Job Boards Are Stuck: What Are The Alternatives?
April 8, 2024
min read

Job Boards Are Stuck: What Are The Alternatives?

Adnan Pavlovic
Adnan Pavlovic

Job boards seem prone to malfunctioning these days. By that, I mean being unable to hire good-quality candidates in a short period of time.

Originally designed in the early 1990s, job boards heralded a revolution by liberating jobseekers to explore various career opportunities whenever they want from the comfort zone of their desktops.

More importantly, today’s job boards struggle with a broader mission: to help accelerate the hiring process and generate enough traffic to support hiring speed.

Why Job Boards Aren’t Performing

Besides general job boards that service demand for candidates from all industries, there are smaller and niche-specific ones with their own sets of rules and guidelines.

Most job boards depend on job aggregators and other supporting elements that contribute to developing transactional interactions, which is one possible cause of underperformance. At the same time, employers face highly segmented job markets that make maintaining consistent messaging across all job boards challenging, which also leads to underperforming results. With that in mind, we face a hard-to-explain situation where some employers receive plenty of matching candidates upon publishing their job ad while others struggle.

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Transformation Has Already Started

But let us not be deceived. HR professionals are more than aware of the growing need for a pivotal shift in the core of job board functionalities. The shift is partly needed because job boards perform too many tasks, from transforming passive into active candidates, enriching employer branding messages, and supporting online and offline sourcing processes. This contributes to further confusion among candidates and employers.

It isn’t uncommon to hear questions like this inside HR communities: Are job ads the right tool for us? Is my company attractive enough to attract applicants without any other activities? Are job boards the right approach for my company, and should I relocate my assets toward an in-house search?  

Obviously, the need for transformation doesn't go unnoticed.

General vs. Niche Job Boards

Nowadays, most job boards undergo some sort of transformation process. This topic has become increasingly important with the rise of alternative roles, such as remote or hybrid work, in the past couple of years. In addition, hiring managers have started exploring external add-ons to their toolkits that go way beyond conventional methods (e.g., Slack, Discord, or even YouTube). Even when their current complexity is considered, job boards can still be classified as general or niche.

General job boards like Indeed help reach larger audiences while attracting many job applicants. These expensive platforms cater to various industries, job levels, and geographic locations, support wide reach, and are especially beneficial for non-industry-specific roles (e.g., Project Manager, Human Resources Specialist, Business Analyst). They offer various opportunities and are visually accessible (i.e., possess user-friendly interfaces with comprehensive search filters).

Niche job boards are specific job repositories that offer targeted alternatives. They are often centered around specialized talent pools and communities or focus on a particular sector, such as or WeAreDevelopers for software developers.


  • Specialized Listings: Job seekers use niche job boards as valuable resources for finding specialized opportunities (e.g., software development, cyber security, graphic design, photography) closely aligned with their skills, experiences, and career aspirations.
  • Quality Candidates: Employers can benefit from accessing talent pools based on specific skills, increasing their chances of finding the right match for specific roles (e.g., Site Reliability Manager, AI Specialist).
  • Community Dimension: Niche job boards often serve as community hubs, offering news, career advice, professional networking, or even benchmark opportunities through competition between community members.

It's hard to say which job board type is preferred by job seekers and employers more. For certain positions, it's definitely possible to use a more general than niche approach (e.g., Administrative, Customer Service, or Sales). As for the tech roles, niche job boards are more of a first choice. Combining both options offers the most comprehensive job hunting or recruitment approach for most recruiters.

When considering how to conduct the job board’s transformation process, owners must be aware of the impact of the following four integrational aspects: diversity, skills-based hiring, supporting Gen Z needs, and measurability.

Diversity Promotion Is a Must, Addressing Biases Is The Future

Developing an inclusive job board means including everyone—every kind of person. Many job boards aren’t inclusive enough, and usually re-phrasing job descriptions has been seen as (only) prevention tactic.

When and if formed, bias mainly affects diversity and conflicts in identifying the most suitable job candidates. As it takes a lot of time to establish internal processes that will gradually eradicate not all but some biases, companies resort to using skills-based hiring as an antidote to subconscious bias.

In the end, inclusive job boards provide inclusive opportunities written in inclusive language, criteria, and focus. These job boards attract diversity-positive employers with an inclusive work environment and culture. Platforms like Evenbreak mandatory use job descriptions free from biased language that might be discouraging for underrepresented candidates. Others might remove personally identifiable information from their applications, allowing recruiters to focus on candidate skills and experience rather than demographic details.

Soft Skills Hiring vs. Job Boards

Soft skills hiring initiatives have reshaped how companies evaluate potential employees. They resulted as a response to the changing needs of the global economy, where the ability to adapt and apply skills dynamically is increasingly valued.

The situation looks bright on paper, according to the TestGorilla report ‘The State of Skills-Based Hiring 2023.‘ An impressive 73% of companies adopted this approach in 2023, up from 56% in 2022.

However, there is also a negative side to the outcome. A noticeable skills gap appears as a mismatch between the skills possessed by the workforce and those required by employers. These three factors mostly contribute to forming a skills gap:

1. Rapid technological advancements: Adopting new technology increases the demand for training and specialized skills. Unfortunately, companies can’t follow the pace of change while waiting for talents to be trained by someone else.

2. Changing job requirements and market demands: Job markets continuously evolve, forming challenging conditions for job seekers who must align their skills with employers’ changing demands.

3. Education system limitations: The traditional education systems can’t prepare individuals with the in-demand technical and soft skills. It doesn’t mean that degrees will become unnecessary, but a less determining factor in the hiring process. Eliminating the influence of these factors begins with a holistic approach to the hiring process. Where the mixture of education, skills, experience, and candidate potential contributes to human-centric evaluation and the right cultural fit assessment.

Gen Zers Perception of The Job Boards

With an estimated 30% of the global workforce expected to be Gen Z by 2025, understanding their perception of job boards is more than just a formality. These young workforce members expect a top-notch candidate experience because they care more about the meaning of their job than the remuneration package. According to the Yello Recruiting Study, Gen Zers find job boards to be the second most trusted job-search source, right after referrals. Moreover, the ability to filter searches by industry, job type, location, and other criteria makes job boards an attractive tool as they value efficiency and personalization.


One significant challenge is the overwhelming volume of information and number of listings. This makes it difficult to find relevant opportunities in a sea of postings. Value propositions need to change, and the UX has to be much cleaner as minimalism and gamification of interaction become increasingly popular.


Gen Z job seekers demand that the job search experience become automated and simplified. All jobs on job boards should be perfectly indexed, and job descriptions should be exhaustive, with additional support for job tags to feed search engine algorithms.

Transparency and communication are also high on Gen Zer's priority list. For example, they value insights into the application process, including the number of applicants, the interview stages, and expected feedback timelines. Moreover, they value platforms that offer career development resources, such as resume-building tools, interview tips, and insights into industry trends and salary benchmarks.

Let’s not forget sustainability and social responsibility, as they have become increasingly important to Gen Z. These job seekers will likely engage with platforms highlighting employers' ethical practices, environmental policies, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Decreased Cost-per-Applicant and Time-to-Hire

Staying more affordable becomes a priority of today’s job boards. Fundamentally, job boards enable employers to connect with a vast pool of candidates at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods such as headhunters, print advertisements, or job fairs.

To further optimize the recruitment budget, some job boards offer tools for creating targeted campaigns that reach specific demographics, skill sets, or geographic locations. The ability to quickly fill vacancies through a large, accessible talent pool minimizes the opportunity cost of vacant positions, contributing to the overall reduction in cost-per-applicant.

Modern job boards use the time-to-hire metric to indicate recruitment efficiency, where immediate access to a large pool of candidates brings efficiency to the process. With large quantities of resumes and profiles, job boards must function to allow quick match-finding for open positions. This becomes essential to maintaining low and competent time-to-hire metrics (e.g., advanced filtering, internal messaging, implementation of feedback loops).

As the race for talent becomes faster and more expensive, these two metrics will remain relevant when considering job boards as an option for future hiring toolkits.

Alternative #1: Meaningful Collaborations With Tech Communities

It’s hard to imagine companies that aren’t looking for software developers. As high demand is almost constant, knowing that job boards are showing signs of malfunction makes relying on additional solutions inevitable. In that sense, collaboration with tech communities becomes one of the creative problem-solving solutions.

Software engineers love joining tech communities because they are platforms that transform them into better engineers. Before integrating these two, recruiters must understand that tech communities aren’t merely talent pools but dynamic ecosystems where tech professionals seek employment opportunities for growth, learning, and meaningful connections.

Here is a deeper understanding of why tech professionals join tech communities:

  • Interactions with like-focused people
  • Getting visible and getting heard
  • Access to cutting-edge technology and know-how
  • Problem-solving opportunities in real-time

Further on, the following organizational challenges contribute to nurturing collaborative actions between communities and tech job boards:

  • Difficulty in attracting top-tier talent through standard job postings
  • Increasing importance of cultural fit in the tech hiring process
  • Lack of understanding of tech job offers and what needs to be offered to tech professionals

Once job board providers decide to embed with a community, the main task will be establishing trust-building foundations. This usually begins with setting clear objectives that contribute to building authentic relationships (e.g., ensuring that all job listings communicate expectations, requirements, company culture, and compensation; acquiring regular feedback from community members; highlighting and sharing success stories; providing educational content, or actively promoting diversity and inclusion).

Trust-building gains between companies and engineers can be established using broader outreach opportunities through onsite and offline events (e.g., community activities, virtual events, coding challenges, and hackathons). Let’s not forget conventional meetups, which are thematically formatted as a place for software engineers to learn, get expert reviews of their materials, and, more importantly, get career development evaluations.

If all trust-building efforts are applied, the number of quality applicants per open job position will significantly increase, according to WeAreDevelopers best practice reports (well above 50% compared to the pre-transformation period).

Alternative #2: Building Organic Traffic And Directing It On Job Boards

Compared to common traffic-pushing methods that depend on job aggregators and additional tools, some niche job board providers (such as WeAreDevelopers) aim to revolutionize the recruitment process by building sustainable organic traffic. These efforts can be summed up through the mix of the following interactions:

1) Talent Acquisition: Supporting community members' career development aspirations attracts a higher caliber of candidates regarding technical skills, cultural fit, and commitment to innovation.

2) Employer Branding: Assuring greater visibility for companies by providing different opportunities through online and onsite events while aiming to showcase their project scopes, company culture, or DEI integration levels.

3) Innovation and Collaboration: Fostering an environment of innovation and collaboration inside the community or on a broader scale will also reflect on job boards efficiency. Engaging with candidates in various forums and events and having parallel knowledge distribution centers designed for tech HR professionals to stay on top of the most important community trends and preferences.

4) Community Development: Let's not forget the need for continuous efforts to develop and strengthen global tech communities. These can be achieved through educational initiatives, mentorship programs, or other community projects.

As communities (and especially the tech ones) go beyond transactional interactions to fostering genuine connections and mutual support, measuring can be achieved using:

  • Number of annual visitors on the job board
  • Average number of days to get the first applicant per job opened position
  • The average number of job applicants per job ad measured in 60 days

In the end, when looking to embed job boards within tech communities in search of building organic traffic, you must:

Be authentic: Generate genuine engagement, crucial for building trust with any community, especially the tech ones.

Be flexible: This principle contributes to the dynamic nature of communities, especially tech ones. What worked today may not work tomorrow, underscoring the importance of being open to change.


Job boards must embrace the rapid pace of technological advancements and integrate fast emerging AI technologies while focusing on building connections with communities and appealing to the emerging Gen Z workforce. In addition, staying ahead of the latest developments in DEI initiatives and keeping metrics relevant are crucial steps toward confronting the challenges of the War for Talent. Agile and innovative job boards that are aligned with the needs of both employers and job seekers won’t only survive but thrive in the new recruitment paradigm, where we all have to work more to attract the right candidates.


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