Job Boards Ineffective for Hiring Local

Published by Kathleen Houlihan on

Imagine spending marketing dollars to promote products or services in China when you know, for a fact, that they can’t use your product or service there. Essentially, that is what is happening when you have a site-based position posted on a job board, time and money are spent screening candidates who have no intention of coming to work in your community and the data shows that if they come, they are unlikely to stay.

According to Pew Research, 68% of men and 75% of women live close to the town they grew up in.  The study sites various reasons, but the most frequent response is they want to remain close to their family. So, unless you are offering fame and fortune, it is unlikely that a job board is going to lure prospective employees to your open positions in the long term. The recruitment dollars would be better spent in the community where the position will be available.  It not only helps local jobseekers, who overtime are the better investment, it helps to support the local community by bringing opportunities for activities back to the real-world. Employee events are great motivators, which increase worker happiness, productivity, and retention.

Because prospective employees have little desire to move, decentralizing a portion of staffing and recruitment budgets helps HR managers “manage the resources” and their local community network. This process improves production and allows a net positive impact on KPIs through workforce innovation. Connection with the community allows local HR departments to access and evaluate real-time workforce data to understand emerging trends and opportunities that support local initiatives and the bottom-line.

Job boards provide industry specific data that is aggregated by city. The information is limited for rural and suburban communities. These data collected by job boards are designed to serve large businesses, providing little benefit to smaller organizations and communities. It is important to recall that smaller organizations employ 47% of private sector employees, according to the Small Business Association. This means huge gaps in workforce data that is not being collected, meaning decisions are being made without access to local dynamics.

It is better to post positions with Chambers of Commerce, state agencies, workforce groups, or local learning providers when you require site-based workers. These options are cost-effective and often provide access to better quality candidates and better local data. The services offered by the nonprofit sector are designed to support the needs of the community. In addition, non-profit agencies often provide a human services component, including resources for homelessness, childcare, and employee training programs, all of which are important post-pandemic to jobseekers.

Another reason to work locally when filling site-based positions is that employees are seeking companies and organizations that are interested in great causes and who support their personal and professional development. Job boards offer names of candidates but do very little to attract, motivate, or retain talent to local positions. Because of the record low unemployment rates,  it is even more important to look for ways to reimage talent acquisition. The current mantra is about how to offer quality-of-life benefits that create loyal employees who are productive and happy.

Job boards offer limited access to qualified, local talent and they make more money when you need to turn to them, every few weeks, to refill a vacant position. This is how so many open positions are listed, because they are not solving the workforce problem and job boards are even adding to the confusion particularly for small and medium size businesses because they offer templates for the job descriptions, ensuring that employers don’t find what they need. If you use a template, the description is often too long and not optimized to match your business needs.

Consequently, hiring trends in larger cities vary greatly from those in rural America. Organizations should use the hire local approach to ensure quality candidates match the culture and offer a strategic advantage to what is happening, where the work is actually being performed. When hiring for site-based jobs, job boards provide higher costs and little ROI, the process may be streamlined, but good candidates are missed and great candidates may not know to apply, especially because you are looking for “non-computer people” on the computer.

It is important to note, that most of the jobseekers who use job boards are looking for remote positions. According to McKinsey, 87% of workers would choose to work from home, if given a choice.  This number is staggering and illustrates the need for businesses to look for ways to change this dynamic because not all roles can be completed remotely, and some positions required engagement that extends beyond the computer. We need to ensure the growth and development of people who are looking for different kinds of positions, not just those that can be completed online. Using local resources and innovation will help hiring managers find the resources they need to perform site-based work.

If you would like to discuss ways to hire, retain, and motivate local talent, contact Dream2Career.

About the Author:

Kathleen Houlihan, CEO of Dream2Career, is on a mission to help students and career seekers find onramps to their dream careers. Kathy taught full-time at the university level for over 6 years and continues to teach as an adjunct while consulting for businesses and educational providers. She’s serves on several workforce development groups including the T3 Innovation Network and Midwest Credential Transparency Alliance and has a Ph.D. in Organizational Management, an MBA, and B.A. in Psychology.


Kathleen Houlihan

Kathleen Houlihan is a leader in workforce innovation and she is the Founder of an agency that reimagines talent acquisition and optimizes the system for candidates and employers. Her company, Dream2Career, provides human-centric ROI solutions that filter-in candidates who exceed expectations in the workplace.

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Job Boards Ineffective for Hiring Local – National Career-Readiness Association · September 22, 2022 at 8:31 am

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