Scroll Top

Social recruiting vs job boards

Curious about how recruiting on social media differs from recruiting on job boards? You’re probably wondering how adding social recruiting to your hiring effort would help you get more—and perhaps better—applicants than the ones you’re sourcing from job boards.

These are great questions, and they’re the right questions to ask. Let’s start with the key differences.

How social recruiting and job boards compare

CareerArc Social Recruiting®
Job boards
Reaches passive candidates, promising higher-quality talent Yes No
Gets your brand and jobs on the most visited websites in the world Yes No
Delivers higher quality, more informed, culture-fit candidates Yes No
Ability to manage and build organic employer brand awareness, reputation, and loyalty Yes No
Leverages your recruiters’ and employees’ peer networks to encourage advocacy and referral Yes No
Enhances diversity hiring by getting your brand and message in front of the most diverse user populations Yes No

Difference #1
Social recruiting reaches active and passive candidates, while job boards only serve active job seekers

If you’re in talent acquisition, you know that passive candidates are often the top performers in their company and field who are not actively seeking new employment but are open to the right opportunity—if and when it comes along.

The problem is these in-demand passive talent likely don’t spend any time on job boards because they’re not actively in the market for a new job. Unlike active job seekers, passive candidates have the luxury to stay at their current company and wait to be approached by, or to stumble upon, an employer-of-choice. So while passive job seekers are not on job boards, they are online—and they’re spending most of their time on social media.

of job seekers use social media when searching for a new job
Social and professional networks are the most used resource to recruit talent, topping employee referrals (87%), job boards (82%), and job ads (72%)
Social media and social recruiting software top the list of planned and continued technology investments in 2021
Cute French bulldog puppy with someone's finger in front of his mouth like he has a secret

Pssst. If you’re only investing in job boards, you’re missing out on some of the best talent.

Why? Because unlike job boards that serve primarily active job seekers, social media platforms are the online destination for all candidates—passive and active talent–and really, social networks are the most visited sites of all internet users.

Difference #2
Social recruiting gets your brand and job opportunities on the most visited websites in the world

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are in the top 10 most visited sites in the world, and social recruiting solutions—like CareerArc—publish content, at scale, on these sites to meet candidates where they spend the most time online every day.

Meanwhile, job boards don’t even break the list of the top 50 global sites. 😲

Top global websites
  • #3 Facebook 10.9B visitors/mo
  • #4 Twitter 8.2B visitors/mo
  • #7 Instagram 4.8B visitors/mo

SEMRush, Jan 2023

CareerArc client social recruiting examples in mobile phone

Difference #3
Social recruiting delivers higher quality, more informed, culture-fit candidates than job boards

So, job boards aren’t the most visited sites in the world. But that’s to be expected. Why? Because job boards are part of an important but limited moment in the candidate journey.

Job boards are where active job seekers go when they’re hours, or even minutes, away from clicking “apply”. This is why job boards are similar to an online marketplace, but instead of purchasing products, job seekers shop and browse for jobs. But unfortunately, this is also why the typical applicant sourced from job boards is on average of lower quality and fit. Let’s stick with this analogy for a second…

Job boards are where companies pay for their products to be listed (job postings), and they can even pay for premium placement on the page (via sponsored ads), for more attention. However, unlike actual marketplaces, candidates can apply (buy) to as many job openings they want to without added cost. They are often incentivized to apply to as many jobs as possible with easy one-click-apply processes job boards have designed.

These characteristics of job boards are the reason why they drive a high volume of applicants, but applicants who are on average unqualified or less qualified than applicants sourced through other channels.

Before CareerArc, we used a generic job board that had our positions sitting right beside listings from competitors. What CareerArc offers is just light-years beyond that. The candidate experience they help us deliver has shrunk time to fill, cost per hire, and turnover. We’ve come a full 180.


Ready to level up your social recruiting strategy?

Difference #4
Social recruiting helps you organically build your employer brand awareness, reputation, and loyalty in a way job boards can’t

Like on any marketplace, products and brands compete head-to-head for attention, but the most trusted and recognized brands on job boards get the largest share of quality applicants. However, job boards are neither the most visited nor the most trusted site in the candidate journey. The go-to destination for learning about a company’s brand and reputation is social media.

Job boards offer very limited to no branding features beyond adding your logo and boilerplate to your job posting; any enhanced branding opportunities, via sponsored placement and job ads, are offered at a premium price. If you’re relying only on job boards to boost your employer brand awareness and reach, you are likely paying top dollar to get it, or you’re not reaching the full hiring potential your brand can achieve organically.

of all job seekers consider employer brand and reputation before applying for a job. For passive job seekers, the percentage is even higher at 89%
Job boards are designed to increase brand competition—not brand awareness—on their platform. The harder it is to compete for attention on job boards, the more valuable attention becomes—and the higher you will need to pay to get it.

Have you seen your job posting and ad spend increase over time? That’s because you’re paying an inflating rate on platforms you don’t own. And once you stop paying … Poof! All value is gone. Alas, this is the nature of all paid media, because that’s how job boards and ad platforms make the big bucks.

In contrast, on social media your brand exposure doesn’t stop once your ad budget is met. Unlike on job boards, your brand owns the social media page and content published on that page. You decide what to post, how often to post, and how long you should keep a post up—at no additional cost per post.

To help you make the best decisions and optimize your approach, social recruiting solutions like CareerArc ensure you have the on-brand content quality, social media strategy, and publishing frequency and scale you need to achieve real results on social. With the right solution and partnership, your brand awareness builds organically over time, adding more engaged followers and candidates to your online audience.

Difference #5
Social recruiting leverages your recruiters’ and employees’ peer networks to drive advocacy and referral

Job board users can’t follow a brand’s page and see updates from that brand on a news feed like they can on social. They also can’t like, share, or engage with them on a platform where other candidates’ peers visit daily. In turn, job board users can’t discover your job opportunities and your brand through their peers’ likes, shares, and engagement.

CareerArc’s social recruiting solution was designed to maximize the inherent network effect of social media by intelligently pushing job-related social posts to your recruiters’ linked social channels. By systematically delivering share-worthy content on your recruiters’ social channels, you help bring employees—and their extended peer network—closer to your brand with every like, share, comment, and follow. Each moment of engagement gets more eyes on your jobs, more applicants in the pipe, and more time back to your recruiters.

A peek at how Ulta Beauty uses recruiter auto-posts

Many of our clients have found that adding social media recruiting to their efforts has made their overall recruiting spend more efficient, saving recruiting teams hundreds of hours of time—on average 949 hours a year—and for some, like CVS Health, even achieving the lowest cost per hire across all hiring channels.

Difference #6
Social recruiting enhances diversity hiring by getting your brand and message in front of the most diverse talent populations online

Did you know that simply adding social platforms to your hiring channel mix can instantly increase diversity of your candidate audience? That’s because social networks serve some of the most diverse online user populations.

Facebook boasts the most diverse user population across multiple demographic factors—including age, gender, race, education, and residence, and 18 and 27 year-olds are as likely to use Facebook as someone between 30 and 49 years old. On Instagram and Twitter, there is a larger share of Black and Hispanic Americans using these platforms compared to white Americans.

Choosing to add these social networks into your mix of hiring channels is one simple yet impactful step towards ensuring your job posts and employer brand content are reaching the diverse audience you seek.

But the benefits social media offers to a company’s diversity hiring program don’t stop there. Compared to job boards, social recruiting enables organizations to raise awareness around how much they value workforce diversity beyond the boilerplate in their job description. We work with leading brands like Starbucks, CVS Health, and Mastercard that leverage social media to spread their diversity goals, commitments, and actions through engaging and media-rich social media posts that generate a ton of candidate engagement.

of job seekers say they check social media for employee and consumer comments about workforce diversity, or lack thereof, at a company
of job seekers say that diversity, equity, and inclusion messages published by employers would make them more likely to apply to that company

Experienced talent leaders know that DEI is not an ideal achieved overnight, and so social media can help organizations not only reach the diverse candidates they seek to engage but also ground the DEI discussion among the very community it aims to impact.

View our DEI lookbook, “How to promote your diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives through social media to drive diverse candidate pools,” which includes real examples from CareerArc clients and a checklist on how to get started.

Don’t take our word for it—see for yourself

Job boards or and social recruiting

The more you look at the differences between using job boards and social media to hire talent, the more you realize the relationship isn’t competitive—it’s complementary.

You need to invest in job boards and social recruiting to ensure you are reaching the best active and passive talent available

94% of those who use job boards to hire talent also use social media and cite social and professional networks as their most-used hiring resource second to job boards, topping employee referrals and job advertising. However, while most employers claim to be on social media to recruit talent, we found that the large majority are not social. In fact, the large majority aren’t currently employing critical practices that could effectively expand their brand reach, resonance, and recall.

We found that about two-thirds of employers don’t post all of their jobs on social networks and only about a third apply best practices like using hashtags to target specific audiences, post jobs on their recruiters’ social profiles, and share employer brand content beyond job posts.

Those who did invest in social recruiting software were exponentially more likely to apply these best practices and increased the benefits derived from their continued social recruiting investment including the ability to reach passive candidates, increase candidate engagement, and source candidates for hard-to-fill roles.

Social media has become a very competitive landscape. To get the maximum return on your social hiring investment today, you need social recruiting software and services that can unlock the competitive edge social media has to offer your brand and your jobs.

In sum, job boards are an investment in your short-term talent strategy, while social recruiting builds long-term, organic brand equity that exponentially increases ROI over time

Job boards are the short-term investment that helps convert the high-intent low-hanging fruit in the talent pool—active job seekers. Social recruiting is an investment in your long-term, organic, active and passive candidate strategy that builds exponential brand and hiring ROI and a growing candidate pipeline over time.

Questions to consider when evaluating job board spend

Before you add one more dollar to your job board spend, consider the following.

  • How does your current job board investment help you achieve or increase the following?
  • Drive employee advocacy
  • Drive employee referrals
  • Drive brand awareness
  • Reach passive candidates
  • Drive traffic to your career site and talent network signup page
  • Drive awareness to your diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
  • Since job boards will likely increase applicant volume while also decreasing the average applicant quality, have you budgeted for the additional resources you will need to help vet the spike in incoming applications and resumes?
  • If you’re not investing in social recruiting, how are you going to make up for the higher-quality candidates driven by social media? What’s driving your strategy for passive candidates today?
  • Have you compared your return on your job board spend from the previous quarter or year and learned whether you’ve reached a point of diminishing returns? (One indication of diminishing returns on job boards is increased job board budget or placement rates for lowering return on applicant quality.)
Break the job board addiction
Starbucks logo
HCA Healthcare logo
UPS logo
CVS Health logo
Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.