Recruitment Blog

Want qualified candidates? Consider niche job posting sites as part of your recruitment mix

Sarah Linney
Content Marketing Manager at JobAdder
Want qualified candidates? Consider niche job posting sites as part of your recruitment mix

Online job posting sites are now one of the top sources of hire, with LinkedIn noting they account for 60% of applications. Of course, as a recruiter, you’re ensuring your job ad is on the most obvious job boards such as Seek, Indeed or Jora.

After all, this is where the majority of candidates are! But what if you’re looking for a candidate to fill a role at a not-for-profit? Or a marketer who has an extensive background in sports?  

What if I told you that the niche job boards place candidates at a much better rate than the larger players if you’re searching for candidates with specific skills or backgrounds?

This article will delve into two niche job boards: EthicalJobs and Sportspeople.​

We delved into our recruitment data and found that in 2018, a total of 73 placements were made on EthicalJobs by JobAdder recruiters. With 2,243 ads posted, this resulted in an impressive ad-to-placement rate of 3.25%. 

How does this compare to the more general job boards, you might ask? 

During that same period, JobAdder recruiters posted 361,049 ads on Indeed, resulting in  2,216 placements and an ad-to-placement rate of 0.0061%. 

Meanwhile Sportspeople can lay claim to an even more impressive ad-to-placement rate of 19.23% during the same period. 


Read on to find out more.

WATCH NOW: Discover vital tips from recruitment expert Barbara Bruno on overcoming talent shortages

What is a niche job board?

In a nutshell, the proper definition of niche in the context of HR and recruitment is a job or position that is suitable for a particular type of person. When it comes to niche job posting sites or job boards, they are generally smaller job boards that are location or industry-focused.

Niche = specific type

Niche job posting site = specific job posting site

Recruiters have come to find specialised job boards particularly useful, as it targets a particular audience and candidate. By doing so, the niche job posting sites can pinpoint and present qualified and quality-driven candidates, as they are solely focused on the particular industry, skill or experience.

For example, you may be looking for web designers, and decide to post the job ad on a creative niche job board such as Dribble. Even though you may potentially receive fewer applicants compared to other mainstream job boards, the applicants in question will be more relevant and aligned with the role’s requirements and expectations. This could potentially result in higher-quality candidates, and hopefully, a successful placement.  

Increase quality of hire

It’s true that a niche job posting site does not attract and gather as many applicants as the more generalised job boards, but what they do bring is quality of hire and value. Despite reaching a smaller audience of candidates, niche job postings sites are reaching qualified and relevant candidates who are specifically looking for their niche industry and skill-set.

Here are five benefits to using niche job posting sites.

1. An understanding of your target audience 

When recruiters put their job ad on generalised job boards, they could potentially receive hundreds or even thousands of non-related applicants. Ever tried finding a needle in a haystack?

Niche job boards attract a more targeted audience, as candidates who fall under the categorised industry will be sending resumes and cover letters that are particular to their niche. Less is more, and even if you receive fewer applicants, out of those few you may find that many more applicants are shortlisted for the role.

2. Lower cost and time to fill

Receiving buckets of applicants sounds great in theory! But you can easily get overwhelmed, find it difficult to locate candidates who are qualified and potentially miss out on the rare gems, all because the process is time-consuming and frustrating. 

Niche job posting sites not only has the potential to save you time, but your cost to fill could potentially be reduced. Despite having a smaller talent pool of applicants, your cost of placing ads will be cut as you won’t have to re-engage with your candidates. 

They’re already waiting for you. 

3. Stand out from the recruiter crowd

Unfortunately for some job titles, only a few of them are posted on generalised job posting sites. For others, it’s non-existent. Because of this, candidates may not even consider scouring job boards to find their perfect role. 

By considering niche job posting sites, your chances of standing out from the crowd and promoting your company will pull your organisation closer to the top, and cater to those candidates who are struggling to find their place. 

Here’s a suggestion. Consider using industry related wording that speaks to candidates who are familiar with that field.  

4. A smaller pool of candidates

With specialised job boards comes a smaller but more accurate pool of candidates, making the recruitment process more efficient and effective. 

With a smaller pool of candidates, recruiters can spend more time making a human connection, thereby improving the candidate experience. 

According to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, companies lost an average of $14,900 on every bad hire — nearly three in four employers (74%) say they’ve hired the wrong person for a position. What influenced these companies to make such a poor decision? Well, 30% felt pressured to fill the role quickly, and 29% had a hard time finding qualified candidates. It’s not hard to connect the dots.

5. Less competition for qualified candidates

Niche job boards generally deliver lower traffic in comparison to general job boards, but don’t see this as a disadvantage! Fewer applicants can also translate to less competition out in the field. You’re not battling for candidates or spending excessive amounts of money simply to be seen at the top of a search page. 

So let’s look at those two niche job boards in more detail.

EthicalJobs job board

EthicalJobs is a paid niche job board that caters to employers who offer ‘ethical jobs,’ and is predominantly for people who want to work for a better world. 

As a side note, JobAdder integrates with EthicalJobs!

EhticalJobs lists community jobs, environmental jobs, not-for-profit jobs and social enterprise roles that “contribute to a more equitable, more just or more sustainable world.” EthicalJobs supports the work of more than 5,000 organisations around Australia and have around 200,000 unique visitors every month. 

Nardia Munt, Head of NFP charity-owned recruitment agency Australian Barandos Recruitment Services (abrs) has been using EthicalJobs for over 10 years and has said it fits well with their values, as it “allows us to attract candidates who are specifically targeting NFP.” 

HR Manager at CRCNSW, Cathy Saunders has been using the niche job posting site for seven years and has found it to align perfectly with her candidate expectations. “I have been happy to use EthicalJobs,” she said, “because there is a high standard of candidates, and they already have an expectation that the role they are applying for is ‘ethical’ and therefore their values are more likely to be a match with our organisation.”

CRCNSW has been using JobAdder for 10 months and even prior to using the recruitment software platform, the greater portion of suitable candidates were coming from EthicalJobs.

Ever since JobAdder, a majority of applications have come via Ethical Jobs, so it’s a no-brainer really, which job board we will always use in our mix – Ethical Jobs!

Cathy Saunders

Meanwhile, Nardia mentioned that about 10% of all their applications come from EthicalJobs, however, “20% of our placements [are made] from Ethical Jobs,” she said. Generally speaking, the volume of candidates may be lower on niche job posting sites as Nardia discovered, but “the quality is good compared to generalist sites,” she added. 

What EthicalJobs lacks in volume, it makes up for with high merit. “The quality and proportion of placements is high compared to the overall volume of applications,” Nardia said. 

Cathy concurred: “From my human eye, EthicalJobs has by far been the most successful and appropriate job board our organisation has ever used.” She added that they haven’t been able to measure their time to fill, but have mostly used EthicalJobs or NCOSS (NSW Council of Social Services) job boards for their paid advertising. 

CRCNSW were able to establish the separations between the two, where with each job ad placed with EthicalJobs averaged 3.2 applications; whereas, NCOSS only averaged 0.1 applications, a “significant difference,” she said. 

When CRCNSW used free job boards such as Glassdoor, Adzuna and Jora, it only brought them an average of 0.3 applications per job ad. As for selecting candidates who are of high-quality, and most suitable for the position, Cathy assesses their candidates by using screening questions at the application stage, and then once more at the interview stage. 

She found that applicants via EthicalJobs consistently matched their organisational values at both stages in the recruitment process. “We are no longer drowning in unsuitable applications as we did in the past when we used other job boards,” she explained.

Sportspeople job board

The name of this niche job posting site should give you some insight into the category it falls under. In summary, Sportspeople is the leading and largest ANZ sports job posting site advertising jobs in the fitness, leisure, aquatic, coaching, venues, events, and lifestyle sectors since 1999. It is a free and paid job board with the former only offered for community, volunteer, and internship positions.

In 2017, they reported to have 2.7 million users with 77% of visitors considering Sportspeople to be the most effective job search tool. Sportspeople have more than 2,500 sports and recreation industry employers and a candidate database of 39,000. 

Director of Sportspeople, Harvey Wun and the Sportspeople team spoke on the attractiveness of  their niche job posting site to employers when it comes to employee cultural fit. Employers are predominantly looking for candidates with “experience or a strong skill set in sports,” explained Harvey.

Perhaps just as importantly, employers who are looking to build a team with the right ‘cultural fit’ in sports have found our job seekers particularly relevant.


By having a team with the right cultural fit they will “generally perform at a higher level and have lower attrition,” said Sportspeople.

According to JobAdder’s data, in 2018, Sportspeople had posted 26 ads, made five placements and had an ad-to-placement rate of 19.23% Despite this figure, the Sportspeople team mentioned that their ad-to-placement rate can be “generally understated,” as they don’t capture the click-through rates for job email applications. This is due to providing employers with the flexibility to:

  1. Redirect job seekers to apply via an email address, or
  2. Redirect job seekers to an external career site or both

The team reported they saw many cases of jobseekers choosing to go directly to the employer’s career site to apply instead of through Sportspeople, their social media channel or on one of their partnership job boards. The cause effect of this means that both ‘applicants received’ and ‘applicants placed’ may be underplayed, impacting the ad-to-placement rate. According to Sportspeople “it could either be higher or lower.”

Nevertheless, Sportspeople continuously make changes to grow their user base, improve the user experience and job matching. “We place particular emphasis on distributing our jobs through different and unique channels relevant to the sports sector,” said Harvey.

For example, they have job board partnerships with multiple national peak bodies to power their job boards such as  VicSport and Sport NSW. They also fuel the job boards of industry organisations such as AUSTSWIM and Fitness Australia, and distribute their jobs through sport-specific social media channels to reach relevant candidates.

Sportspeople’s classifications are also specifically focused and geared not only towards different sports but sport-specific roles and the various certificate requirements. This provides more relevant matching when sourcing candidates.

Why use niche job boards? 

Both Cathy and Sportspeople share their tips and advice for recruiters on why they should consider using niche job posting sites. Cathy recommends recruiters use EthicalJobs for each and every job ad, but also advertise far and wide through other mediums. “You never know when that might attract someone suitable, particularly if you are recruiting in regional areas or for hard-to-fill specialist roles,” she said.

Sportspeople emphasises the importance of understanding that “this is a job ‘advertisement’, not a job description,” said Harvey, and, “like all good advertisements, your job posting must sell and attract job seekers to apply.”

With Sportspeople, employers can distribute and reach relevant job seekers, but a well-written advertisement by the employer is required to convert them into applicants. Sportspeople encourage employers to “put themselves in the shoes of a job seeker when writing a job advertisement and ask the question – if you were the job seeker, would you apply for the job? Does your job stand out from the crowd of similar roles?”

Niche job boards as part of your recruitment mix

The above two niche job posting sites are mere examples for recruiters to consider when recruiting outside of generalised job boards. On average there are 2-3 niche job posting sites per industry, and finding one or several that align to your recruitment needs and candidate expectations should provide you with a different method of sourcing high-quality candidates.

The purpose of this is to provide recruiters with data-driven insights into where they should spend their time when it comes to niche job boards.

You may receive fewer numbers in applicants, but your candidate placement rate and retention rate can improve massively. So, where to from here? Is it worth paying for a niche job posting site as opposed to a more recognised and generalised one?

You need to consider both a general job board such as Seek or Indeed, as well as more targeted ones, depending on the sort of candidate they’re looking to attract and hire.

If you fall back on the more standardised job boards, you may struggle to see promising and sustained results – such as time to hire or quality of hire. Ready to see what exists for your roles? Start with our list of job boards. Here’s to your candidate success!


Barbara Bruno reveals her tips for overcoming talent shortages in our free on-demand webinar.

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