The first internet job boards were invented as early as 1994 when the internet was in its infancy and little known outside of academic and specialist IT circles. Now job boards dominate the recruitment sector providing candidates and recruiters alike with a medium that significantly reduces the time, admin and, for recruiters, the cost of the recruitment process.
Job boards have been of particular benefit to contractors who, unlike permanent job seekers, can be seeking numerous assignments during the course of a year.
In addition, as many contractors work in highly specialist areas, equally specialist recruitment sites have been created to bring together contractors and end-user clients, via agencies.
Difference between job boards and CV databases
Although the terms ‘job board’ and ‘CV database’ tend to get used interchangeably, they refer to two different parts of the online recruitment process, albeit ones that tend to work in tandem:
- A job board is an online service that contains advertisements for vacant positions and all kinds of work opportunities, including contracts, and is used by recruiters to publicise their need for workers, employees and contractors
- A CV database is an online service that contains the CVs of candidates and contractors seeking work, and which recruiters search to find matches with their vacant positions.
Behind nearly every successful job board is a high quality CV database, and both online services come in all shapes and sizes – from the massive Monster website, boasting over 4 million CVs, which is over 13% of the UK’s working population, to highly specialised sites where candidates number in the thousands.
Key job boards in the UK
There are hundreds of job boards that focus on virtually every sector in which a company needs to recruit someone to fulfil a need. Most of the major job boards are also subdivided into specialist areas.
The largest and most used job boards in the UK are:
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) lists hundreds of job boards and CV databases in its supplier database serving almost every conceivable specialist area of recruitment, including job boards that focus on advertising contract opportunities.
What goes in an online CV?
At the moment, most online CVs are identical to their traditional paper counterparts. Typically in Microsoft Word or a similar word processing package, the CV contains the standard contractor information found in a hard copy.
However, in recent years a new breed of CV database has emerged, which allows contractors to do something different, such as including images, audio and videos.
Recruiters have shown interest in interactive CVs, particularly those that show the candidate being interviewed and answering a range of standard interview questions. These services can lead to a much faster and ‘tighter’ selection process, and help agencies, potential employers and prospective end-user clients match the right candidate or contractor to the job or project.
How to submit your CV
Most CV databases allow contractors to register and upload their CV directly via the website. However, there are some specialist CV databases that only include vetted CVs, so the contractor has to go through a selection process before their CV gets posted.
Registration is usually quick and simple, requiring the contractor to input some basic personal details and then upload their CV in a Word or similar file. Part of the registration process also allows contractors to add ‘tags’ to their CVs, highlighting areas of specialism, as well as in indication of their preferences for the type of contracts they prefer to work on.
Tags and preferences ensure the contractor’s CV is correctly indexed for the database search engine, and will reduce the chance of time wasting enquires from agents looking to fill positions that the contractor has no interest in.
Identity theft risk
Because of the personal information contained in most CVs, an experienced identity thief could fairly easily clone a contractor's identity and cause huge damage
Contractors should be aware that submitting personal information online does carry an element of risk from identity theft. Because of the personal information contained in most CVs, an experienced identity thief could fairly easily clone a contractor’s identity and cause huge damage, particularly if the contractor has not been careful to protect their ‘digital trail’ elsewhere.
Most reputable job boards and CV databases have data usage policies and may request data over a secure and encrypted connection. And big brand national job boards are likely to be low risk.
But specialist contractors who are searching for highly niche CV databases should carry out some basic checks on the website before they submit their data. Listing on the REC database is a good indication that the website is legitimate.