Job Boards vs. Applicant Tracking Systems – Who’s the Winner?

It’s a debate I’ve heard time and again over the last 10 years…

Job Board:  “We are sending a ton of candidates to your career site, but only 30% are completing, what’s wrong with your career site?”

Career Site aka Applicant Tracking System (ATS):  “Our job is to screen out the candidates, and that’s what we’re doing!  The system is doing its job thoroughly and well.”

The truth is, both arguments are correct. The job board’s goal is to drive as much traffic to your jobs as possible, to find as many candidates as possible.  The career site’s job is to screen out those candidates so you only have to communicate with the potentially qualified applicants.

When a candidate clicks on a link in a job board ad, there are still many questions in that candidate’s mind.  Is the company reputable?  Is this is a job I want?  Is this a job I even have a chance to get?  As the candidate views the detailed job information on the career site, those questions are answered, and the candidate only completes the application if he answers those questions affirmatively.

Over the last ten years, across over one thousand career sites we’ve built for our clients, the average number of applicants who look at the job, and then actually complete and pass all the pre-screening questions is 30%.  30% is a good, solid number to shoot for, because those 30% of applicants have already screened themselves as a viable candidate for the job, and passed most of the job requirements, if the pre-screening questions are written well (How to Write a Good Prescreening Questionnaire.

With that screened applicant pool, you can focus your time on further assessing and interviewing the candidates, saving the time you would have spent screening out the other 70%.

But the other 70% aren’t lost – a good ATS will refer the candidates to other jobs, such as the job information screen for Delphi Automotive, which refers candidates to similar jobs they might be interested in, and allows candidates to share the job opening with friends via email, Facebook, mySpace and more:

Delphi Career Site

So who wins the debate? You do! Because job boards are generating traffic to your career site, and the career site is screening out unqualified candidates, you get the best of both worlds.

One thought on “Job Boards vs. Applicant Tracking Systems – Who’s the Winner?

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    Your help desk and HR Services at Boehringer Ingelheim
    figured out why my online job application was failing.
    My application was linked to the wrong job opening.
    It took only an hour to fix the problem,
    what a relief! Thanks for writing a system that people
    can support!
    Louisa Wunder

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