Price hikes and strategy changes – why job board advertising is about to change


Job board price increases. They’ve been impossible to ignore and, from conversations with clients and comments on LinkedIn threads, a lot of people are really unhappy. But I think we are standing at a precipice now, a point of no turning back when it comes to recruitment media costs and I predict the Totaljobs/Jobsite price hikes will become the norm across other job boards (though perhaps not with quite such an eye-watering percentage increase).

What can you do about it? Focus on quality over quantity and be laser-like in your job ad strategies. 

Here’s what I think will happen now:  

1. Others will increase prices too

When all your competitors increase their rates as supply gets tight, inevitably you will increase your rates too, even if you have a plentiful supply.

2. Recruiters will compare the price of the other candidate attraction tools

One of the huge myths in this industry is that Indeed (and other aggregators such as Zip, Adzuna, etc.) is cheap but provides poor quality response. It doesn’t, it’s a market place of recruiters and candidates and the highest bidder wins. Often the highest bidder is happy with the results and the lowest bidder is not – another classic ‘you get what you pay for’ – but it’s not cheap and over the past few years it has been more expensive to advertise on Indeed than the likes of Totaljobs, Monster, CV Library and Reed.

LinkedIn Recruiter is probably the most expensive candidate attraction tool available to recruiters and most will have a licence that’s fully utilised. I’m sure the job boards have looked at this and used this as the benchmark of pricing and a solid justification of why the rates need to go up. But a word of warning to the job boards – I often hear recruiters complain about the price but I NEVER hear them complain that it doesn’t work. So if you want to benchmark LinkedIn you have to make sure your product performs.

 3. Less jobs = more quality

Ultimately, I think the end result will be better – less jobs on job boards should, in theory, improve the candidate experience. It will be faster to find the job you want and there will be fewer ‘fake jobs’. Candidates are less likely to apply to multiple roles, recruiters will be more sparing with their job posts, improve the quality of posting and think more before they post.

 4. Duration posting will cease to be sustainable

I think this is the beginning of the end of duration posting, where job boards charge a fixed amount and then pay a variable amount to attract candidates to that job. It’s a risky business. Until now it’s been a profitable one – and some will continue to balance supply with demand – but I think we’ll see increasing transparency and a rise in the pay for performance model. Job boards have been slow to adopt this and yet those who have – the likes of Indeed, for example – have suddenly (in the last 5 years +) overtaken them in terms of both profits and performance. It’s been hard for boards to switch to this method as the switch will hit profits hard in the short term. It’s comparable to swapping your car from your old trusty petrol engine to an electric one – it will cost more initially but the long term benefits will eventually come through and this is the catalyst.

We’ve never been busier on our media buying and strategy side of the business. The job boards are not as straight forward as they should be and in all the years I’ve been providing discounted media buying services, this is perhaps the biggest shake up since the dot com bubble burst (now I feel old!). But I think these rates are here to stay – at least until the next shake up. So if you’re looking at your job board renewal prices, are fed up of dealing with the job boards and you want someone to do all that for you (and give you a discount for the pleasure), do give us a call – job boards are our world!