Job Board
Which job board is the best out there?
- Apr 10, 2017

We wanted to provide you with some useful insights into the UK’s leading online advertising channels, that was generated from our latest research and data analysis.

You must have noticed that job board advertising across TV, radio, press and almost everywhere you look is at an all-time high right now, with many of the boards claiming to be the best and quoting different statistics to back up their claims?

Well, we wanted to take a closer independent look at these claims and establish who in fact is the best job board out there and make some recommendations that can assist you in your decision making when it comes to where you should buy your media and post your jobs.

At Smart Recruit Online, we post jobs across hundreds of advertising channels for almost every job. That includes all the 30 largest national job boards (Including the likes of Indeed, Linkedin, Reed, CV-Library, Jobsite, Totaljobs and Monster). We cover all industry sectors and operate at all levels of seniority, so we are in a better position than most to advise on which board is actually best.


Talent attraction



So we decided to interrogate our data and see what it is telling us.

As a side note and as a cheesy Easter theme, I can confess that I was nearly tempted to use the subject line “Don’t place all your eggs into one basket’ for this article, which sort of gives away what I am about to share with you, but please hang in there to the end as there are some really insightful and interesting outcomes for you to consider.

OK, so let’s kick off with one of the most important statistics that you need to factor in your online advertising strategy.

Around 75% of all online job-related searches start on Google. So the reality is that search engines are driving the lions’ share of traffic at specific boards. And most people agree that the sweet spot, in order to maximise your results, is most definitely across the top 4 or 5 ‘Natural search results’.

However, I add a word of caution, because of each time that a candidate runs a search for a different job title, in a different location, the results clearly change. In fact, exactly the same search run 2 months apart can generate a different set of results. So committing to just one advertising channel for all of your recruitment is really not an intelligent strategy at all, no matter how commercially attractive it might look.

If you made your advertising decision purely on which board consistently appears in the top 5 natural search results, then most people would probably plump for Indeed. However, despite Indeed’s impressive visitor stats, they also have the undisputed title of attracting more of the wrong type of candidates than any other major job board and one of the highest cost per application rates (on their sponsored ads) and one of the lowest fulfilment rates on many niches and harder to fill skill sets. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a major player.


Our Research

Using Google to search for 100 of the most commonly used generic job titles across 10 different UK locations (approx. 500 different searches in total), we discovered that 7 different job advertising channels came out at the top of the search engine results on more than 10 occasions.  (There were plenty of others that randomly appeared top of the results for just one,  two or three job titles too).

We then used our own data, that we hold, on successful placements via the Smart Recruit Online service, to map out which advertising channels were responsible for making the placement, against the 100 job titles that we had selected for the purpose of this research.


And the results were indeed truly interesting.

The top-performing job board filled 14% of all jobs we reviewed (data are taken from over 1000 filled jobs in total) and the best three performing channels were each responsible for between 11- 14% of all placements.

The next three all filled either 9 or 8% and the worst performing board of the top 7 performing boards filled just 5% of all the jobs. This came to a total of 69% of the successful placements coming from just 7 channels and the remaining 31% coming from a mixture of Agency, referrals, free advertising channels, publications, random job boards and social media.



You will note that we have taken the decision not to specify which results are linked to each job board. This is because we have important relations with each of them all that we need to maintain and that we do not wish to compromise. We also believe that these results would vary each time if we were to run this exercise again varying the job titles, locations or time of the year.

Also, we accept that this is not scientific proof and the sample is far too small to draw too many proven conclusions from.

However, it did clearly outline a number of factors, that we are confident, would be repeated every time we ran this exercise.



  • There is certainly not one dominant job advertising media channel
  • For many of the job titles, there were equal levels of success across several different media
  • Less than 10% of the titles showed any signs of dominance by a single channel
  • In more than 95% of cases, no one job board was responsible for more than 30% of the applications received
  • Over 30% of all successful placements are coming from outside of the top 7 performing national and generic media channels
  • National job boards were not only competitive but often outperformed many of the leading niche channels for many job titles



The results of this exercise prove to us that there is not a single dominant channel out there and in line with our own philosophy when it comes to advertising your jobs online, spreading your job adverts across the leading media channels is the best way of maximising your chances of achieving a positive outcome.

Even when advertising jobs in vertical markets, the national job boards and generic channels are meeting and exceeding the results of the specialist channels in the majority of instances.

This would also lead us to conclude that by purchasing your media through a multi-posting, mixed media service that includes the leading job advertising channels represents the best value for money for anyone that wants to increase the probability of filling their role from a direct application.

These results may not appear to be that surprising, but when you consider that the vast majority of companies are restricting their advertising to just one or two channels, it is clear to see that would significantly impact the amount of visibility that they can achieve and ultimately impact the quantity and quality of applicants received.


Note on Media buying

The cost of purchasing a fixed price job posting or multi-media package can vary between £200-£999 depending on a number of factors, which need to be considered.

Not least the range and type of media channels that are included (Branded or non-branded), but also the range of services that come with it. Look out for media buyers that offer a recruitment management system with job advert writing, parsing, recruitment video tools, behavioural assessment tools, background and ID checking facilities and other technology features that can aid the selection process and improve recruitment efficiency. Also, consider whether this is a basic DIY service or if the provider contributes towards the management and selection process before you pick which one to run with.


About the Author

Mark Stephens has worked within the recruitment sector for nearly 20 years both in-house and agency side and more recently within the technology environment. Mark is a serial entrepreneur and is the founder of Smart Recruit Online, the Recruitment Alliance and The HR & Recruitment Resource Library. Mark has dedicated his time since 2007 researching the online recruitment sector from a user, technology, and candidate perspective and is regularly published and quoted by leading industry publications for his research and personal opinions.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn. 



Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will transform your recruitment strategy.

To book a demo with us and learn more about what our technology can do for your business, click here.

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Mark Stephens

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the HR & Recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. A previous winner of the prestigious Chambers – Innovation in Business award, Mark is a serial entrepreneur and is the founder of Smart Recruit Online Ltd, CareersPage Ltd, The HR Resource Library and Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK Ltd. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 7 national and international awards in the last 18 months for recruitment innovation. Mark has dedicated his time since 2007 researching the online HR & Recruitment sector from a user, technology, and candidate behaviour perspective, and is regularly published and quoted by leading industry publications for his research and personal opinions.

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