Blog Reducing Costs What is the Best Job Board in the UK?
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We wanted to give our readers some useful insights into what exactly the best job board in the UK is, and the UK’s leading online advertising channels. This was discovered using our latest research and data analysis. 


You may have noticed that job board advertising is everywhere across TV, press, radio, and pretty much everywhere you look. Many of these job boards claim to be the best on the market, and quote impressive statistics to support their claims. We wanted to take a deeper look into these claims, and find out who the best job board in the UK is, and make some recommendations to help you make a decision on where you should buy your advertising media and post your jobs.



Here at Smart Recruit Online, we post jobs across thousands of job advertising channels for all types of jobs. This includes the 30 largest national job boards, including the likes of Indeed, Reed, CV-Library, Totaljobs, LinkedIn, and Monster. This covers multiple industry sectors across all levels of seniority, so we are in a good position to research and advise on which job board is the best in the UK. So we decided to look at the data, and see what it told us.


Where are candidates searching for jobs?

First let’s start with one of the most important questions you need to improve your online advertising strategy, where exactly are candidates going to look for jobs?


Statistic that candidates will visit an average of 7.6 job sites during their search According to a Glassdoor report, candidates will visit an average of 7.6 job sites during their job search. The reality is that search engines drive the largest share of traffic to specific job boards, and most people agree that the sweet spot for maximising your recruitment results is being present across the top 4 or 5 natural search results. By this we mean those top results that appear on Google when you search for a job role.


But be cautious here. Every time a candidate searches for a different job title or location, the results will change. In fact, the exact same job search 2 months apart can generate an entirely different set of results. This means committing to just one job advertising channel for your recruitment is not a good strategy at all, no matter how tempting this might be.


If you decide on a job board purely based on which one appears in the top 5 natural search results consistently, then most businesses would likely plump for Indeed. But despite Indeed’s impressive number of monthly visitors, they also claim the undisputed title of attracting the wrong type of candidates than any other UK job board, driving up recruitment costs with one of the highest cost per application rates (on their sponsored ads), and one of the lowest fulfillment rates on niche and hard-to-fill roles. They are still a major player worth considering, but it’s well worth doing research into other channels.


The data

We used Google to search for 100 of the most generic job titles across 10 different locations in the UK. This was a total of approximately 500 different searches. From this we found that 7 different job boards were at the top of the search engine results on more than 10 occasions. There are other job boards that randomly appeared at the top of the search results for just one, two, or three job titles too.


After this, we used our own data on successful placements through the Smart Recruit Online service to map out which channels made the most placements against the 100 job titles selected for this research. This data included over 1000 filled jobs in total.


The results

The top-performing job board filled 14% of all jobs we reviewed, and the top three performing boards were each responsible for between 11- 14% of all placements.


The next three job boards all filled either 9 or 8% of placements, and the worst-performing board of the top 7 filled just 5% of all the jobs.


This resulted in 69% of successful placements coming from just 7 channels, and the remaining 31% coming from a mix of agencies, referrals, free advertising channels, social media, publications, and random job boards.


Key stats:

  • There is not one dominant job board in the UK
  • There were equal levels of success across several different job boards for many of the job titles
  • Less than 10% of the job titles showed any signs of dominance by a single channel
  • No one job board was responsible for more than 30% of the applications received in more than 95% of cases
  • Over 30% of successful placements came from outside of the top 7 performing national and generic job boards
  • National job boards were competitive, and often outperformed many of the leading niche channels for many job titles



With not one dominant job board being the best in the UK, using a media buying service like fixed price job posting or multi-posters is well worth considering. These kinds of services give you visibility across multiple types of job boards and media channels (branded or non-branded), as well as many other additional services.


A woman sat cross legged on a laptop


Look out for media buyers that offer additional services that will help with your overall talent acquisition strategy beyond simply attracting candidates – if you can get more for your money then why not? This might include services like job advert writing, candidate screening tools, and a range of other technologies that can help your selection process and improve your recruitment efficiency.


The cost of purchasing this kind of service can vary between £200-£999 depending on your needs and other factors.



The results of this research show that there is not a single dominant channel out there when it comes to advertising your jobs online. The truth is that spreading your job adverts across leading media channels and job boards is the best way to get a positive outcome.


Even when advertising jobs in vertical markets, national job boards and generic channels are meeting and exceeding the results of the specialist channels for the majority of common job titles. This leads us to conclude that purchasing your advertising media through a multi-posting, fixed price service that includes the leading job advertising channels gives the best value for money if you want to fill roles through direct applications.


These results may not seem very surprising, but the vast majority of companies tend to restrict their advertising to just one or two channels. It is clear that these companies would achieve a lot more visibility and improve the quantity and quality of applicants received if they were to change this behaviour.


How can we help?

Smart Recruit Online is an award-winning talent acquisition platform that offers many of the services mentioned throughout this article, all integrated on one, easy-to-use dashboard. This includes multi-posting, job advert writing, advanced candidate screening and plenty of other tools and services that will help you transform your recruitment strategy so you can start quickly finding and hiring the best talent online for less. 


Interested? Book a demo with us and we’ll show you how we work.


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You will note that we have not specified which results are linked to each job board. This is because we have important relations with each of them that we do not wish to compromise. We strongly 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. While the sample size is quite small to draw too many proven conclusions from, it outlined key factors that we are confident would be repeated every time we ran this exercise.

Mark Stephens

August 10, 2021

Mark has worked in and researched the HR & Recruitment landscape for over 20 years. His key focuses are how recruitment technology, evidence-based processes, and human behavioural science can be used to optimise recruitment performance. He is a serial entrepreneur, previous winner of the prestigious Chambers of Commerce 'Innovation in Business' award, and founder of Smart Recruit Online Ltd, and Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK Ltd (Corpwell).

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