job boards

How Job Board Fees Work

When considering recruiting online, there is a multitude of options. There are literally hundreds of different job boards available.

Some job boards are free, others charge a lump sum for a single listing for 30 days, while others charge based on assigned budgets and bidding.

It’s a lot to navigate and think about when all you really care about is finding the right person to fill your position. 

In this post, we provide some clarity into how different job boards charge their customers and what that means to you as a small business owner.

Charging by Lump Sum

This model is probably the easiest to understand and is basically the digital version of a classified ad in a newspaper. You pay the job board X dollars to display your ad on their website for a predetermined period of time, usually 30 to 60 days.

You pay up front and there’s no guarantee that this will yield the results you want. The decision making process has to be based on either prior success with that job board or you need to be confident that the given job board will deliver a significant amount of traffic and hence applications for your listing.

Examples of job boards that charge this way are:

  • Craigslist – In most major metropolitan areas, the fees range from $25 to $75. Craigslist can be a management nightmare due to all the emails you receive, but it is one of the most cost effective channels available.
  • Monster One of the oldest job boards online, fees for a single 30 day listing are $375, but Monster offers discounts for bulk purchases.
  • CareerBuilder – A single posting costs $419, but similar to Monster, CareerBuilder offers significant discounts for bulk purchases.
  • SimplyHired – A basic job posting starts at $99 for 30 days.

Pay for Performance

There are a couple of different Pay for Performance models that are used by job boards.

Pay-Per-Click

Indeed was the first job board to launch a Pay-Per-Click model. In this model, you, as a job advertiser, set a budget to spend and a maximum amount that you are willing pay for clicks through to your job.

For example, if you set a budget of $50, and you are willing to spend up to $1.00 per click, then you are guaranteed to receive at least 50 click-throughs to you job listing. Assuming that 10% of those clicks lead to a job application, then you will receive 5 job applications for $50.

Depending on the type of you job for which you are hiring, you may need to adjust your budget and click bid amount. It can take some work to figure out what makes sense for your business. In our own experiments with Indeed, we have found that for a lot of small business jobs, you can get away with as low as $0.25 to $0.50 per click, but a lot depends on factors like your geography, industry and the specific role.

Resume Search

 In this model you either pay for access or you pay for contact details of a resume that you think is interesting.

LinkedIn sells yearly licenses to access their pool of job candidates. Paying for this type of license really only makes sense for recruiters or businesses that are hiring a lot of people. Otherwise the cost would not be justified.

Indeed, CareerCast, and Monster each have options for accessing their resume database but have slightly different methods of charging.

  • Indeed allows anyone to search their database but charges $1 for contact information
  • CareerCast provides previews of a resume but charges $10 for a full view of the information, with bulk discounts
  • Monster charges on a monthly basis for views. For example, 100 views for a single month costs $575. They have bulk discounts and discounts for longer term purchasing.

Pay-Per-Application

 Although far less common, this model has been used in the past by job boards like Jobster. The premise is similar to Pay-Per-Click, but in this case you are only paying for submitted resumes. The often cited issue with this model is that it can be difficult to know how to budget for the results. With the lump sum payment model, you know from the beginning that a job listing on Craigslist will cost you $25, but with this model the cost if variable, it could be $100 or $1,000 and you won’t really know until you are done hiring.

Other Models

There are a few other models that you may come across. These include things like sponsored or featured listings where your posting will be more prominent than a the baseline job posting or fees for convenience options like auto re-posting.

The classified ads site Backpage is free to post but they charge for services like auto re-posting, moving your job back to the top of the list, and for posting to more than one city at a time. Each service could be done manually but Backpage makes money by charging you for an automated solution.

Final Words

As you can see, there are a lot of different options when it comes to posting jobs online and different ways a job board may charge you. Whatever solution you go with, just make sure that businesses similar to you are posting there as well and keep track of your results so you know where to go next time you need to hire.

And if you need to hire, check out our article about the best job boards to find niche talent and get posting today!

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Sean Falconer

Sean Falconer is Founder and CTO of Proven. He is a proud Canadian and reformed academic. He is passionate about making hiring for small business simple, streamlined and frictionless.

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