How Will Job Boards Survive? Q&A With Jeff Dickey-Chasins (aka The Job Board Doctor)

DestinationTalent_Jeff Dickey-Chasins

When a job board falls sick, who do you call? The Job Board Doctor, of course. We touched base with Jeff Dickey-Chasins (aka The Job Board Doctor) to discuss the challenges faced by job boards.

Q. What’s your diagnosis of the job board landscape in the US, are the best years for job boards over?
The job world is changing; as with all change, there will be winners and losers. I’ve said before that job boards must evolve or perish. The advent of social media has put both performance and price pressure on the traditional job board model. At the same time, the ongoing global recession has forced HR and recruiting departments to rethink how they locate and land new employees. The core function of the job board is still very much needed – employers must have a way to find the right candidates, as efficiently and effectively as possible. Thus, those job boards that continue to perform that function will do very well.

Q. Who/what do you think are the biggest threats to the survival of job boards?
The biggest single threat to the survival of most job boards is their own inaction in the face of a changing market. The challenges are quite clear. HR and recruiting departments are under extreme performance and cost pressure to do more with less. At the same time, other platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn are competing for recruiting mindshare. The technical demands also continue; it’s no longer adequate to talk about site traffic and job views. Employers expect a higher level of accountability and integration with their internal tracking systems. But in the end, these are business problems – and if job boards tackle them, they will survive.

Q. There’s little doubt social media/networks are disruptive, in many ways, for job boards. How big a threat is social media for the job board industry?
Social media is a threat to the job board industry in a couple of distinct ways. First, it has grabbed the attention of recruiting professionals – it’s the ‘new thing’. Thus, companies are trying out social media – usually at the expense of some other recruiting expense, such as job boards or career fairs. Second, social media is a broad term for a variety of technologies and platforms, each of which perform at different levels of interaction and complexity. It’s a catch-all for a range of approaches (in a way, you can argue that job boards are social media!). I encourage my clients to embrace and integrate those parts of social media that deliver recruiting results – to make social media part of their sites.

Q. What role do you think job boards will play in the near future?
Job boards will continue to play the same role they’ve played for the past 15 years: they will provide a cost-effective flow of candidates to employers. In particular, niche sites are growing more popular because of their focus on particular locations, industries, or professions. Job boards work because they can concentrate job seeker audiences and motivate them to respond to job ads. That’s the bottom line for most employers.

Q. What must job boards do to survive?
First, job boards must evolve. The world has changed since 1995 – but many job boards haven’t. Time is running out for those sites. The recruiting world is always looking for a faster, more efficient, more effective, and less costly way to find quality candidates. Job boards have to invest in themselves to meet these needs. If they do, they’ll survive – and thrive.

Q. At Destination Talent we have a favourite question – what problems do you solve.  Can you shed some light on what you do?
In a nutshell, I help job boards and career sites reach their goals. Sometimes that involves improving the acquisition of job seekers and/or employers; at other times, it may mean adding new marketing channels such as Twitter or LinkedIn. I’ve been involved in the job board and HR world since 1998, and worked with over 30 different job boards across the globe on everything from launching a new site to acquiring other businesses. My background is primarily in marketing and sales, but I’ve also done print publishing, e-learning, numerous new product launches, and copywriting.

Jeff Dickey-Chasins, a veteran of the job board, publishing, and e-learning industries. Jeff was the original marketing director for, growing it from $7 million to $65+ million in three years. He has worked with numerous job boards and HR-related sites over the past 20 years. Jeff has fought through countless site revisions, marketing campaigns, and challenging sales environments. He can be reached at

5 replies
    GL HOFFMAN says:

    Jeff's comments are spot on. This is why is becoming the new way to search for a job. Linkup is actually a job search engine, because it only indexes company website career portals for job openings. We find that about 70% of the listings we present on LINKUP are NEVER advertised on any other job board. The typical job board will NEVER take this approach because it would simply ruin their business model of charging outlandish fees to companies to post their individual jobs. is also free to the job seeker.

  2. robkornblum
    robkornblum says:

    Jeff- Great post. Social Media is also a threat because 1) it has huge traffic but even higher engagement (blows away the 'portals' of 2001 era) and 2)social media lends itself to referral hiring, which has always been a more significant source of hire than advertising.

  3. Chan Chi Sang
    Chan Chi Sang says:

    You are really not saying anything!

    Just talking about social media, twitter, Linkedin etc. taking share from job boards, people have been saying that for years…

    What’s your point?

    Job boards need to evolve, sure.

    But how and in what capacity ?

    This article has no insight whatsoever.

  4. Kevin Howard
    Kevin Howard says:

    Jeff said “the ongoing global recession has forced HR and recruiting departments to rethink how they locate and land new employees”

    I can only assume Jeff, that you are taking about the USA, because we don’t have a recession here in Australia (this is an Australian blog), and just because there is a recession in the US doesn’t mean it is a global recession. Therefore the recruitment landscape here in Australia is different to the US – we already have skill shortages in some disciplines.

    Jeff also said “Social media is a threat to the job board industry in a couple of distinct ways. First, it has grabbed the attention of recruiting professionals – it’s the ‘new thing’.

    Social Media evangelists have been banging on about this for several years now, so it’s certainly not ‘the new thing’, indeed it would be fair to say that many people are sick of hearing about how social media is going to revolutionise recruitment, because they know it’s a lie.

    Social media is just not instant enough for the vast majority of recruiters. It requires too much time investment for absolutely no guarantee of a return and you can’t turn social media on and off like an ad on a job board. Social Media can play a part in recruitment, but it’s a small part.

    You hit the nail on the head yourself Jeff when you said;
    “Job boards work because they can concentrate job seeker audiences and motivate them to respond to job ads. That’s the bottom line for most employers.”

    I couldn’t have summed it up better myself!

    Some people have been predicting the demise of job boards for years, and it hasn’t happened. This is because some job boards actually work and smart recruiters know that there will never be one advertising channel that will reach all job seekers, so if they want to reach the best people that they can in the market at any given time, they are going to use multiple products to find the best people.

    There are of course some job boards that are hopeless, and you will find poor services in any field of business where the barrier to entry is very low, but while a job board continues to deliver good candidates to advertisers it doesn’t need to ‘evolve’ very much.

    As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it 🙂


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *