Why You Can’t Rely on Online Job Boards Alone for Recruiting at Your Hotel

With the hospitality industry still behind roughly 250,000 jobs from pre-pandemic levels of employment, you might be inclined to pour even more time and resources into paid job boards. Millions of people use these sites, so on the surface, it might seem like a perfect way to get your open roles in front of more job seekers and fill your roster faster.

While channels like these can be a great way to reach more applicants, they’re not always your best source of quality applicants or eventual hires. In fact, among Hireology customers, career sites typically drive four times more hires than organic and sponsored job boards; on average, just 2% of eventual hires come from online job boards. 

Here’s a closer look at why online job boards are not always the best source for driving hires as well as what applicant sources you should add to your strategy to maximize your reach to applicants.

The problem with online job boards

It’s important to note that some organizations do find success driving quality talent from online job boards. And if your organization does see ROI from these sites, then they certainly should continue to be a part of your sourcing strategy. The key is making sure they’re not your only source of applicants.

Why? Despite reaching millions of job seekers and being incredibly easy for folks to navigate and use, online job boards do have some limitations. Here’s a closer look.


These sites scrape the web to pull in job openings across all businesses and industries. On top of that, most companies directly post on or use tools that integrate with these sites. So there’s a lot of competition to get to the top of the results on these online job boards — and you typically have to pay quite a bit to stand out.


Speaking of pay, online job boards can also get expensive, fast. In order to even show up at the top of a search you have to pay significant fees. And most of the time, the cost you’re putting into these sites is far outweighing the return from the actual hires you’re driving from it. In some cases, these sites can cost you tens of thousands of dollars just to make one single hire.

Quantity over quality

Even if you can drive good applicant flow from online job boards, typically they’re not quality applicants. There’s a couple of reasons for this. For one, these sites make it really easy to apply, so usually you’re going to get people who know their skills and background are not a match but apply anyway because it’s a quick and easy process. And secondly, people who come in through online job boards tend to be more casual job seekers who aren’t serious about taking a new job immediately.


Finally, most of the folks you are trying to reach — people who have the right experience, skills, adn interest for the hospitality space — simply do not use these online job boards. Most hospitality job seekers find out about job openings through word-of-mouth, not third-party sites. That’s because folks typically trust their peers and former coworkers (rather than you or a third-party site) to give them an honest opinion about what it’s like working for you.

Because of these limitations, it can be incredibly difficult — not to mention expensive — to fill your open roles quickly when relying on these sites alone. And at a time when you’re short-staffed and filling your open roles is critical to the success of your business, you need to do everything you can to set yourself up to connect with and reach the maximum number of quality candidates.

What sources should you use?

As noted above, this certainly does not mean you should completely eliminate online job boards from your strategy. The key is understanding what channels are working best and allocating your resources accordingly. For example, if you’re finding that most of your hires come from Facebook, invest most of your time and efforts there. 

But again, no single channel should be your only source of applicants. To maximize your reach to applicants and fill open roles faster, it’s important to execute a recruiting strategy that includes a diverse range of sources. Here are a few channels to consider using alongside job boards to source candidates.

Employee referrals

On average, employee referral programs drive one in every 10 hires for Hireology customers. These programs work so well because candidates referred by your existing teammates are often more qualified than those who come in from others sources, and are better aligned with your organization’s value. Referred candidates are generally hired faster, stay longer, and are more engaged throughout the employee lifecycle. Plus, it’s easy and cost-effective to get a referral program up and running. All you have to do is share your priority roles with the company and incentivize employees to participate with cash bonuses or other rewards like concert tickets and gift cards.

Social media

Compared to job boards, social media is an equally effective, but less expensive way to reach a wide range of job seekers. In fact, 72% of U. S. adults are active on at least one social media site, making it an obvious channel for expanding your reach to more people. You can post your open roles organically or take advantage of social media job boards like Jobs on Facebook. Social media is also a good way to passively reach people who aren’t actively looking for a job but might consider it if they see your job postings in their feed.


People go to Google first when researching almost everything — jobs included. That means you have to do everything you can to show up in Google searches or you risk missing out on a massive amount of job seekers who are eager for work. And thankfully, there are really simple things you can do to optimize your job descriptions and improve your ranking. Make sure your descriptions are between 300 and 800 words and include the keywords your target audience is searching for, such as specific skills, certifications, and location. And the job titles themselves should be between one to three words only.

At the end of the day, your goal is to fill your open roles with the right people as fast as possible. Because ultimately, the success of your hotel depends on it. But doing so is easier said than done, especially given the constraints on the labor market. So relying on traditional sources like online job boards alone is no longer going to cut it — particularly in the hospitality space.

So take some time to consider one or two new channels you can add to your strategy to reach more job seekers today. Your team — and your guests — will thank you for it.

Learn more about what the hospitality job seeker prioritizes while looking for a new role with our 2023 State of Hospitality Hiring Report to gain even more insight on what you can do to hire more than your fair share of talent.



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