What’s the difference between a job board and a job search engine?

What’s the difference between a job board and a job search engine? was originally published on College Recruiter.

Job boards and job search engines have more similarities than differences. They’re both used by candidates to search for and apply to job openings. The biggest difference between them aren’t how they’re used by candidates, but how the sites receive the job posting ads that those candidates then search and to which they apply.

Job Boards:

• Websites where employers post job listings directly, usually for a fee. Traditionally, the fees were duration-based, such as $X for a 30-day posting. More and more job boards are shifting to a performance-based model, such as $X per click or $Y per completed application.

• Candidates can browse these postings and apply directly through the job board. Often, these applications occur through pages hosted by the job board, but sometimes the candidate is sent from the job board to the employer’s applicant tracking system (ATS) or other such career site.

Job Search Engines:

• Aggregate listings from multiple job boards, company websites, and other sources into one comprehensive database. Employers do not post their jobs directly to job search engines.

• They operate much like search engines for other types of information, indexing jobs from a variety of sources.

• Users can search for jobs across many different sites at once, which can save time and provide a broader view of available opportunities.

• Candidates who find a job to which they want to apply are typically sent to a job board or other site to apply instead of applying on the job search engine or employer’s site. The job search engine is typically paid by the job board or other third-party site on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-application (CPA) basis.


It is becoming increasingly uncommon to find sites that can purely be classified as job boards or sites that can clearly be classified as job search engines. Many lean one way or the other, such as a site that gets the vast majority of its postings directly from employers but some from job boards, or vice versa.

College Recruiter is an example of a hybrid site. Many of our customers are employers who advertise their early career jobs on our site and either post them to us directly or via an intermediary such as an employment advertising agency, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) company, or some kind of programmatic or other job distribution technology partner. But some of our customers are other job boards that pay us on a CPC or CPA basis to get “their” postings in front of “our” candidates.

By College Recruiter
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