Job Board vs Recruitment Agency: What Is the Difference?

Job Board vs Recruitment Agency: What Is the Difference?

There are many misconceptions regarding the role of a job board and a recruitment agency in the recruitment process. The differences between them often cause some confusion - understandably so, as they ultimately aim for the same result.


Although job boards and recruitment agencies strive to reach the same goal (helping candidates land suitable jobs), they do so in various ways. In this article, you will learn how a job board and a recruitment agency can help you land a job. Read on to decide which one is a better fit for you.


What does a job board do?


We will start by explaining the role of a job board in the job search process. The main thing to remember is that a job board acts on behalf of the employer. It lists open positions from multiple companies and allows candidates to filter them by location, company, or certain keywords. 


A job board can work in a certain niche. For example, Europe Language Jobs lists job offers with languages in European countries. You can find different kinds of vacancies, but we focus on the business sector (HR, marketing, sales, business development, customer service, etc).


Similarly, list only offers for IT professionals, and Hospitality Online advertises jobs in the hospitality sector.


Therefore, a job board allows you to search for interesting job offers in a desired sector and location. It also lets you apply for jobs. 


When you find a vacancy you like on a job board, you can apply for it via the website, or directly through the employer’s application system. It usually depends on the company’s preferences.


It is important to note that this is where the job board’s role in the recruitment process ends. From the moment you apply for a job using their site, your application is reviewed and handled by the employer who posted it. 


A job board doesn’t participate in the further stages of the hiring process and is not responsible for resume parsing, conducting interviews, or informing the candidates about updates regarding their applications. 


This is why it is so important to provide all the necessary data in your candidates’ profile on a job board and in your CV. A job board cannot supply an employer with any information you don’t provide yourself. If you forget to include your email address or phone number, it will be impossible for the company to contact you if they find your application interesting. 


What does a recruitment agency do?


A recruitment agency doesn’t list vacancies like a job board. There are two ways you can find out about the open positions it is currently helping employers hire candidates for.


The first way is to register with a recruitment agency and upload your CV. It will then be reviewed and matched with roles which potentially fit your profile. You will be assigned a consultant who will inform you about interviews, provide details about the company you would be interviewing with, and share advice to ensure your best performance.


The second way is to be head-hunted directly by a recruiter working at an agency. This is where networking comes in handy. It is also why it is so crucial to use social media for job search and keep your LinkedIn profile neat and up-to-date. The Internet is the only place where recruiters can find you, so the bigger your presence there, the bigger your chances of being contacted regarding an attractive position. 


When you upload your CV on your own, a recruitment agency will suggest positions you might be a good fit for. If you are head-hunted, it is usually for a specific vacancy an employer is looking to fill.


Unlike a job board, a recruitment agency will assist you all the way from finding suitable jobs to securing one. You can count on an agent’s help in preparing for an interview and receiving updates about your progress in the recruitment process.


Job board vs recruitment agency - similarities


A job board and a recruitment agency have the same goal: to help a candidate find a job. They both allow you to submit your CV to a database employers they collaborate with have access to. 


A job board and a recruitment agency can provide you with career advice, but they do it in different ways. In a recruitment agency, you will be assigned a consultant who will answer your questions and can share some tips about how to do well in an interview.


Please note: a recruitment agency consultant is not the same as a career coach. They will guide you through a hiring process of a specific company, but the advice and support they can provide is not as extensive as that of a professional career coach. 


Since job boards don’t participate in the recruitment process beyond the application stage, they can’t provide one-on-one advice regarding your performance in an interview. However, many of them organise events, provide webinars and online workshops, and create high-quality articles for their career advice blogs.


For example, Europe Language Jobs organises several annual events focused on providing career advice to job seekers at different stages of their professional journey. International Job Hunt in Spring is dedicated to all fresh graduates only just entering the professional world, while 30 Days to Get a Job - the Challenge in Autumn addresses all professionals looking to improve their job search.


We also run a career advice blog, where we upload new articles every week. They are written by our own highly trained content writers and multiple HR professionals and career coaches we regularly collaborate with. 


Both of the entities continue to help you in case you don’t get initially hired. If you aren’t chosen for a vacancy you were interviewing for, a recruitment agency will keep your CV and contact you if a similar position opens up. A job board will keep sending you notifications with job matches based on what kind of positions you were previously interested in and matching your candidate’s profile. 


An important thing to remember is that neither a job board nor a recruitment agency has any say in who a company chooses to hire. They are both third-party entities which cannot influence an employer’s decision in any way. 


Another crucial aspect is that job boards and recruitment agencies usually aren’t qualified for providing legal advice concerning visas, work permits, and other essential documents you may need to relocate. Most of the time, they cannot help you obtain a visa - you will need to do it on your own if necessary. 


Job board vs recruitment agency - differences


A job board provides you with a list of thousands of job offers you can search through on your own. A recruitment agency matches you with suitable positions or head-hunts you directly for a specific vacancy.


The role of a job board ends after the application process. It doesn’t participate in the further stages of the hiring process and is not responsible for facilitating communication between the employer and the candidate.


A recruitment agency stays with a job seeker until the very end of the recruitment process. They remain in touch with you and act as a link between the candidate and the company until somebody gets hired for the position. 


Unlike a recruitment agency, where you are assigned a consultant who will personally answer all your questions, a job board cannot provide this kind of individual approach. You can rely on a job board for professional advice through its events, blog, or support email.


For example, you can contact us with any questions at [email protected]. You may also join our exclusive Discord community, where our team answers all queries regarding different parts of job search: CVs and cover letters, interviews, and more. 


Job board - pros


The main advantage of using a job board is the access to thousands of different offers in many locations and sectors. You can directly search for attractive offers or use the data provided for market research to plan your future job search. 


To make the best of your job search using a job board, apply filters and limit the results to only your desired location, language, sector, or keywords.


When registering on a job board, you can also create a candidate’s profile. It allows you to provide all the necessary information such as your contact details, work experience, educational background, and photo. 


Europe Language Jobs additionally allows you to state your preferences like your desired location or whether or not you are willing to relocate for a job.


All companies collaborating with the job board can view your candidate’s profile and contact you if they feel it suits one of their job offers. If you upload your CV, it will be submitted to a database, where employers can access it and evaluate you as a potential candidate. This way, you increase your chances of being head-hunted for a position without even actively applying. 


The variety of job boards available across the Web is another advantage. You can choose a general job board if you’re not sure what kind of positions you’re looking for. You may also opt for niche-specific ones if you already know which sector you’re interested in to limit irrelevant results. 


Job board - cons


The high number of listings advertised on a job board and the multiple partners they collaborate with makes it impossible to adopt an individual approach to every candidate. You mostly need to rely on mass recruiting events dedicated to larger groups of participants, articles, and webinars. 


At Europe Language Jobs, we do our best to remove this disadvantage and give everyone the opportunity to talk to us and ask us questions via our Discord community


While the thousands of offers available on a job board is an advantage to some, others might find it tiresome. It is time-consuming to search through all of them, and many would rather be contacted with specific job suggestions.


Pro tip: You can download our GoPlaces app and turn on the job matches function to receive daily notifications about jobs suited for your profile. That way, you can be the first to know about them without even actively using the app!



Recruitment agency - pros


The individual approach of a recruitment agency is definitely a big plus. It is nice to be paired with a consultant who will be there for you and help you shoulder the burden of the stressful experience that is the recruitment process.


It also saves you a lot of time to only be contacted with positions which directly match your CV. You can count on someone doing the hard work for you and receive suggestions based on your profile. The more details you provide regarding your background and preferences, the bigger the accuracy you can expect.


If you aren’t hired for the job you’ve been hoping, not all is lost. Your data will remain in a recruitment agency and you will be contacted as soon as a similar position opens up. Recruitment agents often know about fresh vacancies sooner than they can be officially advertised on job boards, which gives you an advantage. 


Recruitment agency - cons


A recruitment agency doesn’t provide you with such a variety of job offers as a job board does. It saves you time and effort, but if you’re interested in having access to a whole range of listings, this might not be the best choice for you. It all depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for.


It is not unusual to be head-hunted by a recruitment agency for a position you have already interviewed for independently. Agents don’t know whom the employer they collaborate with had already been in touch with on their own. 


So, if your profile matches the job, you may be contacted again. It might sometimes build up false hope before you realise you have already been there and it hasn’t worked out. 


When working with a recruitment agency, you are also limited to the information a consultant provides you with. In some cases, you may not know which company you’re applying for until right before the interview. It depends on the employer’s policies and how much they allow the agency to initially reveal. 



Do candidates need to pay for using a job board or recruitment agency?


In most cases, it is the employer who takes the burden of payment. In the case of a job board, companies pay to have their job offers advertised for a specific amount of time. Because of that, the experience of using the job board - all the way from browsing the offers to applying - is entirely free.


Similarly, recruitment agencies commonly charge employers for their services. If a company fills a vacancy with the help of a recruitment agency, they are obliged to pay a percentage of the new employee’s base salary to the agency. This is usually between 15 and 25%. 


In fact, if a recruitment agency requires you to pay for their services as a candidate, this is a major red flag.


The role of keywords in your job search


Using keywords is crucial - both when you look for a job using a job board or using the services of a recruitment agency.


When looking for potential candidates, recruitment agencies use certain keywords. This is why including industry-related terms in your LinkedIn and other professional social media profiles is so important.


Always provide different variations of your desired field or position name. For example, if you are looking for a job in customer service, make sure to include commonly-used synonyms such as customer experience or customer satisfaction.


Write down as many industry-related terms as possible. When looking for a job in IT, list all the programmes you can use and support them with certifications where possible. If you are multilingual, include all the languages you are fluent in with the CEFR level. 


Don’t forget about universal keywords related to soft and hard skills all employers are looking for, regardless of the industry. Such terms include attention to detail, work organisation, time management, Microsoft Office, or goal-oriented.


When applying through a job board, include essential keywords in all sections of your CV. This is because many companies use the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to parse resumes. Such programme scans your CV for industry-related terms and only chooses resumes which match the requirements set by an employer. 


Keeping your professional social media profiles updated is also crucial when you use a job board. Remember to include links to all relevant profiles in your CV to help an employer get to know you on a deeper level than your resume can present. 

We hope you now find it easier to understand the differences between a job board and a recruitment agency. The main takeaway from this article is that a job board doesn’t get involved beyond the application stage, while a recruitment agency supports you through the entire hiring process.


Which one you choose as the dominant tool for your job search is entirely up to you. They both have their pros and cons, so which one speaks to you more depends on your goals and personal preferences.


It is entirely possible to use both a job board and a recruitment agency when looking for a job. The more resources you employ, the bigger your chances of succeeding. 


Whichever you choose, we wish you the best of luck in your job search. And remember that at Europe Language Jobs, we’re always ready to help you find your dream job in whichever way we can!


Feeling inspired? Visit our blog for more career advice! How can you be sure the information we provide is top-notch? We are a group of professionals working with recruiters, career coaches, and HR specialists from all over the world! 

Trust our experience and let us help you find a new job in Europe!