for an interview, and I was hired. When managers are talking to job hunters, both get a sense of whether they can do the job. With job boards, though they are much cheaper and easier because they’re automated, no human being ever looks at the résumes, applications, and sales letters that arrive via their online portal. A computer screens them and decides, based upon arbitrary key words, age of the applicant, level of education, etc. whether any of them are worthy.

The other problem with job boards is that they are very literal. Everything must match exactly, and often must be completed within a certain amount of time (or the system times out and you’re thrown out, have to start all over again). When a human being is reading the responses or talking with job hunters, key words don’t matter as much–I might be doing the same job/have the same skill that a company is looking for, but my current company calls it something different from what company F calls it. Responding to a print ad will let me get around this barrier; requiring me to apply online and fall down the rabbit hole will surely get me thrown out as unqualified.

It is a screwy system, with both jobs going unfilled and job hunters still unemployed and/or underemployed. But don’t forget, it is all the fault of the job hunters because none of us have the skills employers want–there’s a talent shortage! Yeah, right.

I haven’t tried the job boards. About 15 years ago I posted a résumé on Monster because I had been advised it was the hot new best thing in the world. The last four jobs I’ve gotten have all been through personal contacts.

To those of you who found jobs through job boards, congratulations! That is wonderful news, and I’m glad that it worked for you. I’ve read the stats, and often find that flipping them helps give me perspective. When Monster and others claim that x number of people have found jobs through them, and they break down the percentage to something like 4%, flip it around. That means that 96% of those who went to the job board DIDN’T find jobs. I don’t understand why employers continue to use (pay for) job boards. It isn’t chump change, and wouldn’t it be a better use of their money to hire recruiters in-house to scout for talent?

By Dave
April 3, 2014 at 11:24 am

@marybeth

“It is a screwy system, with both jobs going unfilled and job hunters still unemployed and/or underemployed. But don’t forget, it is all the fault of the job hunters because none of us have the skills employers want–there’s a talent shortage! Yeah, right.”

I had gotten some actual feedback from an interview recently and the HR rep actually called…. *gasp*

I agreed with the feedback (all was fair, IMHO). I am kicking around a few ideas of what to do to improve. I was thinking of taking a class or getting a certification to improve my skills that may be on the rusty side. But, even if I spent the hundreds (or thousands) to do this, will I ever see the ROI? Even when I have networked with a decision maker, sometimes you get the run around – “you don’t have enough real world experience….”

By Steve
April 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm

I think the reason we see so many job postings with job descriptions that are impossible to fill is because many companies want to dodge lawsuits.

If every single candidate can be “rejected” for not meeting the “job spec” then no one can file a discrimination lawsuit for not being hired.

I also know of companies that have laid older experienced people off and paid them an “exit bonus” for signing a no lawsuit agreement. These same companies then re-wrote the job descriptions to include skills not yet possessed by the laid off employees and then hired new younger employees at lower salaries who ostensibly met some, but not all, of the new spec requirements.

I am still not bitter yet. It is what it is. We could all be living in some third world developing economy run by a brutal dictator. I’m still grateful and feel blessed to live in this great nation.

By marybeth
April 3, 2014 at 10:00 pm

@Steve: I don’t know if the reason for seeing so many job descriptions that are impossible to fill is because employers fear lawsuits. If that were the case, they would never hire anyone.

I think technology has made it very easy to pile on the specs, educational requirements, and experience. In the old days, when you were charged by the line or letter to place job ads in newspapers, you had to distill the job description down to the salient criteria you wanted the candidate to meet not only because that is what was necessary for the job, but because you had a budget, and you couldn’t go over it. The other reason is that back then, newspaper ads only reached certain groups–the locals, and if you advertised in bigger newspapers (NY Times, Boston Globe, etc.), then it was who could afford the subscription fees.

Today, with the ease of online job boards, the internet, and your own company’s website, you don’t have those limits. It also means that anyone with access to a computer or smartphone can see your ad, so you’re reaching more people, but not necessarily your target audience. With a poor economy, many people who aren’t otherwise qualified will apply, thinking that online makes it easy, and with the click of a mouse my application is in. What this has also meant is that employers are getting more applicants, so screening is more important. If you don’t want to deal with older people, you can set up your ATS to eliminate anyone who has taken off the dates of their college graduations. Don’t want to bother with young kids? Make having a bachelor’s degree a job requirement, even if the job is sorting the mail or answering the phone.

What I think happens is that whoever is writing these job descriptions isn’t thinking at all and they’re using the kitchen sink approach (throw whatever they can and hope that someone out there has the skills, education, and experience). I bet if they had to write descriptions for newspaper ads, it would force them to re-think the specs due to their budget. Listing 28 specs plus 3 degrees and 8 years progressive experience would be very expensive.

The other thing going on is the job market itself. It is, and has been, an employer’s market for a while. There are more qualified applicants than there are jobs, so employers feel that they can ask for the moon and get it at bargain basement prices/salary. If/when the labor market shifts again, hopefully one that is more balanced between employers and job hunters, then I think (hope) that we’ll see more reasonable specs and expectations.

The thing is that candidates often don’t know why they weren’t hired; the company could have decided not to fund the position and re-distribute the tasks to the remaining employees. They could have hired someone who was more experienced, met the educational requirements, had the skills. They could have hired someone who they considered to be a better “fit”. All that means is that they liked candidate A better than candidate B. Maybe the reason is due to race, gender, religion, ethnicity, age, pick your favorite one. Most employers today will never say “I didn’t hire you because I hate women and think they should be barefoot and pregnant and not taking away a job from a man”, or “I didn’t hire you because you’re too old, because you’re Jewish, because you’re black, because you’re Greek”.

With any lawsuit like this, the burden is on the plaintiff (the person suing because he didn’t get the job) to prove that the reasons were because of discrimination against a protected class, and that is very, very, very difficult to prove.

Sure, no employer wants to get sued, but I don’t think they worry about this as much as people think. I think it is more about being cheap (great idea to combine the specs for 3 jobs into one job and expect that there is someone out there who meets all of them–employer saves on salaries and benefits if he hires one person to do three jobs instead of three people to do three jobs) and laziness (just not thinking period when they’re writing the job descriptions).

@Dave: yes, I know…I’ve gotten the run-around even when I’ve had others contact the decision maker and speak on my behalf…I’ve gotten shunted to HR and/or told that I am required to fill out the application online, then HR will decide (even though I’ve spoken with the hiring manager, met with him, he’s “interested”, etc.) the next step. Say what? If the hiring manager doesn’t want to tell HR “I’ve met with Dave and I’m hiring him. Please contact him so he can come in and fill out the paperwork”, then the system is screwy. Why is the hiring manager letting HR commandeer the process? HR doesn’t know what the hiring manager needs, so unless the candidate has a criminal record or there’s something that is suspect about him, HR shouldn’t be involved at all at this stage. I don’t know that I would even trust them with background checks, if the employer requires them. I’d trust the company’s attorney before I trust HR.

I read Peter Capelli’s article and book, and one of the stories he tells is about the engineering firm that ran an ad for an engineering job (not a highly specialized job either). They received 25,000 applicants, and the company’s ATS decided that not a single one of them met the specs. That’s not being afraid of lawsuits, that’s just sheer stupidity. Assuming that only engineers with the requisite degrees and experience applied, it seems preposterous that not a single one of the 25,000 applicants was qualified. Why? How the job description was written, the specs, and the automated ATS combined to create a perfect storm, weeding out perfectly good candidates, almost perfect candidates (those who didn’t meet all of the specs, but who could be up to speed if trained and given time).

By marybeth
April 3, 2014 at 10:04 pm

@Nick: thanks for posting the link to Krugman’s NY Times article. I think he’s right. Zombie is a good word to describe it. Most of the people who commented on Krugman’s article described the same challenges many of us (posters on your blog) have been facing and recognize that the system is so hopeless broken that it is beyond repair.

By Steve
April 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Someone in the World Future Society group on LinkedIn posted an interesting article link this afternoon.

Inc. ties the “skills shortage” to a lack of good old fashioned apprenticeships.

If you ask me, it is also closely tied to pay issues.

I have worked with skilled trades professionals for over 32 years, so I do have an insider’s perspective, and I do sympathize with these folks.

http://www.inc.com/magazine/201404/cait-murphy/skills-gap-in-the-labor-force.html

By Nick Corcodilos
April 4, 2014 at 3:29 pm

@Steve: I think it absolutely has to do with the fact that business has all but eliminated apprenticeships. “Internships” have largely turned into free slave labor with little benefit to the slave. It’s so bad that interns are trying to unionize. In the trades, masters expect to train apprentices, and many enjoy it. In business, no one wants to be bothered. Today’s business culture does not reward apprenticeship, either for the master or the apprentice. I think it’s a huge reason American business is in such decline. People act like new employees can be cranked out of databases, ready to hit the ground running. “Schools should be producing them for us to hire.” It’s all B.S. Business needs to take ownership of training and developing new generations of workers if it wants to be successful. Thanks for posting — insights like yours are incredibly valuable.

By Chris Hogg
April 5, 2014 at 11:51 am

Nick and all –

Many good points and much food for thought in this thread.

For those who might be interested in how facts, statistics and numbers are or can be developed, and how what we read on the Internet (or elsewhere) may or may not be “true,” the following two books might prove instructive:

How to Lie with Statistics by Huff

Trust Me, I’m Lying by Holiday

Of course not everyone who presents facts and figures is lying (many of us may be sincere but mistaken), but the above two books should give the reader reasons to be and ways to be more discerning . . . more careful in drawing conclusions.

By Vicki B
April 5, 2014 at 11:04 pm

I don’t know about all jobs, but in my field (tech) and area (silicon Valley) the predominant location for contracts and many FTE jobs is online in a central location. I have gotten contracts as well as interviews through these.

Also, please note that Dice and Monster are job boards. Indeed and Simply Hired are aggregators, not job boards – they pull from Dice, Monster, Yahoo!, Walmart Labs, Apple, Twitter, Yammer, Cisco, Facebook, Google, and many more.

By Diana O
April 6, 2014 at 11:30 pm

I really like the job boards, but not for the reasons you might think….or that the employers will like!

And I hate to give away the secret but this can help people. Job postings on job boards can tell you a whole lot about the company that posts them.

– Do you want to know which companies have a revolving door and are probably not good places to work? Check the job board for the posting (in your field) that keeps popping up every 6 months. Might want to avoid that company.

Do you want to know who is just interviewing “for fun” and will run you through multiple interviews like a dog chasing a fake rabbit at the track? And there isn’t even a real job? Look for the same job posting every single month without fail. They aren’t really looking, they are “keeping busy” or “filling a quota” or “collecting resumes” for interviews and phone calls, but they don’t really have a job. Don’t waste your time!

– Do you want to know who wants the impossible from you and will set you up to fail — if you take the job? Count the number of skills asked for in the job posting, especially when they are counter-intuitive or skills that are not usually present in one position. Then you know the employer is either clueless about your field or is a slave driver.

– Do you want to know who has a rigid, worker unfriendly workplace? Look for job requirements like “work until the work is done” “seek perfection — and find it” (that one is a real quote!) or “be ready to give your all to succeed.” And, the company benefits say ” one week vacation time after one year!” Yeah, sounds like a great place to work, huh.

Those examples are real folks. If you want to know about how a company is run, read those job postings. “That’s their HR department? No thanks” should be what you are thinking.

Listen to Nick. He knows what he’s talking about. You get choose who you want to work for, and go from there. It’s worked for me for the last 15 years.

Diana

By Nick Corcodilos
April 7, 2014 at 9:22 am

@Diana O: What a hot bunch of insights. Employers reveal a lot when they post a job. A bit of analysis goes a long way when judging them. Thanks for sharing your tips!

By marybeth
April 7, 2014 at 10:19 pm

@Diana O: Excellent ideas. I think sometimes we get so focused on the job hunt that it becomes easy to forget that the prospective employer should be courting us just as much as we should be courting him.

Yes, you’re absolutely right about jobs that are posted every month, every six months, etc. I’ve seen more than a few like that at my old employer. In one dept., I know why the vacancies are there–it is a micky mouse dept. and they eat up and spit out employees. Some very good people have tried, gotten disgusted/frustrated/pissed and quit. There’s also been years and years with a lack of a director, so leadership was either non-existent or there were power struggles–either way, it isn’t pretty, and makes it very hard. Now, anytime I see an opening in that dept., I don’t bother–not because I couldn’t do the job, but because I’d have to be nuts to want to be in that dept.

There’s a radio commercial on one of the local stations that sets up the ad with a voice on an office/employer intercom: “Attention employees: the new jobs have been posted online. If you know anyone who doesn’t know any better, please send them to HR. Thank you.” It cracks me up because it is so true. There are some places where the only ones who get hired are those who either don’t know anyone on the inside who can give them the dirt or who just don’t know any better. And of course turning over prospective employees to HR is just classic for how many companies seem to hire these days.

And you’re right about HR keeping busy with posting phantom jobs and leading unsuspecting people on a time sink.

I think most of us here have come across these kinds of ads as well as companies.

By L.T.
April 8, 2014 at 11:32 am

One last way job boards might be useful:

If you have a firm you want to work for but they are still addicted to “try before you buy” (a.k.a. contract-to-hire), until you have a decent relationship with he contract firms they use, watching the specific contract firms on the boards to see when positions come up may have value.

By Colin
April 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I applaud your challenge to job-boards to provide meaningful evidence that they work. In the interest of fairness, how about turning the challenge on your methods? Can you provide success and failure statistics for folks who have invested in your books and embraced your approach? Perhaps a control group study? My impression is that other than anecdotes and assertions no one in this area has hard data on what does and doesn’t work.

I am job-hunting and did recently invest in your books. I do periodically search and apply through the job-boards (a curse on the house of Taleo). I have contacted recruiters. I keep my resume up to date. Since there isn’t a clearly effective tool, one must employ as many as resources permit.

I like your challenge and think real evidence would be extremely valuable. I hope you accept my counter challenge and look forward to your findings in a future blog.

By BG
April 15, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Colin, I think that you should keep your own statistics about what works FOR YOU. Track what you do and what results you get. What works for most people isn’t really what you need to know. You need to know what works FOR YOU.

When I kept statistics for myself I discovered that replying to ads didn’t work for me. For me, personal contacts is/was the most effective source of job leads.

By LD
April 20, 2014 at 11:56 am

I would argue that Indeed does help people FIND jobs, and from what I’ve read, it doesn’t claim to help people LAND jobs. What it provides is one place to search keywords to find jobs a job seeker might not have known about without it. I never used Indeed thinking they would help me get the job, only to show me what I might not have seen otherwise. It also helped me notice trends – companies doing a lot of hiring, or hiring for the same position I’d heard about months ago.

By MT
April 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Nick, I completely agree with you…I am coming to the conclusion that lately looking for jobs on job boards and through headhunters is just about the worst way to job hunt. I am getting really tired of sending my resume down “black hole” online job applications to be rewarded by a form email and no other reply. I’ve been hearing rumors that recruiters are now rewarded for the number of resumes they send to their clients NOT for the number of jobs they fill. And obviously job boards are not rewarded for the number of jobs they fill, only for the number of jobs they post. It seems to me that any incentive either job boards or recruiters had in the past to actually place qualified people in jobs is gone. Conclusion: for the moment at least, one might do better to bypass recruiters and job boards altogether and do one’s own job search.

By Steven
April 23, 2014 at 10:00 am

Here are my stats for 2013. I have not refined the details as well as I would like to, but this gives me a good idea in retrospect of how I spent my time.

I also devoted time to training and freelance pursuits, but that data is not included in these figures.

2013 Job Search Stats for Online Job Boards
Online Applications 103 Offers = 2
Replied Interviewed Offered
51.46% 8.74% 1.94%

These figures are based on a skillset that combines Manufacturing Process Engineering, CAD, and Tech Writing.

I did not cull through this data to isolate headhunters that did not post online. Maybe I need to track those figures a little closer to see which method offers the best hope for my own search efforts.

By Terry W Myers
April 26, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Sorry, Mr. John Franklin, self-proclaimed job hunting expert… for everyone else on the planet, “FINDING A JOB” means finding a job and getting hired. ONLY YOU, the false expert, think that finding a job means finding a job to apply for.

By DC
May 5, 2014 at 1:49 am

Observation from a Headhunter- the majority of the clicks on Indeed are headhunters reading each other’s job postings. A big chunk of the industry is on there all day.

By Nick Corcodilos
May 5, 2014 at 9:37 am

@DC: So headhunters are no different or better than personnel jockeys who sit in front of displays looking to see “who comes along.” That’s not hunting. It’s not even farming. It’s lazy. No wonder employers think there’s a talent shortage. They’re right: the talent shortage is in HR and among the “headhunters” they use.

By Edward from PR
June 7, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Nick, thanks for this post. Really helpful… painfully helpful. I live in Puerto Rico and I want a career change and need to find a career that fits my lifestyle’s wants and needs, so I turned to Indeed.com where I kept seeing new job posts every other day of the week. It was crazy! So after months and months of looking at Indeed’s info I decided to type the words (using Google just like you say in your Blog) “The Truth Behind Indeed.com” and I see your info. Bam, your info hit me like a train without breaks. Also the job postings are kinda crazy, but I won’t get into that right now. The thing is, how do we reach those who HAVE been hired through Indeed.com? I mean, for such a large website/corp there has to be some hired positions… at some point. Will keep following your updates and dream a little less dreamy ideas of the perfect job/career and go into full fed reality mode. Have read most of the comments and you really hit the nail. Hope the word gets out there and we all get an answer about the truth behind being hired vs demographic info.

By Nick Corcodilos
June 9, 2014 at 10:20 am

@Edward from PR: I’m sure there are people who’ve found jobs in Indeed. The problem is one of scale. For what it is and claims to be, has it delivered commensurate value to users (employers and job seekers)?

By Edward from PR
June 9, 2014 at 10:37 am

@Nick Corcodilos: Yes, I know there have been jobs found in their site. I am not giving up my hope on finding one, either. Just want to change the approach of focusing ONLY on indeed.com to find my dream job. I did the search that someone suggested in one of the comments aboive by going to “Advanced Search Options” and using the “Show Only from Employer Website” and nothing came up. Not even for a Hospitalist career. Without the advanced search… you get thousands of job options. So, I hope that they DO deliver on their claims because it is a big jump to leave my business behind in Puerto Rico to go and work for someone else in the U.S. Anyways, Nick, thanks for your reply. Will keep you posted if I get hired through Indeed.com, Cheers!

By Nick Corcodilos
June 9, 2014 at 11:43 am

@Edward: From info I’ve seen, the odds a company will hire you via Indeed are so small that you might as well try straining tap water for loose change. :-)

By Edward from PR
June 9, 2014 at 11:58 am

Nick Corcodilos: Thanks for the motivation, ha ha ha ha! Don’t worry, I have other ideas in mind. I’m more of the “Here’s My Resumé, Ma’m/ Sir!” Hand delivered and call every few days for follow up. Indeed.com just seemed more like a “HERE ARE YOU ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES” kinda place. But I will go strain water from other places. Thanks Nick!

By Eileen
July 4, 2014 at 5:20 pm

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING THIS! Excellent points and excellent questions. Definitely something to consider. I think overall, job seekers are much better off just sharing a resume on the job board, then working from the organization’s unique website. After spending years applying for positions on Indeed, I have never had a result from using it. Any interview or call back I have received has come from applying directly with the company of interest.

By Mike
July 24, 2014 at 11:07 am

I use a couple of job boards. I use Roadtechs and post my resume on Cjhunter. I have gotten jobs through both of them mostly because of the industry I am in. I have gotten one call from a job posted on indeed. The biggest problem I find with indeed is it is cumbersome. The apply process takes you to a company website and you can spend hours filling out useless forms. I have found this to be a complete waste of time. I don’t think any company H.R. ever look at those job applications. In fact, I’m certain of it. Indeed and the companies that advertise on it should have something as simple as roadtechs and cjhunter. “submit a resume”. You can find a posted job. Getting it is up to you. Good article Nick.

By Christine
August 7, 2014 at 11:40 am

It was tough to concentrate on the article. I was too busy staring at Nick’s photo. He is hot!!!

By Barry
August 12, 2014 at 9:02 am

From a jobseekers point of view, I think it depends on the level you are at. I’m a Digital Marketing Executive so I have specific skills and qualifications, but I’m not at CMO or head of department level and therefore I don’t get headhunted etc apart from the odd email on LinkedIn. So how else am I meant to time effectively job hunt?

Indeed seems perfect for my level, it collections all positions under keywords I specify for the role I want. In the last 2 years I’ve had 2 jobs (the first a maternity cover contact, thus the 2nd job) both of which were initially found on Indeed. I’ve also had lots of interviews in that time, it’s probably about 30 – 40, again, all but a few I saw on LinkedIn first were found on Indeed.

Doing my job I’m a pretty internet-savvy person, but I really don’t know of another option apart from Indeed that I’d want to use, it finds all the jobs listed on other job boards for me. If I’m wrong then please do tell me the other sources I should be using, but as a mid-level job hunter, I don’t see how a business wanting to find a full range (and therefore the best) employees couldn’t use Indeed.

By TJ
August 13, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Most of our hires come from our own website, according to applicants. However, a large number (around one-third) come from Indeed. The problem is that we can’t tell whether they are a result of paid ads or organic. Experimentation leads us to believe it’s the latter and that PPC is mostly ineffective.

By Laurie Frieman
August 15, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Indeed does not have any filters to prevent unqualified job seekers from applying to a job.
If I, as an employer lists a job for a legal secretary, the candidates that apply are cashiers, pharmacy technicians, store managers, payroll clerks, every and anyone who does not have the relevant experience.
Indeed is a waste of time and money for me, as well as their annoying team who work there telling me that posting multiple jobs will increase the chances of getting the visibility I need for the quality I am looking for! That makes no sense.

By Pete Kenny
August 19, 2014 at 4:36 am

Hey Nick, I understand your frustration with job boards. The results are hard to measure but they make tons of money without a way to show results. In my line of work, I am only concerned with and do work with low and minimum wage people. I found a board that caters for this crowd (http://1milejobs.com). It looks like its still new. That would be the closest thing I could work with among all the big boards.

By Richard Eib
September 26, 2014 at 10:26 am

If only we had noticed this post before a colleague placed an insertion order for two months with Indeed.

As other posters have described, the quality of candidates that you can expect from Indeed is poor. At one point we had 250+ jobs live on the site 90% of the applications were from people with no experience, skills or qualifications that matched the job.

To make matters worst, they were costing approximately $1.67 per click and driving a fraction of the applications that a competitor who was costing $0.46 per click. Indeed is rigged in their favor to extort as much as from you as possible whilst throwing their hands up in the air that they cannot control the quality of candidates. Umm, yes you can by implementing technology that facilitates the screening of applications or disallowing them from applying to jobs that are blatantly off-base from their resume.

By Nick Corcodilos
September 26, 2014 at 10:55 am

@Richard: I’m sorry you were introduced to job boards in such a painful way. Job boards make money only when you DON’T find a hire, and only when job seekers DON’T find jobs. It’s the classic casino game – always rigged for the house. The trouble with job boards is that they’ve got ready suckers in the HR community who fund them. Like Indeed, HR never gets paid for filling a job. They get paid anyway. The more applicants HR gets, the busier it appears, and Indeed fits the bill.

By Anna
October 5, 2014 at 1:35 am

I am 39 years old. I have had 5 major jobs in my career, and will not include positions of less than a year, or temp work right out of college, or consulting. EVERY one of those jobs – all professional, well paid positions were found through job boards. EVERY other method I have used is utter nonsense. Social media in which it is entirely out of your control and some idiotic popularity contest with meaningless connections is a scam people should STOP promoting. You see these kids just out of school, who have worked for a year as an admin with hundreds of connections – it is meaningless. Linkedin even got sued for attacking peoples contacts in their email accounts. It is completely absurd. Job boards allow employers to throw open the net to all qualified folks, and it won’t depend on who you know, who your buddy is, if you have a friend who works there, etc. It is an honest and direct way to find talent. Further, I have hired in the past and I would say about 80 percent of my hires were from posting on job boards and 20 percent other means ( recommendations mostly though I did make the horrid mistake of using linkedin too) I have had far more success with those I found through job board postings.

THE FACT IS that to get a job you should look for a job and anyone claiming that positions publicly advertised and replying to those positions is somehow not appropriate has an agenda and is suspect. All means are legimate, even the crappy ones like networking and social media. My issue with the crapy ones is it turbs it into a stupid game, and people who are perfectly well qualified and would be great catches for an employer are overlooked as HR and hiring managers sit bored in an office trolling through social media sites to find the most popular game player. Networking and recommendations can land people in spots they don’t deserve and qualified people are overlooked for not having connected pals in an organization. Job boards are a level playing field, and why anyone would argue against them… well, I think those are the folks who don’t want a level playing field and I question the motives.

By Anna
October 5, 2014 at 1:40 am

Oh, and I have NEVER had a decent experience hiring with a “head hunter” or recruiter or temp agency. You pay a fortune to have sub par candidates pushed on you by someone wanting a commission. Who needs the pressure… do the wotk yourself and screen the resumes and don’t waste time hiring over priced screeners who want to argue against job boards.. Job boards are the worst enemy of a recruiter, for obvious reasons – they empower employers to find talent on their own without games and without useless pushy commision hungry rectuiters involved

By Frank
October 8, 2014 at 7:41 pm

I totally agree with Anna. I’m a responsible hiring manager, not a lazy hiring manager. At least once a week I get a resume forwarded to me from a recruiter which is labeled “confidential” or “exclusive” with the candidate’s name suppressed. But after gleaning a few key words or phrases from the submitted resume and then entering into the Indeed or Monster resume search engine I frequently find the same resume posted there. And thus I save my company at least 10K in recruiter fees.

By Nick
October 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm

The data is actually out there that shows Indeed provides more hires than any other external source. Check out any ATS data and it will show you. Please learn all the facts before going on such a rant.

By Nick
October 20, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Also, the only way to prove Indeed delivers hires is from 3rd party data since Indeed is an aggregator, just like Google is…if Indeed sends job-seekers back to each company’s website, where else would the data come from…it has to come from the 3rd party.

Nick Corcodilos, you are erroneous and obviously don’t understand the basics of how Indeed is set up to clearly comment on any of the facts. Once you understand how Indeed works, you will be able to see why only 3rd party data is relevant.

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