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There are number of job openings each day and also there are number of job seekers actively looking for job everyday. Still it is challenging to find right candidate for a job. It gets even more challenging and surprising when both the employer and the candidate are active seekers, but could not connect each other.

There are very niche job sites that focus on specific technologies. Are these places more effective at connecting employers with qualified candidates than the more conventional and less focused job sites?

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How is this different from browsing a regular IT job board and filtering for "Java", "C", "C++"? I would expect a "niche job board" to server a particular industry niche, such as "C++ Insurance programmers" or "Java GIS programmers", not something as wide as "Java or C" –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Jul 8 '11 at 14:35
@Frustrated Please do not turn promotional links from new users into actual links that will no longer be no-followed. –  Anna Lear Jul 8 '11 at 14:37
+1, because the question (esp. the first paragraph) is not that bad, now that the obvious spamming has been removed. –  nikie Jul 8 '11 at 14:59
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5 Answers

IMO they're only effective if employers look at them and job seekers use them. For instance, in my area they're very uncommon; I've seen maybe 2-3 jobs posted on, say, careers.stackoverflow since I started using the site in my locale. I've looked at specific boards for technologies like 37Signals, and I think I've seen exactly one job in the area in about 3 years of looking.

In a more tech-savvy area or one with a lot of companies that are familiar with and make use of niche job boards, they'd be more effective.

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Job boards as a whole aren't very effective. I don't have any numbers on the effectiveness of specific job boards or types of job boards, but to cite my Human Resources Management textbook, job boards turn less than 10% of resumes generated into interviews, only 70% of those interviewed have "acceptable" interviews, of those, only 57% accept interviews. In the end, the total yield of job boards is often less than 5%. However, they are typically cheap for the organization to use.

Job boards are used to "hit the masses". They are typically grouped with newspaper ads, TV ads, radio ads, and billboards. Even with niche-market job boards, you are going to probably hit a lot of people who are only tangentially suitable to your position. A niche job board is probably a little better, but still not the best option if you want a high yield of qualified applicants who will accept positions.

If you are looking for people with very specific skill sets, then you need to place your recruitment strategies there. Examples include universities who offer programs that produce graduates with the skill sets you need, professional society magazines and newsletters, and (for some positions), employment services. Employee referrals are also highly effective to finding qualified candidates who want to work for you.

When choosing how to recruit, you need to consider the position that you are trying to fill and the type of person you want to fill it with. Those will be the key drivers in how you choose which methods to use.

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It depends on how well those in a niche can be informed about the site and their level of frustration with common sites. Maybe you want to limit to "those in the know" and weed others out.

If you're in the business sector, but want to attract academic types who may not use job boards because they can find all the university postings, this could be a problem. A university/academic posting site will not allow you to use their service. A site for academics looking to go into the business sector could help, but why wouldn't they just use a commmon site?

Maybe a site that is more conducive to allowing you to produce a portfolio/examples of your work instead of just a CV. Designers would benefit from that. The site may want to develop specific questionaires or CV formats.

Sites limited to geographic area may be the best niche or are specific to working remotely.

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There are very niche job sites that focus on specific technologies. Are these places more effective at connecting employers with qualified candidates than the more conventional and less focused job sites?

I don't think so.

To be effective, a job site primarily has to be well-known to potential employers and job-seekers. The more "niche" the job board is, the less known it will be.

Also, I'm not sure it makes sense for employers to look only for people experienced with certain technologies: In most cases it's better to take (e.g.) a good C# programmer and teach her Java, than to hire a mediocre Java programmer.

Most importantly, I think these sites are solving the wrong problem. Filtering companies/job seekers by skill or location isn't the problem. Every job site can do that, but still we have the situation you describe. I think the real problem is that job sites have too little and the wrong kind of information about potential employers/employees. On a typical job site, job seekers can see:

  • how big the company is
  • what kind of products or services the company offers
  • what kind of skills are required for the job

What they really want to see are things like:

  • Whether the task they're expected to do is interesting? Challenging?
  • Whether the coworkers are fun to work with
  • Whether the bosses are fun to work with

But no employer will admit on a job site that you're expected to do boring work with no-fun coworkers under pointy-haired bosses.

From the employer perspective, things aren't much better. Job seekers will tell things like you:

  • What kind of degree they have
  • How many years of experience they have
  • What kinds of technologies they've worked with

What the employer wants to know about a job seeker is (among other things):

  • Whether the candidate can solve complex problems, reliably, on her own
  • if she can work well in a team
  • if she really has N years of experience or just the same year of experience, repeated N times.

But after reading many "interview"-questions here on stackoverflow, I've come to the conclusion that it's more or less impossible to answer these questions from a job application or even a job interview alone.

I don't have a solution for that problem, either. But I don't think concentrating on niches can be the solution.

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Nice job boards are just that, niche. They are best used when either:

  1. The employer and candidate are willing to consider relocation/telecommuting.
  2. The pool and need of a very particular talent is great in the local area.

Outside of those two situations, they serve almost no use.

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