How Many Job Advertising Sites Are Too Many?

When posting university jobs online, how do search committees and schools decide not only how much to spend on job advertising, but where to get the most bang-for-the-buck? Many smaller schools will put all of their resources into one strong website, while many larger universities will spread resources across a variety of venues.

It is always best to spread contractual resources across two or three general purpose higher education jobs websites, rather than special diversity sites.  “Diversity” sites generally have very limited (and infrequent) reach, and they have the same applicants that the general university employment sites already experience, but at a significantly higher cost.  Surveys show that they are not a good use of funds.  

Advertising contracts should not be based on the size of the school, but rather on the number of expected university or college positions.  Everyone wins this way, and the cost / online advertisement on a large volume basis generally should range in the $30-50 range, for two or more months.

Search committees for Faculty positions and Dean jobs often control their own budgets and have their favorite websites, but the cost inefficiencies can be huge when dealing with one-off job postings, as much as two to seven times group buys.  In most cases, search committees should advertise individual job postings on three national sites, plus a variety of industry-specific sites.

Post a position for at least two months (except for online teaching jobs which can be shorter); there is a lot of disagreement in this area, but with few exceptions the average employed job-seeker looks online about every 4-6 weeks, and you want to be in front of them at least twice in a search.  Speed in hiring is not nearly as important as a broad applicant pool; you do not want to have to reopen the search when the “fast” candidate fails as an employee.

Papa Grande is a 27-year human resources recruiting professional, including several years in higher education.

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