LinkedIn Delivers the Highest Quality, Indeed the Highest Quantity of Applicants

All job boards are not created equal. A survey of 150 recruiters in the U.S. and Canada in early June 2014 determined which job boards they should focus their recruiting budget on, to achieve maximum results.

LinkedIn Delivers High Quality and Quantity of Applicants

When taking into consideration the quality and quantity of applicants each job board delivers, as well as the cost of these job boards, LinkedIn and Indeed are the forerunners. Recruiters report that LinkedIn delivers by far the highest-quality applicants at a medium cost—as well as a high quantity of applicants, second only to Indeed (and not by much).

cost-vs-quantity-vs-quality

LinkedIn Delivers the Highest Quality of Applicants

We asked recruiters to rate the quality level of the applicants they receive through each job board. According to our survey, the majority (40 percent) of recruiters note that LinkedIn delivers “high-quality” applicants.

Quality of Applicants

quality-of-candidatesThe runners-up, CareerBuilder and Indeed, were described as delivering “high-quality” job candidates by only 17 and 13 percent of recruiters, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Monster, Craigslist and Glassdoor delivered the fewest “high-quality” candidates.

Indeed Delivers the Highest Quantity of Applicants

Another key consideration needed to determine a job board’s worth: How many applicants does it deliver? When we asked recruiters to rate each job board in terms of how many candidates they received from it, Indeed came in first place, with 30 percent of recruiters saying the site delivers a “high quantity” of applicants. In second place, with 27 percent, was LinkedIn.

Quantity of Applicants

quantity-of-candidatesIn terms of quantity, Monster was a much closer runner-up than when delivering quality candidates. Twenty-four percent of respondents said that Monster delivered a “high quantity” of candidates, compared to just 8 percent giving the job board high ratings for “high-quality” candidates.

Craigslist Is the Least Expensive Job Board Option

Of course, one of the most crucial components when choosing which job boards to invest in is cost. We asked recruiters to rate each job board as “low cost,” “medium cost” or “high cost.” Craigslist was the least expensive of the job boards, with 42 percent of recruiters noting that the site was “low cost.” In second place was Indeed, with 29 percent.

Recruiters seemed torn on their rating of LinkedIn’s cost, with an almost equal percentage of recruiters rating the site as “low” (21 percent), “medium” (23 percent) and “high cost” (23 percent). This may be due to the different plans offered to recruiters by LinkedIn—monthly plans can vary from free all the way up to $899 per month.

Job Board Costs

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Most Effective Board Varies by Job Level

In addition to asking recruiters to rank these job boards based on the quantity and quality of applicants delivered, as well as the overall price, we asked for their opinion on how effective each job board was for recruiting jobs of varying levels of responsibility.

As it turns out, according to the recruiters who took the survey, Indeed, CareerBuilder and Craigslist are most effective for recruiting candidates for entry-level positions.

Key findings:

  • Entry-Level Positions: Indeed is most effective

Moving up in levels of responsibility, recruiters noted that LinkedIn and Indeed were the most effective job boards when seeking candidates for mid- and senior-level positions.

  • Mid-Level Positions: LinkedIn is most effective

But while LinkedIn and Indeed were rated similarly in their effectiveness when recruiting for mid-level positions, when it came to senior-level positions, LinkedIn jumped ahead. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said LinkedIn was “very effective” for recruiting for senior-level positions, compared to just 11 percent rating Indeed as “very effective” for sourcing senior-level candidates.

  • Senior-Level Positions: LinkedIn is most effective too

Meanwhile, recruiters noted that Craigslist was the least effective for recruiting candidates for positions at higher levels of responsibility. In fact, 33 percent of recruiters noted that this particular job board was “not effective” for recruiting senior-level positions, while 52 percent did not even use Craigslist to recruit for these types of positions.

Which job board serves your needs?

There are many job boards available, but not all will serve your company’s specific needs. Questions regarding the quantity and quality of candidates they deliver, their cost and what types of positions you’re recruiting for should help you determine which job board is best for your needs.

According to the recruiters who took the survey, LinkedIn and Indeed are the most affordable and effective options for recruiting mid- to senior-level employees. Both of these job boards ranked well when it came to delivering a high quality and quantity of applicants at a mid-range price point.

When it comes to entry-level positions, Indeed, again, was most effective. However, CareerBuilder and Craigslist tied for second place. Of these two options, recruiters noted that Craigslist was considerably more affordable.


Methodology: This research was conducted by HR technology firm Software Advice, as well as the Recruiting Process Outsourcing Association and The National Human Resources Association to collect 150 responses via email invite from human resources recruiters in the U.S. and Canada in early June 2014. Software Advice has no financial relationship with any of these organizations, and all responses were obtained in a fair and anonymous manner.

About Jacco Valkenburg

Jacco Valkenburg is an international recruitment expert, trainer and author of two books about LinkedIn. He has more than 16 years experience in global recruitment strategies and execution spanning numerous countries for leading companies. As founder of Recruit2 and Recruiter University he provides companies with recruitment and talent management solutions and expertise. His mission is helping companies ‘from good to great staffing’.

5 Comments

  1. Cm

    I’m not sure how an email survey of 150 people represents a viable data set to make a claim like this.

  2. Sheetal Sharma

    LinkedIn is definitely gaining popularity when it comes to job search and also the way it is promoting content these days, i am sure it will a tough competition to blog sites to match up with its pace.

  3. @CM Good question. Statistically speaking a data set of 150 people will give an error tolerance of +/- 10%. And surveys should always be looked through the eyes of the organisation behind it (and their agenda). Having said that, I don’t think you’ll find many recruiters that will disagree with these findings. Certainly I don’t, which is exactly the reason why I wanted to publish this news.

  4. Trent

    Any survey of recruiters will always favor LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn is “job-security” for a recruiter, it gives them something to do – they are “sourcing” their network. Most inmails on LinkedIn are never read by the user or go unanswered. Inmails are pretty much spam, every pitch is always the same as if it’s coming from a lazy recruiter template – “your profile would be a good match” etc, I can’t count how many times a recruiter “sourced” me for a job at a past employer of mine telling me how I would be a good fit – profiles are rarely read, at at the end of the day, it’s a profile and nothing more.

    With 71% of the workforce in the US actively searching for jobs, I’ve found a higher level of success hiring new employees through job postings and making sure they can be found.

    This survey would have been better suited with managers of talent acquisition

  5. Thomas delorme

    Not sure I understand what “not used” is supposed to mean?
    People who haven’t used a given website?
    If so, there is a huge bias in data is (and also, how can the “not used” numbers vary, for a given website, from one metric to another?).