The Best Job Boards for Your Recruiting Dollar – 2017

By: on May 10, 2017

When we published “The Best Job Boards for Your Recruiting Dollar” back in 2014, it immediately struck a chord with recruiters wanting to know which job boards provided the best bang for their buck. To this day, it remains one of our most highly read articles.

But do our results still hold true today? Since our last survey, job posting prices have changed, ownership of leading providers has switched hands and one big new player in the form of Facebook has entered the race.

We decided it was time for an update.

Here’s the gist: we surveyed 180 U.S.-based recruiters and asked them to rate seven popular job boards on three important criteria:

  1. The quantity of applicants they received from each job board posting
  2. The quality of applicants they received from each job board posting
  3. The perceived value of each job board given the services offered and their associated cost

What is the best job board for your recruiting dollar in 2017? Read on to find out.

Indeed Delivers the Highest Quantity of Applicants

It can take hundreds of candidates to find “the one” for a vacancy, which is why it’s important that each job board posting you decide to spend money on attracts a large number of applicants.

In this regard, as it did back in 2014, Indeed remains supreme. Nearly a third (31 percent) of our respondents rate Indeed as delivering a “very high” quantity of applicants for each job posting.

Quantity of Applicants From Job Boards
quantity of applicants from job boards
Social media sites Facebook and LinkedIn amass the most traffic on this list—so why haven’t they come out on top? Well, the 200 million visitors who go to Indeed every month are there to do one of two things: post a job opening or apply to one.

This intent, combined with Indeed’s popularity compared to other pure job boards, explains why they won out here.

Knowing that quantity matters, Indeed will actually tell you how many applicants to expect in the next month for a job opening based on your daily spend.

LinkedIn Delivers the Highest Quality of Candidates

Of course, any recruiter knows that quantity isn’t everything. It’s also vital that each posting on a job board attracts high quality candidates—those with exceptional skills and experience that are also an excellent fit for the position they applied for. In fact, many argue quality of hire is the most important metric in recruiting.

Here, LinkedIn is the winner. Nearly 60 percent of respondents rate LinkedIn as delivering above-average candidates for each job posting. LinkedIn also led the pack in this category in 2014.

Quality of Applicants From Job Boards
quality of applicants from job boards
This result isn’t surprising. When it comes to career-related information, no one can touch the treasure trove that is LinkedIn. Job seekers wanting to know more about a potential employer before applying for a position can visit their customized company page on LinkedIn to assess things like cultural fit and work style.

Likewise, hiring managers wanting to know more about individual applicants can view the full profiles of any of LinkedIn’s 400 million+ members through services like LinkedIn Recruiter. The result? A better match between potential employer and potential employee, and a higher quality of applicant than any other job board.

Indeed Delivers the Best Value for Recruiters

Back in 2014, we asked recruiters to rate different job boards as “low cost,” “medium cost” and “high cost.”

Given the different factors that can affect straight cost—like pricing structures and discounts for bulk purchases, and the wide range of functionality and services you can receive from different job boards for the price you pay—we thought we could do better for 2017.

So instead we asked recruiters to rate the value of these seven job boards, based on the functionality and services offered and their associated cost.

With this new criteria in mind, Indeed again triumphs, but just barely, over LinkedIn. And I do mean barely. Our final scores in the table at the end of this article show Indeed edged out LinkedIn in this category by one one-hundredth of a point.

Perceived Value of Job Boards
perceived value of job boards
Indeed users find value in the same way advertisers find value on Google: they reach a massive audience and only pay when a visitor has done a desired action, like clicking to apply for a job.

For free, you can post as many jobs as you want to appear in search results, but you can also pay to have your postings appear in the “sponsored” results at the top of the page.

When you pay, you set a daily budget for each posting and are only charged for each click that posting receives from interested job seekers—anywhere from $0.10 a click to over $5 a click in really competitive fields or locations. When you’ve exhausted your daily budget, your posting disappears from search results.

Indeed also offers consulting services to recommend budgets for different postings and integration with over 100 applicant tracking system (ATS) partners to streamline recruiting processes.

The Best Job Board for Your Recruiting Dollar Is…

To calculate our final scores, we looked at the results from our three previous categories and assigned point values to each response: one point for “very low,” two points for “somewhat low,” three points for “average,” four points for “somewhat high” and five points for “very high.” Those who said they never used a certain job board were not counted.

We then totaled up the points and divided by the number of responses that used that job board to get an average score for each category. Average those three category scores together and there you have it: our final job board rankings.

So which job board reigns supreme in 2017?

Final Job Board Rankings

Quantity Score Quality Score Value Score Final Score


Though Indeed edges out LinkedIn in applicant quantity and value, ultimately, LinkedIn’s high applicant quality score (3.93 vs. 3.74) pushes it over the top. Monster, a reliable veteran of the job board space since 1994, rounds out the top three.

Our respondents ranked Facebook and Craigslist as the bottom two. Facebook’s placement isn’t too surprising given their relative newness to the industry (they rolled out job posting features to U.S. employers in February of this year) and early adopter feedback that states that the services offered are functional, but largely more of the same compared to what’s already out there.

For Craigslist, recruiting has never been a specialty or focus but more of an ancillary offering. As its poor quality score (2.66) also shows, Craigslist has’t exactly become a premiere destination for top talent.

How to Find The Best Job Board Mix For Your Business

Some things stay the same. Just as we discovered in 2014, LinkedIn and Indeed are still the best job boards for your recruiting dollar. Does that mean you should pour your entire talent acquisition budget into these two alone? Not necessarily.

Whether you’re hiring more for entry roles or senior positions, in sales or engineering, at home or abroad, ultimately your recruiting needs are completely different from every other business. To discover what job board mix is right for you, consider investing in a recruiting system with built-in analytics.

With the right software in-house, you can gain insight into which job boards are providing the most applicants, the best applicants, the highest offer rate and much more to find what mix provides the best ROI for your business—saving you money and improving your ability to hire A+ talent.

Head here to find out what the top recruiting software products are with our Applicant Tracking System FrontRunners Quadrant.

Methodology & Demographics

To conduct this research, Software Advice collected survey responses from 180 U.S.-based recruiters who spent at least $1,000 on job board postings in the last 12 months.

Software Advice performs and funds this research independently. Results are representative of our survey sample, not necessarily the population as a whole. Expert commentary solely represents the views of the individual. Chart values are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Nineteen percent of respondents come from business service industries, 18 percent come from a wide variety of industries determined as ‘Other’, while 12 percent come from customer service.

Respondents, by Industry
data on best job board mix by industry
In terms of size, 18 percent of respondents come from businesses with 101 to 250 employees while 14 percent have 501 to 1,000.

Respondents, by Number of Employees
data on best job board mix by business size
Lastly, in terms of annual revenue, 50 percent of respondents come from businesses with $50 million or less in revenue.

Respondents, by Annual Revenue
best job boards 2017 pie chart

You may also like:

5 Unexpected Job Applicant Qualities That Forecast Success

What the Best Careers Pages Teach About Designing Your Own

5 Recruiting Trends in 2017 (and the 9 ATS Features You Need to Capitalize on Them)

Compare Applicant Tracking Systems

Share This